Characters speaking French slang

When you're learning a new language, it's important to learn the formal words and expressions first. These are the words that you will use most often in conversation and writing – and they create the base of your language learning journey.

However, if you want to sound more like a native speaker, it's also helpful to know some of the more colloquial expressions. French slang words can vary from region to region, as well as depending on where and by whom it is used.

Of course, learning all the French slang phrases and words may be unnecessary, but knowing the most common ones will definitely give you an advantage in conversations with native French speakers.

In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the most common French slang expressions and words – from those used in texting, to those belonging to the famous Verlan. Read on and learn to express your feelings more like a real French person.

Everyday French Slang Words

In France, as in other countries, slang is an important part of communication. It allows people to express themselves in a more informal way, and shows that they are familiar with the language and the culture. Slang can also be used to show solidarity with a group, or to create a sense of intimacy with others.

There are all sorts of French slang words, but some of the most common ones are listed below. Be warned – using them wrong can cause misunderstandings, so it's best to use them only with people who already know and like you!

French

English

une arnaque

a scam

BG

This is a popular acronym in the common French slang words. It stands for beau gosse, which means a handsome man.

balle

bullet

baraque

a house

bouffer

to eat

bouquin

a book

les bas

socks

blé

money

bordel

a large mess

bobo

an injury

chiant(e)

annoying

une clope

cigarette (This is actually one of the most popular French slang words in Paris.)

darons

parents

draguer

to flirt

déboussolé

disorientated

gerber

to vomit

kiffer

to like something

un mail

an email

une meuf, nana

a woman

Parigo

a Parisian

piquer

to steal

picoler

to drink alcohol

râler

to complain

se planter

to make a mistake

nickel!

perfect!

ouf

awesome

ouais

yes

une piastre

a dollar

un truc, machin, bidule

a thing

un type, un mec

a guy

Characters speaking French slang

Popular French Slang Expressions

Just like with French slang words, when using popular French slang expressions, it's important to be aware of the context and the situation in which they are used. Some expressions can be quite vulgar, so it's best to avoid them unless you are sure that you know what you're doing.

Here are some of the most common French slang phrases:

French

English

À la bourre

Running late

Flasher sur quelqu’un

To have a crush on someone

C'est de la balle !

It's fantastic!

C'est clair !

You don't say!

C’est nul / C'est naze

That sucks

C’est top

That’s great

C'est un truc de ouf !

That's totally crazy!

Ça baigne?

How are you?

Ça craint

Not cool / It sucks

Ça marche

Ok / It works

Coup de fil

A phone call

Lâche-moi la grappe

Leave me alone / give me a break

Être vénère

To be angry or annoyed

Être au taquet

To be on fire

Ferme ta gueule ! / Ferme-la ! / Ta gueule !

Shut the hell up!

Gueule de bois

Hangover

T'inquiète / Ne t'inquiète pas

Don't worry

Laisse tomber

Let it go

Mon œil

I don’t believe it

Pas pire

Not bad

Je me casse

I’m out of here

Sans déconner

No joke, not kidding

Se bourrer la gueule

To get drunk

Les doigts dans le nez

A piece of cake

Je suis grillé

I’m toast (this French slang expression has the same meaning as the English translation)

Characters speaking French slang

French SMS Slang

In recent years, SMS slang has become increasingly popular in France. This type of slang is often used by young French people, and consists of abbreviations or acronyms that are used to make writing texts quicker and easier.

SMS slang can be difficult to understand if you're not familiar with it, but luckily there are some helpful resources that can explain it. Here are a few examples of commonly used SMS slang words and phrases:

