Discover the most popular French slang words and expressions that French natives use in everyday conversations. Improve your language skills and sound like a local!
Top French slang words used in everyday life
When learning a new language, it’s important to not only focus on the formal rules and grammar but also to learn the colloquial expressions and slang words that are used in everyday life.
This is especially true in learning French, a language known for its intricate grammar and formal structures but also for its lively and expressive slang.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the top French slang words used in everyday life, including their meanings and examples of how they’re used.
C’est la galère
Galère is a French slang word that is used to describe a difficult or challenging situation. It can be used to describe anything from a tough day at work to a complicated personal situation.
The expression “c’est la galère” is often used to convey a sense of resignation or acceptance of a difficult situation. For example, if someone asks you how your day was and you had a lot of problems you might reply, “C’était la galère” (It was a difficult day).
Chelou is a slang word that is used to describe something or someone that is strange or weird. It’s derived from the French word “chelou” which means “suspicious” or “shady.”
The word is often used among young people and is becoming increasingly popular in mainstream French.
For example, if you saw someone walking down the street wearing a strange outfit, you might say to your friend, “Regarde ce mec, il est trop chelou” (Look at that guy, he’s so weird).
J’ai la flemme
Flemme is a French slang word that is used to describe a feeling of laziness or lack of motivation. It’s a colloquial expression that is used in casual conversation.
For example, if your friend asks you if you want to go out for a run, you might reply, “Non, j’ai la flemme” (No, I’m too lazy).
C’est génial, grave!
Grave is a French slang word that is used to intensify the meaning of another word. It’s similar to the English slang word “totally” or “completely.”
The word “grave” is often used by young people and is becoming increasingly popular in mainstream French. For example, if someone asks you how a concert was and you thought it was amazing, you might reply, “C’était génial, grave!” (It was totally awesome!).
Speaking informally in the French language, “a roule” indicates inquiring about someone’s health. The actual meaning of this widespread colloquialism in informal conversation is “it rolls” or “it goes.”
The phrase “a roule?” (How are things?) might be used to ask a friend you pass on the street how they are doing.
The French slang word “franchement” is used to convey sincerity or honesty. It is widely used in casual conversation and can be used to convey agreement or disagreement. It is comparable to the English phrase “frankly.”
For example, if your friend asks you if you like a new song, you might reply, “Franchement, je ne suis pas fan” (Honestly, I’m not a fan).
Kiffer is a French slang verb that is used to express enjoyment or love for something. It’s similar to the English slang word “to dig” or “to be into.” The word is often used by young people and is becoming increasingly popular in mainstream French.
For example, if your friend asks you if you kiffes (like) a new band, you might reply, “Ouais, j’adore! Je kiffe vraiment leur musique” (Yeah, I love them! I’m really into their music).
T’es sérieux(se) là?
T’es sérieux(se) là? is a colloquial French phrase that means “surprise” or “disbelief.” It sounds a lot like the English slang expression “Are you serious?”
It is frequently used in everyday speech and can be used to convey astonishment or incredulity.
If a friend tells you they won the lottery, for instance, you can ask, “Are you serious?,” or “T’es sérieux(se) là?”
Ça marche is a French slang expression that is used to indicate agreement or to confirm plans. It literally translates to “it works” or “it goes.” The expression is often used in casual conversation.
For example, if your friend asks you if you want to meet for coffee later, you might reply, “Oui, ça marche” (Yes, that works).
J’ai la dalle
In French, the slang phrase “J’ai la dalle” means “I’m hungry.” It’s a slang phrase that is employed in everyday spech.
For example, if you’re out with friends and you’re getting hungry, you might say, “J’ai la dalle, on peut aller manger quelque chose?” (I’m hungry, can we go eat something?).
C’est mort is a French slang expression that indicates that something is not going to happen or is impossible. It’s similar to the English slang phrase “it’s dead.” The expression is often used in casual conversation.
For example, if your friend asks you if you want to go to a party that you know is already over, you might reply, “C’est mort, la soirée est déjà finie” (It’s dead, the party’s already over).
Learn more about French slang
Learning and using French slang words can add a layer of authenticity and liveliness to your conversations with French speakers.
However, it’s important to use them appropriately and in the right context. Slang can be region-specific, and some words may not be understood or used in certain parts of France or in formal settings.
In conclusion, we’ve explored some of the top French slang words used in everyday life. From expressing laziness and hunger to intensifying the meaning of a statement, French slang can add color and personality to your language skills.
So go ahead and practice using these expressions in your conversations and immerse yourself in the vibrant and expressive world of French slang.