French Vocabulary Quiz

By: Kevin Zed

French Vocabulary Quiz
Image: Carlo A / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Blank stares, the "I don't know what you're saying" head nod, delayed reactions because you're translating everything mentally ... these are the hallmarks of talking to people in another language. According to a study from the University of Chicago, people make more rational decisions when they think in a foreign language, because the emotional connection with your mother tongue can fog logical reasoning. This is interesting considering that learning another language sometimes feels so irrational.

But if you're here, it means you're a trouper: You're ready to set aside your inhibitions and take on the French language, full stop. Google Translate won't be your best friend anymore, and you won't spend countless hours trying to remember if it's un famille or une famille. You'll serenely glide through nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives that will test and even improve your skills. And in the end, you'll reap the benefits! Research from the University of Edinburgh found that bilingual people tend to outperform their monolingual counterparts on attention tests. Another study found that learning another language, even in late adulthood, improves general intelligence and reading skills. If you want to prove that the "advanced French proficiency" on your resume is actually true, you've come to the right place. Allons-y!

Seat You need a seat! What are you looking for?
Une chaise
Both "chair" and "chaise" start with "ch," who would've guessed? "Lit" means "book," who would've double guessed? "Tapis" is a rug or carpet, and "porte" means "door" — not an ideal place to sit.
Un lit
Un tapis
Une porte

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Thinking Do you know what "un portable" means?
Car
Laptop
You can easily remember this word by thinking that a laptop is very portable. In fact, the official French term is "ordinateur portable," with "ordinateur" meaning "computer" and "portable" referring to its mobility.
Television
Cellphone

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Outside Can you tell us what "une journée" means?
A day
This is a classic "faux ami" (otherwise known as "false friend.") These are French words that look like English ones, leading you to wrongly assume that they share the same definition.
A journey
A place
A jury

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Run You want to go on a run. Which verb are you using?
Marcher
Aimer
Manger
Courir
"Marcher" is the opposite of running, meaning "to walk." "Aimer" and "manger" are unrelated to physical activity, with the former being "to like" and the latter signifying "to eat."

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Grapes You're at a Parisian market and notice some grapes. What are they called?
Pommes
Grapés
Champignons
Raisins
If you wanted to buy raisins, you'd purchase "raisins secs," meaning "dried grapes," which actually makes a lot of sense. "Champignons" are mushrooms and "pommes" are apples. Plot twist, "grapés" isn't a word.

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Water It's summertime and your friend says, "Je veux sauter dans la piscine." What did they say?
"I want to swim in the pool."
"I want to jump in the pool."
Who doesn't love a good belly flop? "Je veux" means "I want," while "sauter" is the verb for "to jump." "Piscine" means "pool," similar to the Spanish "piscina." If you're wondering what the word is for "to swim," it's "nager."
"I want to swim in the lake."
"I want to jump in the lake."

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Pretty Your vain colleague tells you they're too pretty for work. What word did they use for "pretty"?
Jolie
"Laid" is the opposite of "pretty," meaning "ugly." "Haut" and "court" are also opposites, with the former meaning "tall" and the latter being "short." And an "e" to the end of these words if they describe a female noun.
Laid
Haut
Court

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House Person Your friend asks you to get something from "la cuisine." Which room are you heading toward?
The entrance
The living room
The kitchen
"La cuisine" is where all the magic happens! The food magic, that is. Almost everyone's favorite place, the verb for "to cook" is the same as the French word for the kitchen. The person cooking is "le cuisinier."
The master bedroom

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Driving Test Your driving instructor says you drive too slowly. Which word did they use for "slowly"?
Rapidement
Heureusement
Lentement
French adverbs often end in "ment," making them easy to identify among other types of words. The adjectival counterpart of "lentement" is "lent," but you certainly won't be slow at French once this quiz is over!
Librement

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Friends Your friend says he will "t'appeler demain." What did they say?
They'll call you tomorrow.
"Appeler" is the verb for "to call," but it can also be used when requesting someone's name, such as when saying, "Comment tu t'appelles?" (the literal translation is, "What do you call yourself?")
They called you yesterday.
They spelled your name wrong.
They asked you to spell your name.

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Tired You're feeling tired. What word is appropriate here?
Oreiller
Lit
Nuit
Fatigué
All these words are related to sleep: an "oreiller" is a pillow, a "lit" is a bed and "nuit" is night. For anyone who knows what "fatigued" means, it's no surprise that "fatigué" denotes tiredness.

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Food Your hungry friend says they want to go out for "souper." Which meal are you eating?
Breakfast
Brunch
Lunch
Dinner
A good way of remembering this is to keep in mind that soup is often eaten at dinner. You can also say "dîner," but it's sometimes used to refer to lunch, so beware of possible confusion.

