Dipping into new expressions

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Dip in the oceanWhat do you dip?

I dip raw vegetables in tangy sour cream and chives.

I dip my toe in the ocean to test the temperature.

I dip into my savings if a client pays late.

And I’ve been known to dip truffles into black chocolate in preparing Christmas gifts.

I insert bank cards 

Until recently, on both sides of the Atlantic, paying with plastic or getting money out of an ATM required inserting your card and leaving it in the slot until your transaction was complete. It’s explained here, see point 3.

I picked up my new bank card a few days ago and it was a good thing my account manager insisted we made sure it worked. So off we go to the ATM machine to withdraw $20.

Confidently, I insert my card and remove my hand.

No, no! Just dip your card.

(Dip my card? Huh? What’s she talking about?)

Like this (account manager shows me a smooth high-speed technique).

I successfully mastered “dipping my card”, left the bank, and wondered whether this was a widely-accepted change in credit card  lingo.

If you don’t know dip, you can’t shop

I dashed into the subway to pick up a MetroCard at one of the vending machines and followed the instructions: language (English), type of card (new card), ride plan (7-day unlimited), payment choice (credit card), receipt (yes):

DIP YOUR CARD TO PAY, says the machine.

Thank goodness, I knew what that meant and completed my purchase quickly. Without my crash course in  Dipping 101, my first day in my old home town would have been fraught with frustration!

Dipping in France

Inevitably, dipping will come to France.

What French expression will become mainstream to describe this technique?

Dipper? Oh puhlease…

Tremper? That’s what I do to my croissant in steaming café au lait.

French translators, chime in here: what would you suggest to dip your credit card?




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Comments: 9

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  • Rob Grayson

    The only verb that comes to mind is “plonger”. But surely not.

  • Thanks for sharing that funny story! Reminds me of when I was visiting France (I was living in Spain not that long ago), and everyone telling me ‘que je gérais’ for each and everything positive I would do in my life. That’s what I call a ‘language lag’!

    Re your suggestions, I spontaneously thought about ‘glisser’, as you explained ‘dip’ refers to a smooth movement (as opposed to ‘insert’). What d’you think?

    • Véronique and Rob, sorry for responding so tardily. My computer caught a virus and it’s in the shop now. Keep the French dip options coming! Might run a poll to make a final choice 🙂

  • I was thinking of “scanner” or “flasher” (this one is used for QR codes), but that only conveys an idea of photographing the card, not dipping it. On pourrait aussi dire “faites un va et vient” (mais le sous-entendu est lourd de sens) ou tout simplement : “passez la carte”.

    The most probable wil be that it will first prompt you to insert the card and then quickly to remove it.

  • Chris Cross

    As you know, I have been thinking about this one long and hard. So far, I can only think of two-word solutions (glisser et retirer), the point being that you don’t leave the card more than a couple of seconds during which time the machine has read the data on it. This has the advantage of enabling you to stuff your card safely away somewhere while you proceed with the rest of the transaction (think of ATM or DAB and how difficult it is to grab your card, your money and your receipt all within seconds of each other).

    Insérer brièvement. Insérer puis retirer. Effleurer. Caresser.
    Bof, bof et triple bof !

  • Les commentaires sont-ils toujours ouverts ?
    Je viens de lire votre article, merci pour ce moment de plaisir !

    Le français n’est pas ma langue maternelle, mais j’ose proposer “faire glisser” plutôt que “glisser”… “faites glisser votre carte”, what do you think ?

    Je serai vraiment curieuse de connaître le choix du terme final !

    • Oui, bien sûr, les commentaires sont toujours ouverts et merci pour votre contribution ! Cogiter – encore, toujours, inventer un nouveau mot / une nouvelle expression – peut-être ! Je subodore qu’in fine, en français, nous aurons à utiliser deux mots plutôt qu’un… mais qui sait ? It’s fun to play with words 🙂

  • Presque rien à voir (et aucun apport constructif !), mais un récent billet chez Langue sauce piquante m’a fait repenser à cet article : http://correcteurs.blog.lemonde.fr/2011/12/29/des-bidules-dans-un-seau/
    Et bonne année, Patricia, by the way!

    • Génial Anne-Lise, merci ! Et comme tu peux le voir, nous n’avons pas encore trouvé une expression courte et “punchy” qui conviendrait en français. Perso, je tourne en rond avec les trempettes de mon enfance (la mouillette dans l’oeuf à la coque, le délicieux morceau de sucre trempé dans le café des adultes pour faire un ‘canard’…), mais les images ne conviennent guère !

      Une très belle année à toi aussi !