demo (protest march)


New Member
Hello :)

I would like to know if the word "demo" for demonstration in English sounds as informal as the french word "manif.
Thanks for your help
  • autnagrag

    Senior Member
    américain, comme disent les français
    To me, the English word demo refers to a demonstration as in a commercially motivated demonstration of a device offered for purchase, or of an unfamiliar process, rather than a public political protest gathering.


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Agreed--"demo" isn't used for a protest gathering, at least not in AE.

    In that context we often say protest march rather than demonstration.


    Senior Member
    I'm glad to know there's a word for that in english, I thought it existed in french only...:D


    Senior Member
    Langue française ♀
    Do you mean as in : marche de protestation ? :p

    What about this definition of demo copied from Antidote:
    UK, IRE, AUS, NZ, INFORMAL – a political demonstration — demos against the austerity measures
    And this title :
    Nottingham Trump Protest: A thousand people gather in the city in anti-Trump demo
    It may not be common usage in that sense in AE, but it seems to me that "demo" is used to mean the same thing as the French manif in Great Britain and Australia.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree w/ autnagrag.
    My colleague gave me a demo of how the new computer functions.
    The vacuum cleaner salesman gave a very convincing demo of his latest machine.


    Senior Member
    Langue française ♀
    I really think that "demo" is used in both contexts in BE.

    Of course, as a Canadian, I'm more familiar with these definitions :
    INFORMAL – a demonstration of a software, project, etc. — to load the demo of the program
    US, CAN also demo model : an example of a product designed to show its features rather than to be purchased — to drive a demo car at an auto show
    Since Madouée, who initiated this thread, is in France... I think it's likely that she heard/read demo in a context of street protest.

    Or she may have seen the first line of this page from WR French to English dictionary.

    Or this other page from the English to French dictionary, which in my opinion is misleading.
    demo n informal, abbreviation (demonstration)
    (familier : manifestation) manif nf
    The farmer gave a demo of milking a cow.
    I wouldn't translate demo as manif in the sample sentence given. I'd say... une démo.

    Now in aswer to the specific question about register, I'll take a wild guess and say that yes... demo is just as informal as manif is. ;)
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    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    I really think that "demo" is used in both contexts in BE.

    Yes and, at least for me, the commercial "demonstration" is less commonly abbreviated in BE than the protest one.
    Context almost always makes the meaning evident anyway.

    (I found the juxtaposition in the dictionary definition rather funny though...French farmers have a bit of a reputation.)
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