Vis-à-vis (de)

Vis-à-vis
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French Expression

Meaning facing, in front of, in regard to
Literally face to face
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Pronunciation [vee zah vee]
IPA   [vi za vi]

Usage notes: The French expression vis-à-vis has a few different meanings. Vis is the Old French word for visage (face), so literally, vis-à-vis is a prepositional phrase meaning “face to face.” However, for this usage it needs another word: vis-à-vis de.

Par exemple…

Alignez-vous, les filles vis-à-vis des garçons.   Line up, girls facing boys.
La boulangerie est à côte du pressing, vis-à-vis de la poste.   The bakery is next to the dry cleaner’s, across from the post office.

Synonymous expressions

  • de l’autre côté de
  • en face de
  • face à face de

Vis-à-vis de can also be used for comparisons:

Ma voiture est très petite vis-à-vis de la sienne.   My car is very small compared to his.
C’est la moindre des choses vis-à-vis de tes soucis.   It’s nothing compared to / vis-a-vis your problems.

 Vis-à-vis or vis-a-vis (without de) has the same meaning in English.

Synonymous expressions

  • en comparaison de
  • en regard de

As a noun, vis-à-vis has two meanings:

1. Someone or something that faces someone/something else.

À vendre : bâtiment sans vis-à-vis   For sale: building with open outlook (nothing across the street)
Asseyez-vous en vis-à-vis.   Sit down facing one another.

2. A meeting or encounter

Il faut organiser un vis-à-vis pour la semaine prochaine.   We need to arrange a face-to-face meeting for next week.
Pendant le vis-à-vis, nous avons décidé ….   During the meeting, we decided ….

Synonyms

  • un face-à-face
  • un tête-à-tête

 Related lessons

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Vis a vis

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