The global commercial success of this Netflix series obliged me to have a look at it. After only 28 days after its release, there were 70 million households who have watched the series, according to Netflix. It is even more than the successful series of the fall, The Queen’s Gambit with 62 million people. I decided to write a blog post to explain the French slang in English in this French series produced by Netflix.
I watched the five episodes of the first season released beginning in 2021. I would recommend Lupin that has a good scenario and video editing. Another plus, this series can count on the charismatic French actor Omar Sy playing the main role of Assane Diop. In this modern version of Arsene Lupin the world-famous gentleman thief, the main character is greatly inspired by him. Let’s start with the first episode! By the way, I did not add all the “Putain, Fait chier, and Merde” words to this list. You can read my article about it: French Swear Words: Learn to Curse Like a Local!
French Slang from Lupin Season 1 Episode 1
2’ – Coworker to Assane talking about the necklace
Ça va, c’est quoi ? 1000 ans de SMIC.
All right, what is it? 1000 years of minimum wage.
Here this is not exactly French slang but French people love to put acronyms everywhere “SMIC” would be translated into English into “Minimum wage”. This acronym stands for “Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance”, I am pretty sure most of the French do not know the meaning of the “I” and “C” (like me before writing it).
5’32” – Assane talking to the robbers
En fait, j’ai une galère, j’ai pas la thune.
In reality, I have a problem, I don’t have the money.
Here we have two interesting French slang. The first one is “galère” a word that you will hear a lot in everyday life. It can be used to describe a problem or it can be used to describe a person “T’es une galère”. In that case, the meaning is slightly different, the person is a problem or silly for performing an action. In fact, from ancient times to the 18th century, “galères” were ships on which convicts were sent to serve their sentences. The use of this expression means that a situation will be long and difficult to overcome.
The second French slang is “La thune”, it is simply slang for money. By the way, there is a Belgian artist that wrote a song named “La Thune” (I translated the lyrics): Angèle – La Thune lyrics translated into English.
6’ – Assane talking to the robbers
Et je vous explique comment faire de l’oseille, beaucoup d’oseille, de l’oseille comme jamais vous pourrez dépenser.
And I’ll tell you how to make money, lots of money, more money than you can ever spend.
As the previous slang “Thune”, “Oseille” is also a French slang for money.
7’35” – Assane talking to the robbers
on va faire gaffe là-bas il y a des caméras partout.
we will be careful there, there are cameras everywhere.
“Faire gaffe” is a popular French slang for “be careful” or “be caution”.
8’27” – Assane talking to the robbers
Les enchères commencent puis vous allez au vestiaire. La, Vincent et Kevin vous piquez la tenue des gardes, vous en aurez besoin pour après.
The bidding begins then you go to the checkroom. Là, Vincent, and Kevin you steal the guards’ clothes, you will need them for afterward.
The first meaning of the verb “Piquer” is in English “Sting” but another meaning (in this case) was “to steal”.
8’32” – Assane talking to the robbers
Là- bas il y a toujours qu’un seul gars et il est toujours à l’Ouest.
There is always only one guy there and he is always confused.
The French expression “être à l’ouest” literally translated means “being in the west” but the real meaning is being dreaming or confused.
8’45” – Assane talking to the robbers
Assane: Si les caméras tombent en rade plus de deux minutes le commissariat est prévenu. Au bout de deux minutes, les flics déboulent et mettent trois minutes pour arriver. Deux plus deux plus trois, vous avez sept minutes pour pas vous faire gauler
The Robbers: Quoi?
Assane: C’est chaud, mais ça vous laisse le temps d’arriver là.
Assane: If the cameras are out of service for more than two minutes, the police station is notified. After two minutes the cops come and take three minutes to arrive. Two plus two plus three, you’ve got seven minutes to avoid getting caught.
The Robbers: What?
Assane: It’s difficult but it gives you time to get there.
In this part, there are a lot of French slang words. The first one is “Tomber en rade” (fall in out of service) but you can see “Être en rade” (broke down). The second one is the verb “Débouler” which means “Break in”. The next one, simply means getting caught “Se faire gauler”. The last one can be misunderstood by French learners by translating to “It is hot” but in that case, it means “difficult” or “dangerous”.
