Essential French Slang — With Examples

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French can be very formal, but it also quickly descends into slang. And the surprising thing is that slang (including swear words) is used at every level of conversation… from the workplace to everyday life. You’ll hear French slang from the moment you arrive when you realise that people speak casual French more than formal French. So here’s an introductory guide.

French Slang - essential slang to learn for france
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Of course, slang changes constantly, and is highly regional. But luckily, I’ve been speaking French for nearly two decades, so the ones I learned below are the ones I’ve known have stood the test of time, and are likely to stick around. Plus, they’re still used in my middle age by people around me, not just kids in university.

I’ve also included example sentences so you can see how they’re commonly used in everyday conversation.

On y va!


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French slang for everyday things and people

C'est a qui cette bagnole là? A Mr. Bean?
C’est a qui cette bagnole là? A Mr. Bean?

These are words for objects and people.

EnglishFrench (slang)
company
Don’t worry; the company will pay.
une boîte
T’inquiètes, c’est la boite qui paie.
friend
My friend is coming.
un pote/poto
Mon pote, il arrive.
brother/sister
I just spoke with my brother, and he’s flipping out.
frangin/frangine
Je viens de parler avec mon frangin et il flippe.
car
Who left their car just outside?
bagnole (slightly cheeky, not for fancy cars)
Qui c’est qui a laissé sa bagnole juste dehors?
children/kids
There are so many children here!
When I was a kid…
gosse, gamin
Y’a plein de gosses ici!
Quand j’étais gamin…
cigarette
Can you give me a cigarette?
clope
Tu peux me filer une clope?
clothes
What are these clothes you’re wearing?
des fringues
C’est quoi ces fringues que t’as mis?
gun/pistol
He had a gun hidden under the driver’s seat
flingue
Il avait un flingue caché sous le siège conducteur.
guy
The guy came here a minute ago.
Who is this guy?
mec
Le mec il est venu ici tout à l’heure.
C’est qui ce mec?
lie, a tall story
Don’t lie/exaggerate!
bobard
Mais dis pas de bobards!
money
I don’t have money.
I hope it’s worth it for you! It’s your money.
Keep it, you can make money with it.
fric, pâte, pognon, thune/tune
J’ai pas de fric.
J’espère que ça vaut la peine pour toi! C’est ton pognon.
Garde-le, tu peux faire de la thune avec.
nothing
You don’t understand anything
quedalle
Tu comprends quedalle, toi
police/cops
I’ve already called the police.
les flics
J’ai déjà appelé les flics.
thing
What is this thing?
truc
C’est quoi ce truc?
woman
Do you know who that woman is?
meuf (slightly disrespectful)
Tu sais c’est qui cette meuf là?
work, job
OK, I’m going to work.
Let me work, I have work to do.
boulot
Bon, je vais au boulot.
Laisse moi bosser, j’ai du boulot à faire.

French Slang Verbs

bouffer un truc - french slang - naan au fromage
Je crève de faim, moi! Tu veux aller bouffer un truc? Un cheese naan peut être?

There are LOTS of French slang verbs. It’s amazing how common these are. The moment you’re on vaguely familiar terms, travailler becomes bosser, comprendre becomes piger, and so on. Sometimes I entirely forget the non-slang way of saying things.

