Galérer is a French verb that which means to struggle, to have a hard/difficult time. It was derived from the word galère.
Galère in France today is known as struggle, hassel or hardship. But it's first meaning is galley, a 16th century type of ship. Galleys were used as warships and they are propelled by rowing.
Since human strength is needed for propulsion, one can imagine that rowing was difficult as well as exhausting. We can guess that the poor gallery rowers (who were convicts or slaves) suffered to sail the ship, especially in headwinds or even moderately rough weather.
|Photo credit : wikipedia|
According to Wikipedia, in 1909, French author Albert Savine wrote that after the Bastille, the galleys were the greatest horror of the old French regime. And that the term galérien ("galley rower") was a general term in France for forced labor and convicts serving harsh sentences.
The word French word galère can be translated to wahala, gobe or yawa in nigerian slang. It can mean difficulties, struggles, problems, sufferings, hardhip, etc.
"Bonjour la galère !" is an expression I learnt only after moving to France. A French man whose wife had just given birth said "On a eu des jumeaux, bonjour la galère !". His expression made me laugh so hard and I could tell that galère meant there'll be a lot of work to do because of the twins.
"Bonjour la galère !" can be used to express a difficult period which has started, which is starting or which will soon start.
Ma mère viendra vendredi passer le week-end avec moi, bonjour la galère ! - My mother is coming Friday to spend the week-end with me. What a pain !
A cause de tous ces pluies il y aura beaucoup d'embouteillage pour aller au boulot demain. Bonjour la galère ! - Due to this heavy rain, there will be a lot of traffic tomorrow. It's going to be hellish !
There is also another expression which is not as common ; Vogue la galère !
Je pense que j'ai loupé mon entretien. Vogue la galère ! - I think I didn't do well at my interview. Whatever will be will be!
Other ways the use the word galère are :
Quelle galère ! - What a pain! / What a mess!
J'ai galéré avant de trouver ta maison - I had difficulties locating your house.
Je suis dans une sacrée galère - I am in a lot of trouble
Je galère depuis 30 minutes pour changer le pneu de la voiture - I have been struggling to change the car tyre for 30 minutes.
Dix ans de galère en France et je suis toujours sans papiers - 10 year of hardship in France and I still don't have my papaers.
Mon boulot est une vraie galère tous les jours - My job is a real pain everyday
Ça fait 3 ans qu'il galère pour trouver du travail - It's been 3 years since he has been struggling to get a job
Nous sommes tous dans la même galère - We are all in the same boat / We all have same problem.
C’était une journée galère - It was a horrible day
Ma voiture n'a pas démarré ce matin pour aller au travailler. Et là commence la galère - My car refused to start this morning on my way to work. That's when my problems started.
Sa société est dans une galère financière ! - His company has money problems
Aller à l’école en bus est une galère épuisante au quotidien - Going to school by bus daily is exhausting.
La vie est galère pour les mères célibataires. - Life is tough for single mothers.
Linda est ma meilleure amie parce qu'on a vécu cette galère-là ensemble. - Linda is my best friend because we lived through these hard times together.
Trouver une place de parking à Paris c'est galère ! - It's real pain finding a parking space in Paris!
compagnon de galère - brother in misery, fellow sufferer n
en galère - in trouble
J'ai connu des années de galère à l'université - I went through years of hardship at the university
There is a French book called "Bonjour la galère !" written by Philippe Adler in 1985.
I hope this article helped, j'ai galéré un peu to explain the meaning of this expression, that's why I ended up giving you a lot of examples.