In French we use “la rentrée" to mean the return to work after the slack period of the summer break in France. It is used by students, workers and pretty much anyone else. Is there any English expression to convey a similar meaning?

  • @StoneyB Thanks, can you use "back to school" for non-students as well? Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 21:14
  • 1
    No (except, obviously, teachers) - but in the US few people outside academe get more than a couple of weeks of vacation a year, so there is no prolonged break to return from, Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 21:15
  • @snailplane Yes, thank you - serves me right for answering while listening to the baseball game: the GOB punished me for impiety. Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 21:28
  • In the US, back to school, but it is used as an attributive or adverbial, only very rarely as a nominal. Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 21:29
  • Not only does this not easily translate to English, it isn't even universal in French. In Canadian French, "la rentrée" can only be used for school. Using it in reference to the workplace would get you a funny look and a misunderstanding.
    – Celada
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


Not really, in the sense that you use it. This is because, as StoneyB has mentioned, there is no real equivalent to the French summer break in either the UK or the USA.

A literal translation would be "re-entry", which is indeed the term used when someone is returning to the job market after a leave of absence, but this isn't generally used for coming back from vacation, and isn't used if you are returning to the job you left. It would be more common after, perhaps, taking a year off after having a child, recovering from a prolonged illness or accident, or coming out of retirement. For example:

Five years ago, I won $100 million in the lottery. I find that I have managed to spend it all, so I have to re-enter the job market.

  • I don't see why we don't have an equivalent summer break in the USA, it seems the same to me? My sense is that the French language is a bit more focused on movement than English is.
    – user26236
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 20:32
  • I believe you are thinking of schools. In France, there is a government-mandated five weeks of vacation for full-time employees.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 5:54

In Australia it is called "Back to school". The new school year and the cranking up of work again after the summer holidays is from mid to late January. So many people would wish each other "Happy New Year" for the first couple of weeks - probably haven't seen each other since before Christmas.

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    I support your answer. I had a game with special event. In the French version it was called: "la rentrée" and in the English version it was: "back to school".
    – Quidam
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 13:30

Sounds definitively like coming back to work but actually performing at a slower pace until one gets up to speed. In Spain, many times after say a 3-day holiday, the first day scheduled back to work is taken by many as a day off and called the "resaca". Resaca in this manner is a "hangover day". You need that one more extra day of vacation, at home, to get ready to go back to work, whether you have been drinking or not. It's a simple difference between working and actually doing work. Don't try to understand the concept nor poke holes in it, just accept it for the laziness it represents.

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