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Minh Cuong DOAN

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21 must-learn French slang terms in 2023

A cloudy sky with the French slangs

French is a beautiful language known for its elegance and sophistication. However, like any other language, French has quite a few slang words and phrases used in everyday conversations that make it difficult for you to understand them. Especially, the young French often use these slang words and phrases to express themselves in a more informal and relaxed way. Thus, in this blog post, we will discover 21 French slang words and phrases that you need to know.

Allez, c’est parti!


Slang Words:

1. Une boîte – A box/a nightclub/ a company/

Depending on the context, the phrase “une boîte” might signify many things. The word “une boîte” is most frequently used to refer to a box. A bar or a pub can also be an “une boîte”. Finally, “une boîte” means a business or firm. Too much meaning for one word, right?

Exemple : 

A: J’ai trouvé mon stage. I found my internship

B: C’est génial, c’est quelle boîte ? That’s great, what firm is it?

A: Une grande entreprise à Paris. A big company in Paris

B: On sort ce soir pour fêter ton stage, quelle boite alors? We’re going out tonight to celebrate your internship, which club then?

A: La Chappel au centre, ce n’est pas mal. La Chappel in the center is not bad.

B: Ça roule, à ce soir. Ok, see you tonight.


2. Une clope – A cigarette

Exemple : Tu peux me donner une clope?  Can you give me a cigarette?


3. Des médocs – Medications or drugs

Exemple : Il faut que j’aille chercher mes médocs à la pharmacie. 

I need to go and pick up my medications at the pharmacy.


4. Une bagnole – A car

Exemple : J’ai acheté une nouvelle bagnole. I bought a new car.


5. Le fric ou balle – Money

Exemple : Putain, je n’ai plus de fric. I don’t have any money left.


6. Le flic – A police officer

Exemple : Attention, il y a un flic qui arrive. Be careful, there’s a police officer coming.


7. Un truc de ouf – Something crazy

Exemple : Hier soir, on a fait un truc de ouf. Last night, we did something crazy.


8. Une meuf- Une nana and Un mec- A girl and a boy

“Une meuf” is a verlan word in French. Verlan is a type of French slang that involves reversing the syllables of a word. In the case of “une meuf”, it is the reverse of “femme”. Another word that is often used is nana which also means a girl. And un mec means a guy or boyfriend.

Exemple : 

Aurélie: Tu viens à la soirée ce soir ? Are you coming to the party tonight?

Gabriel: Ouais, je vais y aller avec ma meuf, et toi ? Tu viens avec mon mec?

Yeah, I’m going with my girl, how about you? Are you coming with your boyfriend?

Aurélie: Ouais, à ce soir alors. Yeah, see you tonight then


9. Teuf – A party

It is often used in the phrase “faire la teuf”, which means “have a party”. The word “teuf” is derived from the word “fête” (party), with the syllables reversed in the same way that verlan slang does.

Exemple : Il y a une teuf chez moi ce soir. There’s a party at my place tonight.


10. Chelou – Weird or strange

Chelou” is another French slang word used to describe something strange. It is derived from the word “louche” which means “suspicious” or “shady”, which is also a another example of verlant in French

Exemple : Je trouve cette histoire un peu chelou. I find this story a bit weird.


Slang Phrases:

1. Tu m’étonnes

Literally, this expression mean “you surprise me,”.Tu m’étonné actually means the opposite: “I know, I’m not surprised at all.”

Exemple :

A: Je suis fatigué, j’ai travaillé toute la nuit. I’m tired, I worked all night.

B: Tu m’étonnes .I know, I’m not surprised at all.


2. Crever la dalle – To be starving

“La dalle” is a French slang term meaning hunger or craving. It is often used in conjunction with the verb “crever” to express extreme hunger or thirst, as in the expression “crever la dalle” or “ avoir la dalle”

Exemple : J’ai pas mangé depuis ce matin, je suis en train de crever la dalle

I haven’t eaten since this morning, I’m starving.


3. N’importe quoi 

Literally, n’importe quoi means “no matter what”. But it has a few different uses that can be translated as “that’s ridiculous”, “nonsense”, “trash” or even ‘bullshit!’ Example: Tu dis n’importe quoi, ce n’est pas possible

You’re saying whatever, that’s not possible.


4. Laisse tomber – Forget it or Let it go

Exemple : J’ai essayé de le convaincre, mais il ne veut rien entendre, laisse tomber. 

I tried to convince him, but he doesn’t want to listen, let it go.


5. Quand même 

“Quand même” is a versatile French expression that can be used in various ways depending on the context. Here are some possible meanings of “quand même” in French:

  • Despite everything, nevertheless, anyway:

Exemple : Il pleut, mais je vais quand même sortir. It’s raining, but I’m going out anyway

  • Anyway, in any case, regardless:

Exemple : Je ne suis pas sûr si je pourrai venir, mais je te tiendrai au courant quand même. I’m not sure if I can come, but I’ll let you know anyway

  • Well, then, so:

Exemple : Quand même, tu as réussi à finir à temps. Well, you managed to finish on time

  • Used as an intensifier, similar to “really” or “very”:

Exemple : Il est quand même tard, on devrait peut-être rentrer. It’s really late, maybe we should go home.

  • To express your surprise

Exemple : 

A: J’ai couru 60 bornes hier. I ran 60 kilometers yesterday.

B: Quand même! Wow


6. Ah bah dis donc – Well, well, well or Oh my

Exemple : Ah bah dis donc, tu as vraiment changé depuis la dernière fois que je t’ai vu.

Well, well, well, you’ve really changed since the last time I saw you.


7. Oh la vache – Oh my gosh or Wow

The well-known phrase “Oh la vache!” translates to “Oh my god!” or “Oh damn!” in French. It sounds much like the English phrase “Holy cow!”

Exemple : Oh la vache, regarde cette voiture, elle est magnifique!  Wow, look at that car, it’s beautiful!


8. Ça me saoule or Ça me gonfle – It annoys me, or It’s frustrating

Exemple : Ça me saoule de devoir travailler le weekend. It annoys me to have to work on the weekend.


9. Ça déchire ! – That rocks or That’s awesome

Exemple : Ton nouvel album, ça déchire ! Your new album, that rocks!


10. Oh la la – Oh my or Wow

When referring to something that is related to France or the French, it is worth noting that the expression “oh la la” is used to express surprise, appreciation, or delight.

Exemple : Oh la la, il fait trop chaud aujourd’hui ! Wow, it’s hot today!


11.Ferme ta gueule! or Ta gueule! – Shut up!

Exemple : Je ne veux plus t’entendre, ta gueule ! I don’t want to hear from you anymore, shut up!


Related: Apprendre le français : Mon parcours, mes expériences

So, have you memorized all these slang words? What is your favorite word or phrase? Let me know in the comments section below!

Finally, it’s important to note that while these words and phrases are used frequently in everyday conversations, they may not be appropriate to use in more formal context. But it’s necessaries to know these if you want to understand French people, when you hang out with them. Now go ahead, use these slang words and phrases in your next conversation with a French friend and see how impressed they will be!

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Cet article a 2 commentaires

  1. HAZY7

    Do you have any video of that? I’d want to find out some additional information.

    1. minhcuong49

      No, I don’t have. But you can have many videos available on Youtube. Check out my French resources in my blog to know more. Thanks

Photo profile_Minh Cuong Doan

Minh Cuong DOAN

Je suis un amoureux des langues et spécialiste du marketing du commerce international. Mon objectif est de partager mes connaissances et mon expérience de l'apprentissage des langues romanes avec d'autres personnes.

Soutenir mon travail

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