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vouvoyer (third-person singular simple present vouvoyers, present participle vouvoyering, simple past and past participle vouvoyered)

  1. Alternative form of vousvoyer
    • 1996 May 17, Elizabeth Thompson, “Bertrand found fake ‘Bouchard’ a bit haughty”, in The Gazette, page A 2:
      [Guy] Bertrand said he should also have twigged when “Bouchard” – whom he has addressed using the familiar “tu” for years – started off the conversation using the formal “vous.” “I found myself saying, ‘Hello, Lucien, how is it going?’ and he ‘vouvoyered’ me and he had a bit of a haughty air. So I told myself that even though we know each other well, perhaps it’s better if we use vous.”
    • 2000 February 19, Mary Blume, “Mastering the Unmasterable: A French Puzzle”, in The New York Times:
      An outraged Parisian gave up skiing when his instructor addressed him as tu, while a fashionable personal trainer insists upon it because he would not feel right about vouvoyer-ing deltoids and abs. [] Questioned on his use of tu and vous, a Paris doctor said he doesn't know why he addresses his daughter-in-law as vous and his son-in-law as tu or why he tutoyers his golf pro but vouvoyers his golf partners.
    • 2012 January 7, Joanna Briscoe, “Alone in Paris”, in The Independent, number 7872, page 46:
      I had followed up the few leads I had and was invited to a couple of dinner parties, but after years of over-busy social life in London, I had become an awkward mute, knowing I was failing to understand the codes, the tutoyer-ing versus the vouvoyer-ing.
    • 2016, Jo Baker, A Country Road, A Tree, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, →ISBN, page 181:
      The lad is vouvoyering him, being well brought up: the state he’s in, he has hardly earned the formal mode.
    • 2020 January 29, Norman Hunt, “Madame XXX”, in The Connexion:
      In my view, vouvoyering is not enough. Far better to go on to monsieur et madame, which applies another diaphanous layer of style.


Alternative forms[edit]


An alteration of voussoyer (vous +‎ -oyer), influenced by the v in vous and the form of tutoyer.


  • IPA(key): /vu.vwa.je/
  • (file)



  1. (transitive) to address someone using the formal pronoun vous rather than the informal tu, to use the V-form, to "you" (as opposed to "to "thou"")
    Antonym: tutoyer


This verb is part of a large group of -er verbs that conjugate like noyer or ennuyer. These verbs always replace the 'y' with an 'i' before a silent 'e'.

Derived terms[edit]

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