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Nice Which word isn't essentially a synonym for "nice"?
Gentil
Méchant
"Méchant" is the word for "mean." You can remember this by noting that both words start with "m." "Gentil" is a basic way of saying "nice," while "chaleureux" denotes warmth. "Sympathique" is good for agreeableness or pleasantness.
Chaleureux
Sympathique

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Rock Paper Scissors You're playing "Rock, paper, scissors." Which one isn't an option?
Papier
Ciseaux
Main
"Main" isn't an option, but it's what you use to play the game — it's your hand. "Papier" is a rock ... just kidding, it's actually paper. The word for "rock" is "roche" and, you guessed it, "ciseaux" are scissors.
Roche

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Read You're starting to read your favorite book series again. Which option is the word for "read"?
Lire
Reading before you "dormir" — or go to sleep — is a good idea, but don't do it as you "conduire" since driving and reading don't mix. We hope you "apprendre" — or learn — a lot from this quiz.
Dormir
Conduire
Apprendre

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Glasses Your optometrist gives you a new prescription, what's the French equivalent of "glasses"?
Verre
Bouteille
Lunettes
A ''verre'' is a glass, such as one that you would use to drink water. "Bouteille" is a bottle and, despite looking like "lentils," "lentilles" actually refers to glasses lenses. Lastly, you're not seeing double, an "optométriste" is, in fact, an optometrist.
Lentilles

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Salt and Pepper You just tried your mother-in-law's flavorless meatloaf and you tell her it needs some salt and pepper. What are the words for these two?
Sel et poivre
So many meatloafs, so little flavor. "Sale" is actually "dirty," hopefully not a word that'd be needed to describe a meatloaf. "Poivron" refers to bell peppers and not the seasoning.
Sale et poivre
Sel et poivron
Sale et poivron

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Thinking1 Your friend asks if you want to take a ride on their "bateau." Which mode of transportation will you be on?
A donkey
A plane
A canoe
A boat
While the idea of riding a donkey seems lovely, a boat is your friend's transportation of choice. Had they said "un âne," well, that would be a different story. "Un avion" is a plane and "un canoë" is, you guessed it, a canoe.

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Summer You're rereading your yearbook and see the classic, "See you this summer!" comment from a peer. What word did they use for "summer"?
Printemps
L'hiver
Été
You can remember "l'hiver," which means "winter," by noting that you s"hiver" when it's cold. "Printemps," just like the Spanish "primavera," refers to spring. And, surprise, surprise, "l'automne" is autumn.
L'automne

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Walking Man Your uncle says he "souvent" goes on a walk. Which word did he use?
Never
Rarely
Often
"Souvent" is one notch more intense than "rarement" — meaning "rarely" — but not quite as frequent as "toujours," which means "always." If he had said he never goes on walks, he would've used "jamais."
Always

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Hiking You're going for a hike. Which weather condition are you hoping for?
La pluie
La neige
Le soleil
''Sun'' starts with "S," and so does ''soleil.'' If there was any ''pluie,'' we'd hope you'd bring an umbrella. Pack some snow boots if the forecast calls for ''neige'' and just stay home altogether if there's ''grêle'' — hail hurts!
La grêle

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Happy Which of the following is not essentially a synonym for happy?
Heureux
Heureuse
Gai
Triste
''Heureux'' and ''heureuse'' both denote happiness, but are spelled differently because they're adjectives and, hence, the former is masculine and the latter is feminine. ''Gai'' is a way of saying ''jolly'' or ''cheerful.''

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Thinking2 You're bringing a ''drapeau'' to the party. What did you pack?
A dip
A flag
You can remember this by thinking that it's common for people to ''drape'' the flag around themselves during times of celebration. As with other nouns ending in ''eau,'' add an X at the end to make this word plural.
A bottle of alcohol
A lighter

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Thinking3 Which option isn't an adjective?
Plaisant
Effrayant
Mensonge
It'd be a ''mensonge'' to say this one wasn't a curve ball. A ''mensonge'' is a lie — the others mean ''pleasant,'' ''scary'' and ''annoying,'' respectively. A liar is a ''menteur'' and ''to lie'' is ''mentir.''
Ennuyeux

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Pens and Pencils Which option isn't a type of writing tool?
Un crayon
Un surligneur
Un stylo
Une gomme
Surprisingly, "une gomme" isn't actually gum, but an eraser. You'll also be surprised to hear that "un crayon" is a pencil. A highlighter and pen denote "un surligneur" and "un stylo," respectively.

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Shoes Which answer isn't a type of footwear?
Les espadrilles
Les chaussures
Les bottes
Le chou-fleur
Wearing cauliflower on your feet probably isn't the best idea. But sandals, sneakers and boots (aka options 1, 2 and 3) are better choices. The word "fleur" means "flower" in French, hence the second part in "chou-fleur."

