maladie diplomatique

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Dixxy, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Dixxy

    Dixxy Senior Member

    Hi everyone !

    I can't find any translation for "maladie diplomatique" on here. It basically refers to a made-up sickness, that one is using to avoid going to work.

    I was thinking of "fake sickness", "phoney sickness" or perhaps "bogus sickness". Is one of these correct at all ?

    Also, i sense that there must be a more conventional/colloquial way of expressing it, but as a non-native, i feel stuck there.

    Thanks beforehand to any helper on this !

    * Léo *
  2. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    I think you are mixing up a "diplomatic illness" with just plain skyving. The former has a "raison d'État", the latter is just dishonest employee behaviour made possible by a sick society.

    And yes, there is a conventional, native way of describing Friday and Monday morning fake illnesses, it's fraud. Fraud upon the employer providing the emplyee with a job. Fraud upon society. A type of unethical behaviour also known outside of Europe, but more diligently sanctioned there.
  3. Dixxy

    Dixxy Senior Member

    Hey !

    Thanxxxx for the reply, Mate !

    But no, i'm not mixing anything : "maladie diplomatique" is a expression - a saying - commonly used in French to refer to a fraud, as ya say. Nothing at all to do wz a "raison d'etat", since that expression has no political meaning at all, despite appearances.

    Once again thank ya very much, and a nice day to ya ! ;)

  4. Michelvar

    Michelvar quasimodo

    Marseille - France

    Vous avez la phrase d'origine et le contexte?
  5. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Although noun phrases like those you suggested would be understood, I think I would be more likely to express that idea with a verb. So yes, a context sentence would be welcome.

    (as an aside, addressing a Canadian as mate and ya looks a little strange. ;))
  6. Omelette

    Omelette Senior Member

    UK English
    I would suggest 'feigned illness' is you want to express it in formal (British) English.
  7. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀

    Eh bien moi, je ne dirais pas « maladie diplomatique » dans un contexte d'employé qui s'abstente sous un faux prétexte de maladie. Lui, il est paresseux/malhonnête.

    À mon avis, « maladie diplomatique » est à rapprocher de « mensonge diplomatique » (white lie).

    Si je n'ai plus envie d'aller dîner chez tante Georgette, alors que j'avais répondu oui à l'invitation initiale, et que je prétends ne pas me sentir bien plutôt que de risquer de l'offenser en lui disant que j'ai mieux à faire... ça c'est une « maladie diplomatique ».
  8. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Ah ! je me demandais en quoi une fausse maladie pourrait être diplomatique. That makes sense.

    Edited to add:

    I'm still thinking in terms of verbs, something like I begged off, claiming a stomachache. It's not specifically "diplomatique" but it's not a phrase you'd use for work, either; and beg off is s'excuser but it doesn't imply "for a fake/feigned/pretend illness." You get that idea from the context. In the same way, with respect to work I might say He called in sick and went to play golf, where "call in sick" is neutral with respect to the cause, but the context sentence tells you the rest.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  9. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    In a more positive and less reprobatory vein, we can say Take a mental health break/day to describe that in AE. That's only for calling in sick at work when you need to take a break. In my experience such an act is tolerated by many employers in the US when it happens infrequently.*

    A really playful employee with an understanding boss might even just say: "I'm having a bad hair day." :D

    But like Omelette, to feign illness is the expression I would use if I wanted to politely avoid going to a social or business event with a white lie: "Aunt Mabel asked me to come to one of her séances again, but I just couldn't stand the idea of one more attempt at raising great grandpa from the dead, so I feigned a sore throat."

    You might also say beg off, but that does not indicate whether or not you are telling the truth.

    *Anyway, many employers now are moving to PTO ("paid time off"), where you have so many paid days per year for sickness or vacation, and you don't have to explain what the reason is for your days off. "I'm taking a PTO day today" is what we now can say for such an occasion.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  10. nodnol Senior Member

    English UK
    for something 'diplomatic', maybe
    'I just happened to have a very well-timed migraine/ a very convenient migrane.'
    In another context, a stock phrase, (more plausible with a female speaker): I would love to, but I'm washing my hair that night.

    , that is
    which I spell as skiving, and is found in a few other threads.

    ps the following is less 'personal opinion' than an attempt to demonstrate that 'other opinions are available': in response to post #2's dishonest employee behaviour made possible by a sick society, there are ethical questions raised by the practice of employers using social media to spy on employees, and elsewhere, criticism of 'zero-hour' contacts and certain other practices stem from the idea that a healthy society is not one where an employer 'owns' those who work for them.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  11. Dixxy

    Dixxy Senior Member

    Hello chers amis,

    Eh bien, pas de contexte précis, mais je souhaitais parler des nombreux employés absents du bureau ces temps-ci, pr cause de maladie, et l'idée que je voulais exprimer était :"Je ne sais pas si ce sont de vraies maladies ou des maladies diplomatiques".

