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50 French Slang Words You Won’t Learn in a Classroom

50 French Slang Words You Won’t Learn in a Classroom

There is always a huge difference between the language that you are learning in the classroom and the language that you are learning in a specific country. You will realize that the most important words are French slang words.

You will need it to understand the locals, the movies, and the French songs.

Before reading this article, I invite you for a better understanding to read the article about the verlan in French, I will mention it a lot in this article: Verlan: The Backward French Slang.

Now let’s start this list of French slang phrases!

French slang for Friend 

I invite you to learn to read my article on how to use properly Friend in French. You won’t make the mistake again.

  1. Pote

This word means a close friend. It can be used for male or female. “poto” is a variation to this word. Some silly jokes are made with “poto”, it can mean a “pole” too. There is also “brother” or “bro”, you can either say “frère” or his verlan version “reuf”. There is also one that I like less spread and use it is the word “Mamène”. This French slang was made up of the English word “my man”. It was transformed into Mamène. The French rapper doing some troll rap named Lorenzo uses it a lot in his videos. This is slang that French people will say as a joke and not in a natural way.

For example

Alice c’est ma pote.

Alice is my friend.

  1. Gros

First, it means “fat” but the French slang means “dude” or “bro”. The ones you are more likely to hear in France are “gros” or “mec”. It is the same logic with the Spanish expression (from Spain) “tío” meaning uncle but that can be used for “dude”.

For example

Gros, tu vas bien?

Dude, are you okay?

  1. Le sang

It means the blood. When you use it to describe someone by telling this person is “le sang”, it means that this person is everything to you.

For example

T’es le sang !

You are my brother!

French slang from the Arab language

After English, the Arab language is the one that influenced most of the French language from the Middle Ages to now. I would need a special article to list all of the Arab words used in the French language.

  1. Wesh

This French slang is from the language Arab “what happens?” “qu’y-a-t-il ?” (wech kayn?) and “how are you?”  “comment vas-tu ?” (wech rak?). This French word enters the French dictionary in 2009. Nowadays, it is used as an interjection of “hey!” like “wesh ça va?”. This slang originally is from the French ghetto. A famous rap song from the French rapper Jul from Marseille use in the title of one of his songs: Wesh alors

For example

Wesh ! Tu viens ce soir ?

Hey! Are you coming tonight?

  1. Meskine

This French slang means that the person is kind of weak. This word has also an Arabic origin.

For example

Meskine, ce mec a dû porter les courses sur 2 kilomètres.

This poor guy had to carry the shopping for 2 kilometers.

  1. Kiffe (noun) / Kiffer (verb)

A French word to describe that you are enjoying a lot the moment or something.

For example

Je kiffe cette musique des années 80.

I enjoy this music from the 80s.

French slang for Party

French slang for party
French slang for party

These are the words that you need to learn if you are going to Erasmus (European exchange scholarship) in France. By the way, you can learn about the different ways to say drunk in French in this article.

  1. Caisse

This French slang has three meanings. Number one, it can be used for the word “car”. The second meaning is a way to describe a “fart” and the French will add the verb “to drop” in French “lâcher une caisse”. The last one, the French word can be used when someone had drunk too much. It does not mean precisely “hangover” but it is close. It is to take a caisse “prendre une caisse”.

For example

Avez-vous vu Nicolas hier ? Non, mais c’est sûr qu’il s’est pris une caisse pendant la fête.

Have you seen Nicolas yesterday? No, but for sure he went hard during the party.

  1. Gueule de bois

Translated word for word into English “ face of wood”. This French slang is super important, it means hangover. This expression is coming from the fact that the day after a party where there was too much alcohol involved, the person will have his/her mouth completely dry like wood.

For example

C’est la pire gueule de bois de ma vie.

It is the worst hangover of my life.

  1. Gerbe (noun) / Gerber (verb)

This is a French slang for “to throw up”. It can also be used when something might disgust a French person.

For example

Ça me fout la gerbe.

It makes me want to puke.

  1. Clope

This is slang for a cigarette. As you might know, French people, smoke a lot, especially during a party. The French might use the verb “to tax” with this slang. It is a feminine word so it is “une clope”. 

For example

Je peux te taxer une clope ?

Can I borrow you a cigarette?

