For the English word "commodity" which refers to raw materials which are traded (e.g. metals, energy, food), I have difficulties to find a good French translation. Some dictionaries propose "la matière première", while on the French Wikipedia it is "commodité". What is the right translation? Are both acceptable?

Related to this question is "commodity price". Is that "le prix des matières premières" or better something like "le prix de commodité"?

1 Answer 1


As Wikipedia already explains:

  • "Commodity" has no straight translation.

  • Matière première meaning is narrower than commodity. While coal, copper and oil are definitely matières premières, it's much less acceptable for an immaterial thing like electricity, or for something not transformed like bananas.

  • Commodité is controversial and only used with this meaning by people already familiar with the English "commodity". The traditional meanings of commodité (that includes "restrooms"!), also utilities: FranceTerme, do not allow to easily understand what is meant by this new acceptation.

The OQLF recommends marchandises, also biens de consommation, produits, articles.

See all the Termium Plus site that suggests translations for many combination of words using "commodity".

Note that prix de commodités wouldn't be use even by those familiar with commodités, that would be prix des commodités.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.