I am reading an old code base written by a previous French colleague. He named a variable 'Germaine', which is the percentage of hotel room booked. This variable is used to set price for the rest of the rooms: obviously the less rooms left, the higher our price is for the rest.

I searched internet and found that this word means 'German' or 'Germany' in French, or a Saint

Does anyone here has any insight why he names the booking ratio Germaine? is this some kind of slang ?


  • Note that the answer you accepted is wrong. If a French programmer names a variable “Germaine”, it's just some random first name. It does not connote ”related to“ at all. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 20 at 21:47

I believe in the US you spell it germane, which means indeed "related to". So probably in the context they ment that the price was related to the number of booked romms.

Not to confuse with "german" - funny I just saw again an old (and hilarious movie) about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyWVPHoFGJA

  • No, germaine in French does not mean that at all. The adjective germain is used almost exclusively in the phrase “cousin germain”, and never to mean two related things. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Aug 20 at 21:46


  • either a given name, which used to be rather popular, but nowadays, only old persons have this name;
  • or the feminine form of an adjective which means "germane" (and not "German"!) in English, i.e. two things are "germain(e)" when they are related; the most common use of that word is in the expression "cousin(e)s germain(e)s", which is used for 1st degree cousins, people whose parents are siblings.

To my knowledge it's not used in any locution and it's not slang for anything. It was probably chosen at random, I really don't see what it would have to do with booked hotel rooms. Maybe your colleague's mother is named Germaine.

PS: "German" is translated as "allemand" in French. "Germany" is "Allemagne". "Germanic" is "germanique" though.

  • 1
    "Germain" can still have a relation to Germany: "Germanic" can also be translated as "germain", if it refers to ancient populations of Germany. And today, in a literary or journalistic usage, the noun and the adjective can sometimes be used to refer to Germany, albeit with a rather negative connotation. – Greg Feb 25 '18 at 7:11

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