  1. Cul sec

This is the way to say “shot!” while drinking a beer or any alcoholic beverage. It means ‘dry ass” because the ass of the drink is the bottom. To describe the bottom of the bottle, the French people say ‘le cul de la bouteille”. So next time you are drinking with French just say out loud “cul sec!”. In Belgium, they say “faire l’affond” to “make the bottom”.

For example

C’est ton anniversaire, tu fais cul sec !

It is your birthday, you have to drink it all!

  1. Tise (noun) / Tiser (verb)

This is French slang for alcohol. You will hear a lot amongst teenagers and young adults.

For example

Vous avez de la tise pour ce soir ?

Do you have some booze for tonight?

  1. Boîte

Translated directly it means “box” but the real meaning is “club”. It is funny to see that the French people picture a club as a box.

For example

On sort en boîte ce soir?

Are we going clubbing tonight?

French slang for Disappointment 

If you want to use a more formal expression for disappointment in French, you will need to use, for example, oh là là.

  1. Blasé

This French slang means to be sad. It is an old French word used in French literature but now the word lost its prestige.

For example

Je suis blasé de mettre blessé au tennis.

I’m so sad that I hurt myself playing tennis.

  1. Seum

This slang is from the Arab language. It means in Arabic “poison”. This slang was used on the French internet a lot by the Belgian people after they lost the world cup semi-final in football in 2018 against France.

For example

J’ai le seum de ne pas avoir gagner ce match.

I am so disappointed about not winning this game.

  1. Ça me saoule

It depends on how you are using this word, if you use it with “be” it simply means that you are drunk. You can use this French expression when something is annoying you.

For example

Ça me saoule d’être en retard tous les jours.

I am annoyed by being late every day.

  1. Relou

This French word can mean that something is pissing you off or someone is annoying. It is the verlan for the word “lourd”, meaning heavy.

For example

Trop relou le mec qui demandait des cigarettes.

So annoying was the guy that was asking for cigarettes.

French slang for Cool

  1. Lourd

Translated you will get the English word “heavy” but this French slang means “cool”. Another related slang is “fou” and his verlan version “ouf” means “crazy”.

For example

Trop lourd l’appartement.

The flat is so nice.

  1. Ça gère

This expression could be translated as “It rocks”. There is a silly expression that rhythms “ça gère la fougére”, (fougére means fern).

For example

Ça gère de faire un buffet à volonté.

It rooks to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

French slang for Food

  1. Je pète la dalle

This is the best way to tell your friend that you just need to eat now. Translated into English it gives “ I explode of hungry”.

For example

On mange quand ? Je pète la dalle !

When do we eat? I am starving!

  1. Bouffe (noun) / Bouffer (verb)

This is a colloquial way to say “to eat”. The French will use it mostly between friends not even with their family members.

For example

T’as de la bouffe dans ton frigo ?

Do you have food in your fridge?

French slang for I don’t care

We wrote a blog post especially about I don’t care in French if you want to learn more about it.

  1. Balek

This is an abbreviation of “je m’en bats les couilles” (also French slang) translated into English as “I hit my balls”. I would recommend you use the abbreviation rather than the other one if you do not want to sound too rude.

For example

Je m’en balec d’avoir une voiture.

I don’t care to have a car.

  1. OSEF

An acronym for “On S’En Fou” meaning “we don’t care”. You can say “je m’en fou” it simply means in English “I don’t care”.

For example

OSEF de bien s’habiller pour cette soirée.

We don’t care to dress up for this party.

  1. Je me casse

It means I am getting out of the place but if I translated it directly into English it would give “I am breaking myself”, that sounds weird right?

For example

Ce soir je me casse à miniut.

Tonight I am going away at midnight.

French slang for Seduction

  1. Canard

This is the French word for “duck”. It is by far my favorite French expression from this list. This is how a man for being too clingy with his girlfriend is called by his friends. This is the type of man that you cannot hang out with anymore and when he shows up, he goes home super early in order to not upset his girlfriend. There is a hilarious video on YouTube made by the Studio Bagel about this expression:

For example

Vincent on le voit plus, c’est un vrai canard.

Vincent we don’t see him anymore, he’s a really clingy person.

  1. Choper (verb)

It means first to “catch” but it can mean to “make out”. For your information, there is the verlan version “pécho” that has the same significance.

For example

Ils se sont chopés hier soir.

They made out yesterday night.

  1. Charo

This is an abbreviation of the word “charognard” in English is “scavenger”. The guy is everywhere and seduces everyone. This slang is also the nickname of the French football player Matuidi: Matuidi Charo. He is everywhere on the football field. The French rapper Niska gave him this nickname and since then he has celebrated when he goals, he imitates the vulture.

