The French General Commission of Terminology and Neology made the announcement on Sunday, and France 24 translated their definition as a "massive consumption of alcohol, usually as part of a group, designed to cause intoxication in a minimum amount of time." The French newspaper Le Monde quantified this as having more than four to five drinks in less than two hours -- although the news outlet did not specify the type of alcohol or precise portion size. (The French are well-known for weeding out foreign words from their language, with the Commission recently swapping the word "hashtag" for "mot-dièse.")[[BREAK]]
But this isn't simply a lighthearted story of overzealous French-language police. The vocabulary change coincides with an increase in binge drinking in France. In March, the French Society for the Study of Alcohol reported that alcohol-related hospital admissions had risen 30 percent in three years. In May, Le Monde published a piece called "Génération 'biture express'" (biture express is another term for binge drinking), while Le Parisien expressed concern about "Un problème majeur chez les jeunes" -- "A major problem among the young." An aide to the mayor of Paris told Le Parisien that the City of Light had seen an increase -- from 15 percent to 25 percent -- in repeated drunkenness in those younger than 18 from 2005 to 2010.
It looks like the country of champagne, cognac, and robust reds has a new problem on its hands.