I went to a French restaurant with my friend. I requested a dish, then the server asked my friend in French and my friend replied "idem".

Is it correct to use "idem" as an answer in this context? What about "pareil"?


4 Answers 4


Technically, yes, “idem” means “the same”, “likewise”. But in practice I would not use it, and a waiter might not recognize the word, especially in a noisy environment. It's completely non-idiomatic in this context. To say that I want the same thing as the previous person, I would say “la même chose” or “pareil”.

In a restaurant context specifically, there's a fairly idiomatic way of phrasing that you want the same thing as the previous person: “un deuxième” or “une deuxième” (depending on whether the word for the dish is masculine of feminine). If the next person again wants the same thing, they'd say “un(e) troisième” or just “troisième”, etc.


according to https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/idem


idem \i.dɛm\ invariable

De même, pareillement. On l’emploie pour éviter de répéter ce qui vient d’être dit ou écrit.
    Voici la lettre. Tu sais ce que tu as à faire. Un fiacre est en bas. Pars tout de suite, et reviens idem. — (Victor Hugo, Les

Misérables, Tome III, 1890, p. 421)

Idem can be use as "pareil" and "la même chose" when ordering at restaurant.

Selon https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables

Nombre de pages 2 598 (éd. Testard, 1890)

  • 3
    Les Misérables est paru en 1862.
    – grandtout
    Mar 11, 2020 at 12:59

Idem is straight from Latin, and means the same in Latin. In English, we use ditto (also Latin) in exactly the same way.

  • 2
    The question is not about idem meaning but about whether it is idiomatic or not in the OP context. The answer is no. It is not something usual as a reply to a waiter.
    – jlliagre
    Mar 13, 2020 at 13:53
  • God forbid we add any additional snippets of perhaps interesting information that doesn't answer the question strictly. Apr 27, 2020 at 2:07
  • 1
    I have no idea about God opinion about it, but SO rules make a clear distinction between comments and answers.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 27, 2020 at 5:56

Selon Larousse

Idem, employé pour aussi, de même, est familier : il est reçu à l'examen, et moi idem.

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