Can You Translate These Basic French Slang Words?


By: Brian Whitney

6 Min Quiz

Image: CoffeeAndMilk / E+ / Getty images

About This Quiz

When it comes to speaking French, there are a few different groups. There are those that can't speak it at all, those who can speak a little bit of it, and those who can speak it very well. No matter which of these groups you fall into it's fine, but there is one group of people that top all of them, and that is those that know a lot of French slang. Because seriously, what is cooler than that? 

Let's say you're out on the town at a club in Paris. Sure you might be able to flirt with someone but can you do it while using French slang? Or maybe you're hanging out with some friends, and you are ready to go, would you know to yell out C'est Parti? If you made someone dinner and they told you that is was "nickel," would you be happy or would your feeling be totally hurt?

French is a beautiful language, and even more so if you master its slang. Take this quiz, and we'll let you know if you're an expert or not on French slang. There's no time to waste, so vite fait. Or just laisse tomber if you want. We don't care. 

If you say "Ça me soule," what are you trying to express?

This is a French expression used when you've had enough and you simply can't take it anymore. If everything goes wrong for you in a certain day, this would be what you might yell out.


What should you do if someone tells you to "laisse tomber?"

This is what you say when you've been talking to someone about something for a long time and they still don't seem to understand what you're trying to say. Not usually meant literally.


If someone comes up to you and says your child is acting "chanmé," what are they saying?

While "chanmé" is often used often to describe a child who is acting up and behaving badly, it also has another meaning. It can be sometimes used to describe something that is cool as well.


If you're trying to "choper" someone at a club, what are you trying to do?

This slang word can be used pretty much anytime that you're trying to pick something up or pull something. But it is usually used when someone is trying to pick someone up at a club.


If you do something "vite fait," how are you doing it?

As the old expression goes, "He who hesitates is lost." When you set out to do something "vite fait," it means to do something as quickly as you can and without any sort of hesitation.


Not everyone can be this, what is something that is called "impeccable"?

While "impeccable" is a word that many of us know the meaning of, most of us don't know it's slang in French. When you hit something right on the money someone around you might exclaim this word.


If someone comes up to you and acts "chelou," how are they acting?

While this word really does mean "weird," it is usually used to describe people and not objects. Someone that is acting "chelou" is someone you want to stay away from for the most part.


What might you have just done if you yell out "aïe?"

Have you ever wondered why we yell out "ow!" at the top of our lungs when we hurt ourselves? Well, they do that in France as well, except they use a different word that means nothing.


If you find something "chiant," what do you think of it?

This is a word that can be used numerous ways, but never is a way that is meant to be pleasant. It is used to describe something that is a pain, whether that be a person or a situation.


Someone who is "un truc de ouf" might be what?

The French word "fou" means one is crazy and "ouf" is "fou" spelled backwards. So we guess the point of this slang word is if you get called crazy backwards, you must be seriously insane.


What are you calling if you yell out for "les flics"?

All countries have different slang words for the police; some are derogatory, and some are not. This is a word you can use to describe a police officer in France and not make them mad, and that's a good thing.


If you have enough "fric" to go out on the town, what do you have?

Some people might deny it, but the fact is pretty much everyone likes to have a little bit of money laying around. The word "fric" is slang for cash, so if you're out on the town in France, you want this.


What are you doing if you "piger" what your teacher is saying in class?

Every culture has different slang words to let people know that you understand and that you're picking up what someone else is putting down. In France one of those words is "piger".


How good is a restaurant that is "ça craint"?

This slang term doesn't just mean that something isn't all that good, it really means something is awful. If you had a really bad dinner out, you might use this term to describe how bad it was.


If you are thinking about "dalle," what is on your mind?

If you were to be interrogated by the police and you heard them say the word "dalle," that might be a really good thing. They are probably saying they have no evidence at all against you.


If you're with someone at your house and you say "file" to them, what do you want them to do?