31’25” – Assane talking with Madame Pellegrini
Madame Pellegrini: Bonjour Assane, je suis désolée, si je peux faire quelque chose.
Assane: Oui madame, merci madame, pardon madame, allez-vous faire foutre madame.
Mrs. Pellegrini: Hello Assane, I’m sorry, if I can do anything.
Assane: Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am, sorry ma’am, go fuck yourself ma’am.
Here, there is some poetry with the French insult “Aller se faire foutre” translated into English with “Go fuck yourself”.
French Slang from Lupin Season 1 Episode 2
2’04” – Assane
25 ans que je me plante.
25 years I am wrong.
The verb “Planter” first means “to plant” but when “you plant yourself” it means you are wrong.
5’08” – Gabriel Dumont to Assane
Bon, qu’est ce que tu fous ?!
Well, what the hell are you doing?!
The verb “Foutre” has many uses in the French swearing ecosystem. In this situation, it expresses an irritation.
17’51”- Assane to the prisoner
Embrasse tata pour moi
Kiss auntie for me
This is a cute French slang for “Aunt”. In French it is normally “Tante” but a cuter way would be “Tata”.
23’18” – Prisoner to Assane
Hey Djibrile devait nous faire rentrer 1000€ de came, donc maintenant c’est toi qui me les dois et t’as trois jours!
Hey, Djibrile was supposed to bring us 1000€ of dope, so now you owe it to me and you have three days!
“Came” is a French slang for “Dope”. For example, “Un camé” is a drug addict.
25’25” – Conversation between two cops
Vas-y remets toi au taf et laisse-nous avancer s’il te plaît.
Please get back to work and let us move forward.
“Taffer” the French verb means “To work” and “Taf” means a “work” or a “job”.
25’45” – A cop
C’est quoi ce bordel ? Il est en train de nous balader le gars. On est nulle part. On est des nazes. C’est n’importe quoi cette enquête.
What the hell is this? He’s walking us around, this dude. We’re nowhere. We are losers. This investigation is bullshit.
The first one would give in English “What is this brothel?” but the real meaning is “What the hell is this?”. The next one, “Se faire balader” is kind of “to fool someone” in English. Regarding ‘Naze” it can be translated as”Loser” or ”Sucker”.
37’25” – Prisoner to Assane
Prisoner: Je peux te demander un truc ?
Assane: Ce que tu veux.
Prisonner: Tu te démerdes comme tu veux mais tu fais sourire ma femme moi je vais plus pouvoir.
Prisoner: Can I ask you something?
Assane: Whatever you want.
Prisoner: You do what you want but you make my wife’s smile, I can’t do it anymore.
Assane: I promise
The literal translation to “Démerder” would be “To unshit”. It means to fix, to solve something.
46’34” – Assane to Madame Pellegrini
il s’est servi de ça pour le faire plonger ?
He used this to make him fall?
The French verb “Plonger” means first “To dive” but here it is used to take down someone.
French Slang from Lupin Season 1 Episode 3
1’44” – Gabriel Dumont (cop)
Allez, ça va chier !
Let’s go, it will get crazy!
The real translation would be “It will shit” but the meaning here is different.
7’57” – Gabriel Dumont (cop)
Parfois les pires canailles sont celles que l’on soupçonne le moins.
Sometimes the worst shenanigans are those we least suspect.
“Canailles” is a cute word that is being used most of the time for the kids.
16’ – Claire (ex-wife) to Assane
C’est pas parce qu’on couche plus ensemble que je ne suis plus ton poto.
Just because we’re not sleeping together anymore doesn’t mean I’m not your buddy.
Funny way to say buddy in French, it is a variant of “pote”. This French slang is more commonly heard amongst French teenagers.
17’50” – Claire to Assane
C’est marrant parce que les deux me cassent les couilles pareil.
It’s funny because they both annoyed me the same way.
The literal translation in that situation is “bust my balls”, it is pretty illustrative.
21’30 – A cop
Les gars, on a choppé la camionnette à porte de Pantin on fonce ?
