Carton, cartonner

After learning a word for failure, today we are going to learn about a word for success : carton, mostly used in the expression faire un carton.

The normal meaning of le carton is “cardboard” (or “cardboard box”). Since targets in shooting ranges are sometimes made of cardboard, the word came to mean “to be successful”.

Ce film a fait un carton.
This movie was very successful.

The verb cartonner means the same as faire un carton.

J’ai cartonné au bac !
I passed the baccalauréat successfully!

For some reason, carton can also mean “car crash”, especially a spectacular one.

Y a des bouchons à cause d’un carton sur l’autoroute.
There’s a traffic jam because of a car crash on the highway.

J’ai cartonné en voiture en allant au boulot.
I crashed my car on my way to work.

Listen to the examples:

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