I know that “that is” comes from Latin “id est”, short “i.e.” and means “in other words”.

I would like to know whether there is a French equivalent for this phrase.

  • 3
    – Édouard
    Apr 28, 2014 at 11:53
  • 5
    Note that i.e. is also used in french as is, especially (but not limited) to refering scientific work (mathematical, for instance).
    – mansuetus
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:23
  • @mansuetus, Good point! Apr 28, 2014 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


I think the closest translation of “that is” would be “c’est-à-dire”, which litterally means “that is to say”. It can be shortened to “c-à-d” or “c.a.d.

Autrement dit” and “en d’autres termes” also both exactly mean “in other words”.

  • It’s exactly what I’m looking for, the more variants the better. Much obliged! Apr 28, 2014 at 12:11
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    @LucianSava Note the the shortened version is not nearly as common as “i.e.” is in English, I think you should generally avoid it in formal writing.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 28, 2014 at 18:05
  • @Annoyed, duly noted! Apr 29, 2014 at 14:03

à savoir is the French equivalent of Latin's 'id est'

  • 2
    In some contexts à savoir might be a good equivalent. But would you care to elaborate a little more? Apr 30, 2014 at 17:54
  • 3
    "the" French equivalent? No.
    – Did
    May 2, 2014 at 6:33
  • 1
    I think one can une à savoir and c'est-à-dire quite interchangeably, although the latter is more common.
    – VH-NZZ
    May 3, 2014 at 10:06

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