Guys, we caught the van at porte de Pantin, let’s go?
This is a French slang with many meanings. Here, it’s “To catch” an object or a person. But it can also mean “To catch” a person like “Making out”.
24’36” – Assane to Claire
Si je comprends bien, Je suis l’homme de ta vie mais sans qu’on se pécho.
If I understand correctly, I’m the man of your life but we don’t make out.
“Pécho” is the verlan version (reverse version) of “Chopper”, it has the exact meaning. In comparison to the previous example, “Pécho” means “To make out”.
29’21” – Claire to Assane
Bon, t’emballes pas !
Well, don’t get too excited!
The literal translation for “Ne t’emballes pas” is “Don’t wrap yourself”, funny right?
French Slang from Lupin Season 1 Episode 4
17’40” – Fabienne to Assane
L’objecteur, c’est le canard ou j’ai travaillé toute ma vie.
L’objecteur, is the journal where I’ve worked all my life.
“Canard” normally means “Duck” but in the French media “Canard” is slang for “Newspaper”.
20’ – Security guy on the phone with Fabienne
Security guy: Il est en train de se barrer !
Fabienne: Faut le rattraper, ducon !
Security guy: He’s running away!
Fabienne: We have to catch him, Sir asshole!
“Se barrer” has only one meaning: “To go away”. Regarding “ducon” it is an insulting nickname.
23’24” – Assane to Fabienne
C’est du lourd, Fabienne. C’est fort !
It’s cool, Fabienne. It is great!
Lourd means “Heavy” but in this situation, it means “It’s cool”, “It rocks”.
26’20” – Raoul (son) to Assane
Assane: C’est qui le gars ?
Raoul: Un médecin je crois. Il est assez beau gosse en plus. Il a du pognon.
Assane: Ça aide.
Raoul: Et il a une caisse de malade.
Raoul: Arrête de faire genre tu t’en fous, ça me saoule.
Assane: Who is the guy?
Raoul: A doctor, I think. He’s quite good-looking too. He has money.
Assane: That helps.
Raoul: And he has a sick car.
Raoul: Stop acting like you don’t care, it pisses me off.
There are a lot of French slang words in this part. First, we got “Beau gosse” which translated to “Good looking guy”, you might sometimes hear the acronym version with “BG”. Second, “Pognon” is slang for “Money”. Here “Caisse” means a car but it can have other meanings. I invite you to read my blog post about French slang where I mentioned it: 50 French Slang Words That Your Teacher Hides from You. After, we have “Faire genre” I would translate to “Act like” then “S’en foutre” in English gives “Don’t care” or “Don’t give a fuck”. Finally, “Ça me saoule” literally means “it makes me drunk” but the real meaning is “It pisses me off”.
32’19” – Gabriel Dumont
Ils avaient picolés vos témoins ?
Were your witnesses drunk?
“Picoler” is a French verb slang for drinking alcohol.
33’41” – A cop
Il y a un truc super chelou.
There’s something really weird.
“Chelou” is the verlan version of “Louche”, it means “Weird” in English.
French Slang from Lupin Season 1 Episode 5
7’34” – Assane with Claire
Assane: Tu vas chez le médecin ?
Claire: Tu m’as balancé, toi ? (À son fils)
Assane: Are you going to the doctor?
Claire: Did you rat me out? (To her son)
“Avoir balancé” simply means to “Rat someone out” in English. For a better understanding, the French verb “Balancer” means “To throw”.
20’57” – Raoul to Assane
Il s’est trop kiffé ! (sur la photo)
He likes himself a lot! (on the picture)
You will hear more often “Kiffer” an Arabic slang for enjoying an activity rather than to love oneself.
I hope that you enjoy all of this work about this Netflix series, Lupin. It is the first time I am writing such a blog post. Let me know in the comments if you would like me to do other blog posts like this one. Now, if you are looking for some other French series on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, read my articles about it:
- 20 French Series on Netflix that You Might Binge-Watch
- 7 French Series on Amazon Prime That You Might Enjoy
- Netflix’ Lupin Season 2: French Slang Explained in English
Photo credit: @Netflix