Learn to speak like a local with our list of 18 French colloquial words and expressions. Impress your French friends and elevate your language skills!
French is a beautiful and complex language with a rich cultural history. However, mastering French slang and colloquial expressions can be a challenge for non-native speakers.
In this blog post, we’ve put together 18 useful French colloquial words and expressions that will help you sound like a local and understand everyday conversations.
- Alors: This word can be used in several different ways, but it is most commonly used as a filler word at the beginning of a sentence. For example, “Alors, quoi de neuf ?” (“So, what’s new?”).
- Bouffer: This word means “to eat” in a casual way. For example, “On va bouffer quelque chose ?” (“Shall we grab a bite to eat?”).
- C’est chelou: This expression means “it’s weird” or “it’s strange.” For example, “C’est chelou, ce mec” (“That guy is weird”).
- Ça marche: This expression means “that works” or “OK.” For example, “Je te retrouve à 20 heures ? – Ça marche !” (“Shall we meet at 8 pm? – OK!”).
- Dégueu: This word means “disgusting” or “gross.” For example, “Ce fromage a l’air dégueu” (“That cheese looks gross”).
- D’accord: This is a common expression that means “OK” or “all right.” For example, “On se voit demain ? – D’accord !” (“Shall we meet tomorrow? – OK!”).
- Faire la grasse matinée: This expression means “to sleep in” or “to have a lie-in.” For example, “Je vais faire la grasse matinée demain” (“I’m going to sleep in tomorrow”).
- Franchement: This word means “honestly” or “frankly.” For example, “Franchement, je n’aime pas cette chanson” (“Honestly, I don’t like this song”).
- J’ai la flemme: This expression means “I’m too lazy” or “I can’t be bothered.” For example, “Je ne vais pas sortir ce soir, j’ai la flemme” (“I’m not going out tonight, I can’t be bothered”).
- Kiffer: This word means “to like” or “to love” in a casual way. For example, “Je kiffe ce resto” (“I love this restaurant”).
- La galère: This expression means “a tough situation” or “a struggle.” For example, “J’ai eu la galère pour trouver une place de parking” (“I had a tough time finding a parking spot”).
- Merde: This word is a common exclamation that means “shit” or “damn.” For example, “Merde, j’ai oublié mon téléphone” (“Damn, I forgot my phone”).
- N’importe quoi: This expression means “nonsense” or “ridiculous.” For example, “C’est n’importe quoi ce qu’il dit” (“What he’s saying is nonsense”).
- Pas de souci: This expression means “no problem” or “don’t worry.” For example, “Je vais arriver en retard – Pas de souci, prends ton temps” (“I’m going to be late – No problem, take your time”).
- Raconter des salades: This expression means “to tell lies” or “to make things up.” For example, “Il m’a raconté des salades sur son travail” (“He told me lies about his work”).
- Se prendre la tête: This expression means “to make a big deal out of something” or “to overthink things.” For example, “Arrête de te prendre la tête, ça va bien se passer” (“Stop overthinking things, it will be fine”).
- Trop cool: This expression means “really cool” or “awesome.” For example, “Ta nouvelle voiture est trop cool” (“Your new car is awesome”).
- Zut: This word is a mild exclamation that means “darn” or “shoot.” For example, “Zut, j’ai oublié mon parapluie” (“Darn, I forgot my umbrella”).
Learning these French colloquial words and expressions can help you to understand everyday conversations better and to sound like a local. Just remember to use them appropriately and in the right context!
Practice colloquial words and speak better
Practicing colloquial words can certainly help you to speak better and sound more natural in conversations. Here are a few tips to help you improve your use of colloquial language in French:
- Watching French movies and TV shows is an excellent approach to hearing and practicing colloquial French in everyday scenarios. You’ll learn new words and idioms and gain an understanding of how they’re used in context.
- Listen to French music: Listening to French music might help you learn new expressions and enhance your pronunciation. Take note of the lyrics and try to sing along.
- Talk with native speakers: Practice chatting with native speakers and don’t be scared to ask questions about unfamiliar expressions. These can assist you in learning how to utilize the idioms in the appropriate situation.
- Reading French literature can enable you to improve your comprehension of colloquial language and discover new expressions. Begin with easier books and work your way up to more difficult material.
- Employ language exchange applications: There are numerous language exchange apps available that allow you to connect with native French speakers who are also learning your language. This is an excellent opportunity to practice speaking and receive feedback on your use of colloquial language.
Keep in mind that mastering a colloquial language takes time and practice, but with persistent work, you’ll begin to feel more at ease utilizing it in conversations. Begin by introducing a few new expressions into your weekly chats, and gradually increase your knowledge of colloquial French.