SlangTranscriptTranslation
A2M1 à demain talk to you tomorrow
auj aujourd’hui today
a+ à plus tard talk to you later
aprem après matin afternoon
bjr bonjour hello
bsr bonsoir goodbye (good evening)
bcp beaucoup a lot
biz bises kiss
cad c’est-à-dire that is to say
dsl desolé sorry
dak d’accord OK
Je t’m Je t’aime I love you
jms jamais never
stp s'il te plaît please
slt salut hi
tkt ne t'inquiète pas no worries
K29 quoi de neuf what’s up
mdr mort de rire lol
mail - E-mail
pq pourquoi why
ptdr pété de rire rofl (rolling on the floor laughing)
qq1 quelqu’un somebody
rdv rendez-vous meeting
Ton 06 - Your phone number (06 refers to the fist two digits of a French mobile number)
toutafé tout à fait absolutely
tjs toujours always
tmtc toi même tu sais you know what I mean
wétu où es-tu where are you
SlangTranscriptTranslation
A2M1 à demain talk to you tomorrow
auj aujourd’hui today
a+ à plus tard talk to you later
aprem après matin afternoon
bjr bonjour hello
bsr bonsoir goodbye (good evening)
bcp beaucoup a lot
biz bises kiss
cad c’est-à-dire that is to say
dsl desolé sorry
dak d’accord OK
Je t’m Je t’aime I love you
jms jamais never
stp s'il te plaît please
slt salut hi
tkt ne t'inquiète pas no worries
K29 quoi de neuf what’s up
mdr mort de rire lol
mail - E-mail
pq pourquoi why
ptdr pété de rire rofl (rolling on the floor laughing)
qq1 quelqu’un somebody
rdv rendez-vous meeting
Ton 06 - Your phone number (06 refers to the fist two digits of a French mobile number)
toutafé tout à fait absolutely
tjs toujours always
tmtc toi même tu sais you know what I mean
wétu où es-tu where are you
Characters speaking French slang via SMS

Le Verlan

Le verlan is a type of French slang in which words are reversed. It is similar to “Pig Latin.” You may have already read about it before – for example, in a previous post we talked about the French word “cimer” which is verlan for “merci.”

Verlan is often used by young people, and can be difficult to understand if you're not familiar with it. But even though we don’t recommend focusing on verlan too hard at this point of your language journey, it’s important to get familiar with some modern French slang words belonging to this group. Here they are:

Example

Explanation

Céfran

Français – French

Cimer

Merci – Thank You

Oim

Moi – Me

Oit et Oim

Toi et moi – you and me

Ouf

Fou – great

Meuf

Femme – Woman

Reuf

Frère – Brother

Reum

Mère – Mother

Teuf

Fête – Party

Vénère

Énervé – Angry

Tromé

Métro – Metro

À donf

À fond – thorough

À oilpé

À poil – naked

La tof

Photo – picture

Le iep

Le pied – foot

Teubé

Bête – stupid

La barbe

Le beubar – beard

Kéblo

Bloqué – to be stuck

French Regional Words

The French language is full of regionalism and expressions, and sometimes, that can cause a lot of problems – take, for example, the issue of pain au chocolat (or chocolatine). Some of such words can be difficult to understand if you're not familiar with them, and some need to be used carefully.

Check this short list and make sure that you’re able to communicate with people not only in Paris, but in other French cities as well:

a pencil:

  • un crayon gris (in southern France)
  • un crayon de bois (in northern France)
  • un crayon (everywhere else)

a pen:

  • un Bic (Belgium and Kinshasa, DRC)
  • un crayon (commonly used in Quebec for “pen” although it also means “pencil”)

a plastic bag:

  • une poche (in southwestern France)
  • un pochon (in small regions of central and western France)
  • un sachet (near the French-German border)
  • un cornet (in Switzerland)
  • un sac en plastique (understood throughout France)

a chocolate croissant:

  • une chocolatine (in Quebec and in the Toulouse region of France)
  • un petit pain (in northern France)
  • un pain au chocolat (in the rest of France)
Characters speaking French slang

shoes

  • les baskets (in France – refers only to trainers/running shoes)
  • souliers (in Quebec – refers only to everyday shoes. Considered an old-fashioned word in France)
  • les chaussures (understood throughout the French-speaking world)

a bill

  • une addition (in France)
  • une facture (in Quebec)

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many different words and expressions used in various parts of France. If you want to be able to communicate with people from all over the country (and beyond), it’s important to broaden your vocabulary and learn as many regional and slang expressions as possible.

Of course, this is a daunting task, but don’t worry – we’re here to help! Make sure to check our website for more language learning content (for example, read about the French swear words), and download our app to make your language learning journey a little more interesting. With a little practice every day, you’ll be fluent in no time!