The French word "Désolé" explained

Ready to find out everything you have to know about the basic French word “Désolé”?

It includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. And because we want to help you on your learning journey, we also sprinkled super useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

Oh and if you want, you can find more of these words explained on this page plus the directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Wishing you a happy learning!

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French to English translation

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does désolé mean?

Definition

“Désolé” is the common way to express “Sorry” in French.

How to use it

There are many ways to express your apologies in French, which one to choose will depend on the context and how much you want to apologize. Let’s break it into 4 scenarios:

1: Informal context and “normal” apologies, you can use:

  • Désolé → Sorry
  • Pardon → Sorry
  • Je suis désolé → I am sorry
  • Excuse-moi → Excuse me
  • Je m’excuse → I apologize
 

2: Formal context and “normal” apologies, use:

 

3: Informal context and “big” apologies, use instead:

  • Je te demande pardon → I beg your pardon
  • Je suis vraiment désolé → I am really sorry
  • Je suis sincèrement désolé → I am sincerely sorry
 

4: Formal context and “big” apologies, you can choose one of those:

  • Toutes mes excuses → All my excuses/apologies
  • Je vous demande pardon → I beg your pardon
  • Je suis vraiment désolé → I am really sorry
  • Je suis sincèrement désolé → I am sincerely sorry
 

Synonyms

  • Désolé → Sorry
  • Pardon → Sorry
  • Excuse-moi → Excuse me
  • Excusez-moi → Excuse me (Formal)
  • Je m’excuse → I apologize
  • Toutes mes excuses → All my excuses/apologies (Formal)
  • Je suis désolé pour toi → I’m sorry for you
  • Je suis vraiment désolé → I am really sorry
  • Je suis sincèrement désolé → I am sincerely sorry
  • Je te demande pardon → I beg your pardon
  • Je vous demande pardon → I beg your pardon (Formal)

 

Example in a story with English translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this word in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
La déclaration d'amour
The declaration of love
___
Joe a finalement décidé de déclarer ses sentiments à Angèle.
Joe finally decided to declare his feelings to Angèle.
Il a donc acheté un bouquet de fleurs…
So he bought a bouquet of flowers…
Puis, il est allé chez elle.
Then, he went to her place.
En chemin, il a croisé sa voisine : Isabelle.
On the way, he met his neighbor: Isabelle.
Elle l’a salué et lui a demandé s’il était disponible dans la journée…
She greeted him and asked if he was available during the day…
Joe:   Non, désolé. J’ai quelque chose de prévu aujourd’hui.
No, sorry. I have something planned today.
Ils ont un peu parlé, puis il est parti.
They talked a bit, then he left.
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