For example

Rémi c’est un vrai charo en soirée !

Rémi is a real seducer during parties! (seducer in a bad way)

  1. Chiner (verb)

The first meaning is when you are looking for objects in a flea market, it was originally the signification of this word. Now, there is a second meaning when you are looking for someone in a bar or club. This is the same meaning except you are not looking for furniture but for a person. It can be used as a noun, for males it would be “chineur” and for females “chineuse”.

For example

Ce mec c’est un vrai chineur.

This dude is a real seducer. (not so easy to translate)

French slang for Lame

  1. Cramé

There are four meanings of this French word. The first one means being burned. The second one means being tired. The third one means getting caught. The last one means something is lame. One synonym is “claqué”, it means lame, this slang can be used with adding “au sol” (on the ground), “c’est claqué au sol”. 

For example

J’étais cramé après mon match de basket.

I was so tired after this basketball game.

  1. À chier / Faire chier

Translated into English, it means “gives me the need to take a dump”. This is a nice way to express your feelings (sarcasm). You can use it when something or someone is annoying you a lot with “faire chier” or when it is really bad with “à chier”.

For example

Ce jeu est à chier.

This game is so lame.

French slang for Money

  1. Thune

We see the appearance of the word at the beginning of the 17th century. Almsgiving was called “thune” in slang at that time. Nowadays besides the word thune, they are other slang for money like “fric” and “blé”.

For example

J’ai plus de thune.

I don’t have money anymore.

  1. Pince

Slang for being “cheap”. This word means clamp in French, sometimes French people would imitate a crab with their hands to describe a person for being cheap. There is another funny expression “cette personne a des oursins dans les poches” in English “this person has sea urchins in their pockets” meaning it is painful for the person to pay for something.

For example

Ce mec c’est trop une pince.

This dude is such a cheap person.

  1. Michto

This is the French slang for “gold digger”. The meaning of the word has changed over time. It appears first in the gypsy community to describe something nice and pleasant. The French rapper Seth Gecko made a song with this word called “mitcho”.

For example

Cette fille c’est trop une michto.

This girl is such a gold digger.

  1. Blindé

This is a French expression to say that the person is super-rich. It can be used when you are full while eating or just when something is full.

For example

Je paye ma tournée, je suis blindé.

It is on me, I am so rich.

French slang for Lazy

  1. Glandage (noun) / Glander (verb)

It means doing nothing, just chilling.

For example

Après-midi glandage au programme.

For the program chill afternoon.

  1. Flemme

This French slang needs to be used with the verb “avoir” (=to have). A term whose origin dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time, doctors believed in the theory of humor, bodily fluids were supposed to influence the behavior of individuals. There was the phlegm, named after the ancient Greek “phlegma”. By extension, if a person had too much “phlegm” in his body, he was then considered to have little energy.

For example

J’ai la flemme d’aller au sport.

I’m lazy about going to the gym.

  1. Posé

It means “laid”, you can use it when you stayed relaxed and you did not do much. It can also be used to describe a place that is quiet or really comfy.

For example 

Je suis resté posé ce week-end. (yes French people use the English word weekend)

I stayed home this weekend.

Acronym French slang words

The French love to use acronyms for slang but also for their everyday life. It has been a comment from the Belgians I meet telling me it annoyed them.

  1. JPP

This is an acronym for J’en Peux Plus, meaning I can take it anymore. It can be used also when someone is annoying you.

For example

JPP de ces révisions d’examen.

I am tired of those exam studies.

  1. TMTC

This is a fake acronym because there is no word starting with “C” but it sounds like this letter. It stands for “Toi Même Tu le sais” translated into English gives “you too you know it”.

For example

Je suis le meilleur au foot TMTC.

I am the best at soccer, you know it.

  1. PLS

This is the acronym of the medical word “Position Latéral de Sécurité”.This is the security position on the side that you should put a person that had drunk too much. PLS is used during a hangover or when you injured yourself.

For example

Aujourd’hui, je ne ferai rien, car je suis en PLS.

Today I won’t do anything I am dead.

  1. BG

This French slang is the abbreviation of “beau gosse” in English “ beautiful kid” meaning the guy is really good-looking or he is handsome (only use for a male). I am going to make a quick parenthesis “gosse” is French slang for kids. Be careful, do not use it in Quebec, this word means “balls” or “nuts”, so be careful if you are traveling in Canada 🙂

For example 

T’es BG avec cette chemise.