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Thinking4 Your friend asks for a slice of "gâteau." What are you cutting into?
Cake
Fun fact: the French equivalent of "happy birthday" is "bonne fête," or you can also say "joyeux anniversaire." You can expect "un gâteau" regardless of the language, but "un pizza," "une lasagne" and "une tarte" aren't guaranteed.
Pizza
Pie
Lasagna

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Driving Test1 Your driving instructor tells you to never go through a red light. Which word signifies "red"?
Vert
Jaune
Rouge
While roses are often red, the color "rose" refers to pink. You'd definitely go through a "vert" light, but might be a bit more cautious when you see that it's "jaune." If you see "rouge" and "bleu," you're about to get pulled over.
Rose

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Hotel Room You need room service to come clean your suite. Which verb means "to clean"?
Se tortiller
Nettoyer
You might "se tortiller," or squirm, upon seeing a messy room, but might feel compelled to "embrasser," or hug, the room service once it's clean. You may even "donner" — give — a really good tip after.
Embrasser
Donner

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Optometrist Which part of your face is examined at an optometrist?
Le nez
Les yeux
The idea of going to an optometrist to get your "nez" and "menton" — nose and chin — checked doesn't seem right. You're more likely to end up at an eyebrow bar if you need your "sourcils" worked on.
Le menton
Les sourcils

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Judge Judy You're watching a dubbed version of "Judge Judy," what's the French word for "trial"?
Une cour
Une épreuve
Un marteau
Un procès
A trial is technically a legal process, so the word "procès" is fitting. The "procès" occurs in a court — or "cour." "Une épreuve" is a type of trial, but more in the sense of an attempt or trial run.

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Old Person Which option is an antonym for "old"?
Vieux
Ancien
Vielli
Jeune
If referring to youth as a group of people, you'd say "les jeunes." If you're talking about youth as a concept, say "la jeunesse." The second option, "ancien," does mean "ancient," but it's frequently used as "former," like "mon ancien professeur."

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Thinking5 You're at a store and see a nice "chemise." What are you grabbing?
A pair of shorts
A shirt
More specifically, the word for "T-shirt" in French and English is identical. Interestingly, the word for "shorts" is also the same. But a hat is "un chapeau" and a sweater is "un chandail."
A hat
A sweater

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Turkey What's the word for turkey, the Thanksgiving staple?
Le poulet
La dinde
Fun fact: the word for "Turkey," the country, is "Turquie." All these options are some variation of a bird — a chicken, hen and rooster, respectively — but do we see them stealing the show at Thanksgiving? Exactly.
Une poule
Un coq

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Thinking6 Which answer isn't a noun?
Montaigne
Mécontentement
L'arc-en-ciel
Brusquement
"Mécontentement" looks like an adverb but it's indeed a noun, meaning "dissatisfaction," something you're probably not experiencing if you answered this correctly. A "montaigne" is a mountain and "l'arc-en-ciel" is a rainbow.

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Shapes Rectangles, circles, ovals ... it seems as if there are as many shapes as there are languages. Which shape is "un carré"?
A square
The words for shapes look almost identical in both English and French — a rectangle is "un rectangle," a circle is "un cercle" and a triangle is "un triangle," just to name a few — but this is a case where there's no resemblance.
A diamond
A trapezoid
A rhombus

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Time Flies Time sure flies by, regardless of whether you're speaking French or English. Which month means "August"?
Août
French months are not capitalized unless they start the sentence. This rule echoes Spanish grammar, and the second option just so happens to be the word for "August" in Spanish. The third answer is a name, and "aux" is a preposition that precedes plural nouns.
Agosto
Augustine
Aux

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Toe Everyone at some point in their life has played a game of tic-tac-toe, but not everyone knows the French word for "toe." Do you?
Un cil
Un sourcil
Un orteil
Tic-tac-eyelash, or "un cil," just doesn't have the same ring to it, and neither does tic-tac-eyebrow, or "un sourcil." "Un pied" is close to the toe but not quite right — it's a foot.
Un pied

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Relaxed Sometimes, you just need to kick your feet up and have a day where you don't do anything at all. Which word means "lazy"?
Chanceux
Jaloux
Neutre
Paresseux
If you have time for a lazy day, some would say you're lucky, or "chanceux" (if you're a girl, you'd be "chanceuse.") Some would undoubtedly be "jaloux" (jealous) and others would simply be netural, or "neutre."

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Trip Everyone has tripped at some point in their life. Which word is an antonym of "coordinated"?
Bavard
Maladroit
When English speakers describe something awkward or clumsy, they often use the term "gauche," which means "left" in French, and this answer essentially indicates the same thing: "mal" is "bad" and "droit" is "right," signifying "not right" ... or left!
Bruyant
Juste

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