EnglishFrench (slang)
to annoy
Stop bugging me!
He’s doing it on purpose to annoy me.
emmerder
Arrete de m’emmerder!
Il le fait exprès pour m’emmerder.
to annoy the hell out of/piss (someone) off
Jesus, you really piss me off sometimes!
soûler, saouler (pronounced like sou)
Putain, tu me soûles des fois!
to be afraid
I don’t want to go there at night… I’m scared
avoir la trouille
Je veux pas y aller de nuit… j’ai la trouille
to bother (with)
Don’t bother with that, I’ll do it.
s’emmerder avec
Tu t’emmerdes pas avec ça, je m’en occupe.
to caresse
Yes I’m pregnant but that’s no reason to caress me!
tripoter
Ouais je suis enceinte mais c’est pas une raison pour me tripoter!
to chat, to speak
Wait, I have to speak with you.
causer
Attends, il faut que je cause avec toi.
to eat
You want to eat something?
bouffer
Tu veux bouffer un truc?
to exaggerate, embellish, lie
Make something up, then.
broder
Tu brodes, alors.
to freak out
Are you freaking out because of your interview?
flipper
Tu flippes à cause de ton entretien?
to get bored
If you’re bored, go home.
s’emmerder
Si tu t’emmerdes, rentre chez toi.
to get by, to manage, to find a way
You don’t know how to do it? Figure it out!
se démerder
Tu sais pas comment le faire? Démerde-toi!
to give
You want me to give you a hand?
They came to give you some money.
filer
Tu veux que je te file un coup de main?
Ils sont venus te filer du pognon.
to give the finger
She gave me the finger!
donner le doigt d’honneur
Elle m’a fait le doigt d’honneur!
to go belly-up
Don’t screw everything up.
capoter
Ne fais pas tout capoter.
to hurry
Vas-y, fonce!
foncer
Go on, get on with it!
to kid
Are you kidding?
Sans déconner?
déconner
Mais tu déconnes ou quoi?
No kidding?
to leave
Go on, get out of here!
I have to leave.
se casser, dégager, filer
Vas-y, casse-toi! or Allez, dégage!
Je dois filer.
to like
I absolutely loved it! (e.g. a show, movie)
Je vais faire une crise cardiaque tellement je le kiffe.
kiffer
J’ai absolument kiffé!
I’m like him so much I think I’m going to have a heart attack
to miss, to fail
I’m afraid he’ll fail his test.
Go on. You’re going to miss your flight.
louper
J’ai peur qu’il loupe son examen.
Allez, vas-y. Tu vas louper ton vol.
to not give a damn/fuck
I don’t give a damn!
I don’t care about him.
s’en foutre
Je m’en fous, moi!
On s’en fout de lui.
to pick up/seduce
We don’t seduce clients here.
draguer
Ici on ne drague pas les clients.
to piss off
Man you’re really pissing me off!
This thing really pisses me off!
faire chier
Mais putain tu me fais chier, toi!
Mais il fait chier ce truc!
to ruin
It’s me that ruined everything.
You’re going to ruin everything like this!
gâcher
C’est moi qui ai tout gâché.
Tu vas tout gâcher comme ça!
to screw with someone/take the piss (in a bad way)
Are you trying to piss me off? You messing with me?
se foutre de la guele de qqn
Tu te fous de ma guele, toi?
to understand
But you haven’t understood a thing.
piger
Main non, t’as rien pigé.
to work
Are you still working?
We worked like crazy.
bosser
Tu bosses encore?
On a bossé comme des fous.

French slang for describing things

French slang - bordelique - verbs and adjectives
Mais qu’est-ce qui se passe avec cette chambre bordélique??

There are a bunch of adjectives used in everyday French slang that it’s essential to know. Ils sont mortels, ces mots!

EnglishFrench Slang
annoying
Sometimes it’s really annoying to have a job.
Fuck, this is so annoying!
chiant, emmerdant
Des fois c’est vraiment emmerdant d’avoir un boulot.
Putain, c’est chiant ça!*
awesome
That film was awesome!
mortel
C’était mortel, ce film!
bad, terrible, to suck
I’m terrible at Italian
You know why you failed? Because you suck
nul
Je suis nul en Italien
Tu sais pour quoi t’as pas réussi? Parce que t’es nul
chaotic, disorganised
Tidy your room, it’s chaotic!
bordélique
Range bien ta chambre, elle est complètement bordélique!
completely/extremely
It’s completely ruined!
I’d have gone but it’s extremely expensive right now!
carrément/vachement
C’est carrément foutu!
J’y suis aurais allé mais c’est vachement cher en ce moment!
crazy/insane
This chick is crazy.
Watch him… he’s insane at this!
dingue
Elle est dingue cette nana.
Regarde-le… il est comme un dingue!
crazy
This is crazy!
ouf (verlan for fou)
C’est ouf ça!
exhausted
I’m exhausted, I’m home
crevé
Je suis crevé, je rentre
screwed, fucked
Everything is screwed now.
foutu
Tout est foutu maintenant.
stupid
This is stupid
débile
C’est un truc débile
stupid/idiotic
She’s totally stupid!
This film is totally stupid!
con/conne (very vulgar)
Mais elle est complètement conne!
Qu’est-ce qu’il est con, ce film!

French Slang Expressions

Finally, there are a bunch of slang expressions it’s good to know.

Good luck/break a leg!Merde! (said pleasantly, with a smile)
Je te dit merde! or On dit merde!
Period!Point barre!
Awesome!Nickel! Top!
Leave it, drop it, forget itLaisse tomber!
Totally!
Did you like it? Totally!
Carrément!
 Ça t’a plu? Carrément!
That works/OKÇa marche
It sucks.
It sucks, I know.
Ça craint
Ça craint, je sais.
I can’t believe it!J’en reviens pas!

Got a question on French slang? Or noticed a typo or glaring omission? Drop us a line below.

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