    Voilà pourquoi je recherchais l'expression "maladie diplomatique" en anglais.

    (J'espère que ça vous convient aussi si je réponds en français.)

    ** Léo **

    P.S. : @ Kelly B. : I just like to use "ya" instead of "you" and the word "mate" too. Forgive me ? ;)
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  12. Dixxy

    Dixxy Senior Member

    Oh, and thanxxxx everyone for the answers ! Way nice from ya all ! :)
  13. Bordelais Senior Member

    English - British
    In which case, given the work context, I would suggest:

    "I don't know if they were really ill, or just pulling a sickie." (Throwing a sickie is also sometimes used.)

    to pull a sickie = to call work to say you are not well, when in fact you want to go fishing / go to the beach / stay in bed / recover from the night before.
  14. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I'd call this a diplomatic cold.

    I admire your moral stand, Bh7, but it may not always be fraud - the same excuse is used to avoid difficult social situations.
  15. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    And I maintain that in my opinion « maladie diplomatique » (diplomatic cold/illness) works better in a context of avoiding difficult social situations.

    I, for one, would not use the expression to mean se faire porter pâle = pull a sickie/fake illness to skip work/skive off work (BE)/play hooky from work (AE).

    Copied from this page (emphasis mine):
    The expression is of course extended to other people than diplomats and ministers, but this is what the French equivalent maladie diplomatique means to me.

    As a euphemism for a work context, I like mental health day/break (already suggested) or (I think it's cute) taking a duvet day, that I found in this other thread.
    This is the case where I work. ;)
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  16. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Soit dit en passant... j'avais vu ces trois sites. ;) La citation que j'ai mise au post 7 est extraite du dico d'Antidote. Définition du TLFI :
    Je ne nie pas que le sens est « maladie simulée» / "feigned illness".

    Il n'en demeure pas moins que « je » et cela n'engage que moi ne parle pas de « maladie diplomatique » en cas d'absence au travail.
    J'associe l'expression à « obligation sociale » et « diplomatique » = pour éviter d'offenser l'hôte (donc... diplomatie).

  17. Dixxy

    Dixxy Senior Member

    Thank you very much for your feedbacks, everybody ! I'll have several good options now. Your help was much appreciated !

    A nice day to each of you !

    = Léo =
  18. LART01 Senior Member


    J'utiliserais maladie diplomatique dans ce cas:

    Un collaborateur, un collègue etc...sait que sa présence n'est pas souhaitée pour une réunion ou autre évènement ou bien il ne veut pas être présent à cette réunion pour éviter de perturber cette réunion parce qu'il sait que ce qu'il peut/va dire va aller à l'encontre de l'avis des autres...

    Dans un dialogue:

    A: As-tu vu Lart01, la réunion commence dans 5 minutes et je ne le vois nulle part!
    B: Il est en maladie diplomatique pour aujourd'hui
    A: Et pourquoi ça?
    B: Il sait que ses idées ne seront pas acceptées et plutôt que de se confronter au manager, il a préféré se mettre commodément et diplomatiquement en maladie.
    A: Comme ça, personne ne perd la face?
    B: Ouais, la réunion sera plus calme mais ça ne règle pas le problème de fond pour autant.
  19. nodnol Senior Member

    English UK
    I've not heard either phrase, but it looks like maybe 'diplomatic illness' and 'diplomatic cold' are the best translations for post #18. (They both come up with results on a search engine.) Maybe with a maladie diplomatique everyone is supposed to know that they Lart01 has deliberately chosen not to go to the meeting, and to realise why. -And I can easily believe that, as Dixxy expalins, for many speakers the sense of the phrase has been watered down and it now means dishonestly claiming a sick day.
  20. Martyn94 Banned

    I don't know whether "maladie diplomatique" is generally understood in this watered-down sense. But I think that diplomatic illness in English still implies an illness that is feigned for a "respectable" reason, not just skiving off. If Dixxy is concerned with the latter case, they would do better to call a spade a spade and follow Bordelais: "take/pull/throw a sickie".
  21. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Dans le cas exemple de LART01 - qui ressemble un peu à la définition citée au post 15 - je n'hésiterais pas non plus à dire « maladie diplomatique » et dans ce cas (d'accord avec nodnol) à dire en anglais "diplomatic illness/cold"

    Mais pour les autres cas de « maladie inventée pour ne pas rentrer au travail » je suis d'accord avec Martyn94. Et pour le français, et pour l'anglais.
    Mais ça (je sais que je radote) vous l'aviez compris. :D

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