(I've been trying off and on for decades to find the answer to this puzzle.)

This question provides some useful guidance for talking about asking someone on the phone to chill for a bit. But I'm interested in contexts where someone isn't merely waiting, but where the other party (or automated system) has in some sense suspended the call à la the good old-fashioned HOLD button. Things like

May I put you on hold while I fetch M. Dupont?


This customer-service line has had me on hold for 45 minutes.


Oh great, I put her on hold but now something seems to be wedged because it won't let me get back to her call.

Does "mettre en attente" unambiguously involve that suspension of a call and not a mere making someone wait, perhaps while one has merely put down one's phone.

And similarly, is "le bouton hold" unambiguously le composant d'une téléphone sur lequel on appuie pour activer la fonction dont je ne sais pas le nom ?

1 Answer 1


Mettre en attente is unambiguous in the context of a phone call, that means the audio link between you and your party is suspended. Otherwise, that would be something like je vais vous demander de patienter, ne quittez pas and similar sentences already listed in the other question which do not necessarily mean you'll be put on hold.

Le bouton hold is not an expression used in France. The most usual name was bouton de mise en attente but that's a little bit too long to be printed on a key...

At best there might have been phones with "Attente" but I guess most use some kind of symbol like the pause sign ⏸.

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