https://www.duolingo.com/Remy

Meaning of "garçon" in French

  • 994

"garçon" almost always means "boy".

In very rare cases, it also means "waiter":

  • Ex: "I am calling the waiter in the restaurant" means "J'appelle le garçon dans le restaurant".

Note that here the context is about restaurant trade. Besides, we usually use the word "serveur" or the phrase "garçon de café" instead of "garçon" (which would rather be used as an interjection, ex: "Garçon !").

That is why "waiter" is NOT accepted as a translation for "garçon" on Duolingo.

March 27, 2014

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Hohenems

"That is why "waiter" is NOT accepted as a translation for "garçon" on Duolingo."

Thanks for posting this Remy. :-)

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ArmanSadeghi

In Persian, the exact word "Garcon" with the same pronunciation is used for a waiter and its quite common and its Persian equivalent: "pish khedmat" (literally: pre- servicer) cant take back its place.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mariana.Fortes

In Portuguese we say "Garçom" for waiter and "Garçonete" for waitress

August 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/_Tomek

It might be useful for some to know that the term "garçon" is never used in Quebec. I've never heard it and have never used it either. You always refer to your waiter/waitress as serveur/serveuse.

August 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jacko385437

Am I right in thinking it's actually quite rude to refer to your waiter as "Garçon!", especially if he is older than you...? I was under the impression that "Monsieur" was far more commonly used (My parents asked me, when I was in Tunisia, why I wasn't saying garçon to which I simply replied "They're older than me and it feels kinda awkward/rude calling them 'boy' like some kind of servant" haha) as it shows more respect.

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Remy
  • 994

It is not rude, but it's outdated.

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LeeShipley

Sorry, can't resist it, there is a very common joke in Los Angeles: "Oh, you're an actor? Wow, really? Which restaurant?" Is this usage paralleled in France as an alternative to "garçon"?

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Khaur

Isn't that more of an L.A. culture joke than a language joke? Anyway, it doesn't seem lost in translation to me.

March 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Remy
  • 994

No this joke doesn't exist in France, but it's a good one though ;-)

August 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavmarx

I was actually going to say the same thing, even if it isn't considered rude in France I find it rather offensive.

August 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jasminhas

that is a really heplfull. Thanks

August 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wrenbob

It really is an insult to call a waiter "boy". My French friends really frown on it. I am sorry to say though the great Pimseleur does use it once in their very first tape, that was wrong! Especially to be an American in France....they can be so rude, without realizing it. The French are over polite and it is expected to say Bonjour when entering a shop.

August 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Flannery65

You made me smile. Perhaps the French are not over polite :) .

August 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Derrek82

NO, not overly polite individually- that's subjective- but in the expected exchanges between individuals that occur everyday. For example, as Wrenbob said, one is expected to say bonjour upon entering a shop- even while frowning- or it is considered rude. Likewise, one is expected to say thank you "merci" to the cashier and to wish them well upon leaving "bon journe (accent above the e)". It's not that the French, or Parisians for that matter, are overly polite, but their cultural norms demand an attention to politesse which shows a deference to mutual respect and dignity; part of a diplomatic code of conduct. I quite like it, and wish that more Americans adopted this standard.

November 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Flannery65

Derrek82, we had a cultural blip there. I was "smiling" because in my culture the French are not overly polite; they are normal. And I was smiling because it is not only in France the Americans are considered rude. In Australia it is normal to say "Hi" to the shop assist, and to not say "thank you" to the cashier is rude and ignorant.

December 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/arminia11_web_de

When one is in a restaurant and wants the waiter's attention, does one call out Serveur, Garçon or Monsieur, especially when there are gentlemen seated at nearby tables? Does one politely wait until one makes eye contact and then politely raises one's hand?

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/YRaJ1H

I am curious what the the etymology of garçon?

January 20, 2019
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