You are good-looking wearing this shirt.

  1. BCBG

This French slang is from the expression “Bon Chic Bon Genre”(= good-looking nice style). It is used when a man is from a wealthy family and had good manners.

For example

Ce mec est BCBG.

This guy is handsome.

French slang for People

  1. Nana

It is slang for women. You can add the French slang “zouz”, which is Algerian slang, or “meuf”, the verlan version of femme.

For example

C’est qui cette meuf ?

Who is this woman?

  1. Type

It is slang for “man”. You can add “mec” and his verlan version “keum”. The French slang words “mec” and “keum” can be used for a girl to describe a guy as her boyfriend. The words “type” and “mec” are the French equivalent for a dude.

For example

Nicolas c’est mon keum.

Nicolas is my boyfriend.

  1. Daron / Daronne

This is French slang for dad for mom. This word that’s come back into popularity nowadays has a very old history in the French language. In the 13th century, a daron is a small fortress. Its meaning evolves little by little towards the “master” of the place. From the beginning of the 18th century, daron means “father” and it is also, a “nickname that workers give to their bourgeois”. If it continues to mean “boss” or “father”, daron also means “a cabaret owner” in the 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, the meaning of “father” became more and more common. Nowadays, it is trendy to call his father or mother with the Spanish words “padre” or “madre” and adding “le” ou “la” in front of it.

For example

Mes darons sont en vacances.

My parents are on holiday.

  1. Bobo

There are two meanings for this slang. The first one is used when a kid hurt himself and got injured, he has a “bobo”. This is a cute way to say to a kid he got a scratch. The second meaning is an abbreviation of the French word “bourgeois” meaning the person is wealthy and cares only about organic food really expensive and lives in a big city like Paris. This is to me, the cliché representation of what is a bobo in France.

For example

Ce sont des vrais bobos à manger des graines de quinoa dans leurs salades.

They’re really fancy people eating quinoa seeds in their salads.

  1. Beauf

This is the slang for redneck. In Belgium, they say “baraki” and “kétaine” in Québec. I wrote an article related to it: The Curse of Being Named Kevin in France.

The second definition is the contraction of “beau frère” in English “brother-in-law”.

For example

La coupe mulet c’est beauf.

The mule haircut is so has been.

  1. Poulet

In the English language, the nickname for the police is “pig” in French is “chicken”. There is a fun fact that few French people know, where this nickname is coming from. In 1871, Jules Ferry (a French statesman) gave a building to the “Prefecture de Police” to make its headquarters. This building was built on the site of the former Paris poultry market. After that, The French started to call the police “poulet”. There are also the words “flic”, “condé” and “keuf” to describe the French police.

For example

Il y a des poulets dans tout le quartier.

There are cops everywhere in the district.

French slang for Work

  1. Charbonner

The slang charbonner means that you are working hard. It comes from the word “charbon” translated into English gives “coal”. It is linked with the coal mines and the miners. Those people were working physically hard to make a living.

For example

Ça charbonne comme jamais. (or “comme jaja”, this is a new trending slang).

I am working hard like you can’t imagine.

  1. Boulot

It is French slang for a job/work. Another similar word is “taff”.

For example

On se remet au boulot !

Back to work!

I hope that you discovered some new French slang words or expressions in this article. I wrote only about 50 French slang words but I had many coming to mind.

I might in the future extend this list of French slang. Tell me now what is your favorite French slang in the comment section.

I invite now to read my two articles about French idioms and French swear words:

French Swear Words: Learn to Curse Like a Local! - French Iceberg

Friday 16th of April 2021

[…] 50 French Slang Words That Your Teacher Hides from You […]


Monday 28th of December 2020

Wahoo!!! Wallah, elle pete ta liste, méchant grave ! J’dirais même qu’elle déchire sa mère


Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Cimer Walid :)


Monday 28th of September 2020

Sacré Vincent


Monday 28th of September 2020

Et sacré Rémi :D


Thursday 17th of September 2020

Wesh, ça gère! Je me kiffe, gros. Hahaha merci beaucoup, c'est vraiment bon cette liste :)


Thursday 17th of September 2020

Merci beaucoup Ana!! Ça fait plaisir d'avoir des retours positifs :D (*Je kiffe gros)