French Slang

August 8, 2017



If you are coming to France, and especially if you want to understand what young french peoples will speak to you or between them in daily life, you have to learn some basics about the french slang. You might never learn these phrases and words in school, but they will be very useful for daily life conversation! What is difficult about slang is that it's always changing, evolving, and some expressions that were often used before, can be quickly forgotten.





the "Verlan"


First of all, to understand some of the following words, and to see how the french slang can work, you have to understand what is the "Verlan". It basically consists in transposing syllables of a word into a different order, to create a new word, that will have the same meaning, but it have a more familiar connotation. 

Some of the most used word among young french people are "Verlan", and have already made their way into the french dictionary:


Chelou: This one is made from the word "louche", and means weird, odd, strange, "c'est chelou" means "it's weird".


Ouf: Another useful word, which comes from "fou". if you want to say that something, or someone is crazy, you can say "C'est ouf" / "Il est ouf". It can sometime have another meaning, that something was cool, or that you enjoyed it. "C'était ouf !" could be translate by "It was so cool !"


Une meuf: this word comes from the french for woman, "femme". It can be used very casually by younger people, but it can sometime have a negative meaning, depending on the situation. "t'as vu cette meuf ?" would mean "did you see this girl ? ". The equivalent in slang for a man would be "un mec", or "un keum" (which is the verlan of mec, which is already slang, easy right?), these words are the equivalent in french for "a guy", "a dude".



Alcohol Slang


 few extra vocabularies that you will use during party


Être bourré: This one simply means "to be drunk", maybe it's the one you need you need to remember ! "Tu es bourré ?": are you drunk ?


Picoler: It's a slang word which is used instead of "boire" (which means to drink), but it's only used when you drink alcohol, "t'as picolé hier?": did you drink yesterday ?


Cul sec: or "Boire cul sec", is used when you drink something in one shot. It's used when you drink shots, or when your glass is almost empty. "cul sec !": One shot !



other situational slang words


   And to end this article, here are some other slangs for some different situations. 


Se casser: it's a verb that means "to leave", but as a negative meaning, you would usually use it when you're angry, or if you don't like where you are per exemple. "Allez on se casse !": Come on let's move ! "Casse toi !": Leave !


Avoir la dalle: This is an expression that you use in France When you're really hungry, " j'ai (trop) la dalle !": I'm so hungry !


Ouais: The slang equivalent of "oui", you probably already heard it a lot, and knew its meaning, but just in case, it's used everyday by almost every french people.


Grave: This word is not really slang, it often means something serious, or really bad ("Une blessure grave" is a serious injury). But young people use it to accentuate an emotion, or a situation, and could be understood as "very". "C'était grave bien !" would mean "It was really nice !", and " j'ai grave aimé" would be "I liked it a lot" / " really liked it".


Être saoûlé (par quelque chose): Originally, "saoûl" is a regular word for "drunk". But it can be used as slang, to describe something that is bothering you. "Les cours me saoûlent": classes are bothering me.


Le bordel: This word was originally used to talk about a whorehouse, but now it's often use to describe a large mess: "Wow c'est le bordel ici !" Wow it's a huge mess here.


Une clope: A "clope" is a cigarette, so you can ask to your friend "t'as une clope ?" if you want to ask them for a cigarette, you can also ask "Je peux fumer une taffe ?", if you want to smoke on their cigarette (take a puff).


Balles: sometime, french people use the word "balle" to refer to the currency, so if you say "je l'ai acheté pour 15 balles", it means that you bought it for 15 euros (even though "balles" doesn't really refers to the euro, it's what people would understand). 


Bouffer: It' slang word for eating: "On va bouffer quelque chose ?", are we going to eat something ?


Kiffer: Another french word for the verb "to like", often used by the young people here: "J'ai vraiment kiffé ce film" I really liked this movie.




Now it's time to practice slangs!


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