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'Le Serbe a défait le Français Gilles Simon…'

'The Serb defeated the Frenchman, Gilles Simon…'

Consider the sports headline above. In our lessons, we've met the common verb faire many times. But what about the derivative défaire and the expression se défaire de?

Défaire is used in the context of unfastening/untying something or defeating someone. For example, we could say:

  • Elle a défait ses cheveux.
    = She let her hair down.
  • Marc a défait ses valises.
    = Marc unpacked his suitcases.

As for the expression se défaire de, it's what we'll use when talking of getting rid of something or someone. Consider the following:

  • Comment se défaire d'une gueule de bois?
    = How do you get rid of a hangover?
  • Ma bagnole consommait beaucoup trop d'essence, c'est pour ça que je m'en suis défait.
    = My car consumed much too much petrol. That's why I got rid of it.

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