French word of the week: haut

Are you ready for another French word of the week? Our blog this week is all about haut, a French adjective, adverb and noun. First off, you might want to take a listen to how this word is pronounced:

Haut most often means high or tall, but also commonly means aloud or out loud.

When we use it as an adjective, depending on the gender of the noun it describes, you might also see haut written as:

  • Haute, its feminine form
  • Hauts or hautes, its plural forms

You can learn more about this on our Easy Learning French Grammar page about adjectival agreements.

We’re going to look at some examples of this word in action: first of all, as an adjective. You should be able to notice the different adjective forms used in the examples below:

les hauts salaires the top salaries; the highest salaries

La tour est haute de 11 mètres. The tower is 11 metres high.

Ce nouvel immeuble est très haut. This new block of flats is very tall.

à haute voix aloud; out loud

haute couture high fashion (although in English, we use the French expression haute couture)

Il y aura des températures très hautes demain matin. Tomorrow morning there will be very high temperatures.  

Rappelle-moi. C’est de la plus haute importance. Call me back. It’s extremely important.

Now some examples showing haut as an adverb:

en haut above; up; at the top; upstairs

en haut de la page at the top of the page

plus haut higher; further up

Je crois que Julien est en haut, il en train de faire ses devoirs. I think Julien is upstairs, he’s in the middle of doing his homework.

Est-ce que vous pouvez parler plus haut, s’il vous plaît ? Could you please speak louder?

D’en haut on voit le château. You can see the castle from up there.

Haut les mains ! Hands up! ; Put your hands up!

Haut can also be a masculine noun. Usually, the noun translates as top, but it can depend on the expression:

le haut de l’arbre the top of the tree

du haut de… from the top of…

un haut de pyjama a pyjama top

avoir des hauts et des bas to have ups and downs

As a French learner, you’ll certainly experience some ups and downs throughout your progress – but keep it up, you’ll soon be on top! We’ll see you here next week to study another interesting French word.

Written by Holly Tarbet, freelance copywriter and editor.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

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