If someone is kicking around your house for a long time and you're ready to go to bed, you can tell him to "file." It might not be polite but at least you'll probably be in bed soon.


If your new friends hat is "trop style," what is it?

The French know fashion. If there is one thing we know about the French it is that they tend to be rather stylish, so if you hear this slang term you know whatever is being talked about is cool.


What should you do if someone asks you to "faire gaffe"?

This might sound like a rude thing to say but it isn't always. Not only can it mean "pay attention," but it also can mean 'look out" or be careful. So if you hear this you should give it heed.


What have you done when you suddenly exclaim "ça y est"?

Some of these expressions are only used in specific circumstances. This word can simply mean "finally" but is usually used when someone has been looking for something and finally found it.


You went out on the town, and now you're "oklm," what are you?

This is a French slang term that was made popular by French rapper Booba. It is used by those who are hip and is recognized as meaning "cool" as well as"chill." It's often used on Instagram.


You see a friend on the street, and you say "coucou." What are you saying?

There are a lot of slang terms in France that are greetings but not many as popular as this one. If someone says this to you on the street, they are offering you a friendly greeting of "hello."


Someone just told you a story but you know he is a "mytho." What is he?

"Mytho" is an abbreviation of mythomana, which literally means "a compulsive liar." It is a slang word for those who like to exaggerate the truth to make themselves seem more interesting.


When you decide it's time to "bosser," what is it time to do?

Sure, you might have a romantic view of what France is all about, but every country needs to get things done at times. This slang word is about when it is time for someone to get to work.


If you're with a friend and say "C’est parti," what are you telling them?

No one wants to overstay their welcome even while having a good time, and other times things get boring. This slang term is what you say when it is time to head out and hit the highway.


If you make a dinner and someone says it is "nickel," what is it?

While in America we think of a nickel as being a small amount of money, in the French language it means something entirely different. If something is absolutely perfect, you would say it was "nickel."


You just told your guests "bouffer," what did you say?

The French are in love with food, so it isn't difficult at all to have an incredible dinner if you're in that country. So if you hear someone say this slang word get ready, because it's time to eat.


It's time to make a toast and you say "sante;" what are you saying?

Just about everyone knows in America that if you want to celebrate a toast that you say "cheers." This slang term means the same thing in France; it's always a good thing when you hear it.


If you're trying to be "bref," what are you doing?

Some of these are more logical than others to us that speak English. "Bref" basically means that you are making a long story short, in other words you're doing your best to keep things brief.


You just bumped into a "mec." Who did you see?

You're probably used to the terms, "dude" and "bro," maybe you even use them every once in a while, or even all the time. In France, if someone calls you this, they're basically calling you "dude."


Some woman wouldn't like being called a "nana;" what does it mean?

As an English speaker, when you think of a "nana," you're probably thinking of an old woman. Not so when it comes to French slang; this word means the female equivalent of "dude."


What might you use "une bagnole" for?

Most people use this slang term to describe something they would use to get to work in, or maybe just drive around for fun. "Une bagnole" is a French slang term to describe a car.


You just smoked some "beuh," what did you have?

Is there anything that has more slang terms attached to it than marijuana? No matter what country you're in, there are a ton of slang terms for it. This is one of the more popular French ones.


If you say the word "bof" about something, how are you feeling?

This is the French slang equivalent of the word "meh." It basically means something that is not exciting, kind of boring or a little bit disappointing. Point being it is not a compliment.


Sometimes we all say words that are just filler; what does "euh" mean?

This is one of those words like our "umm" that is used to buy yourself time while trying to think of the right word to say. Why do we say words like this? Well, at least the French do it too.


If you were to text someone the letters "bjr," what are you saying?

When it comes to French slang, it isn't just spoken word, there is a ton of Internet slang too. "Bjr" is an Internet abbreviation for "bonjour" because come on, that would take way to long to type.


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