Life in Paris

The French You Don’t Learn at School – Part Four

As most of you know, I’ve been living in France for a while so I’ve had a lot of time to try and perfect my French. The one thing that’s difficult however, is that no matter how many words I learn there are still new words that I don’t know. These words aren’t necessarily in the French dictionary but they are, by far, the Parisians favourite phrases!

So welcome to the world of slang – part four:

One: Glauque 

This funny sounding word means that something is a bit dark and sordid. I would translate it best as dodgy or sketchy in British English. Une ambiance glauque (a dodgy or sketchy vibe) in a bar for example!

Two: ma bagnole

Your bagnole is your car or your ride!

Three: Paumé

Il est complètement paumé! – He is totally lost! People use this verb to explain that someone is totally lost in their life or in what they’re doing.

Four: Fric

Claquer du fric – to spend money here, there and everywhere! Fric is a great and very common way people say money.

Five: môme

Another way to say kid in French, along with gamin/gamine and gosse.

Six: une blinde

ça coûte une blinde – is a common way of saying something costs an arm and a leg (a lot of money)!

Seven: juste pour le kiffe

When you do something juste pour le kiffe – you do something just for fun/just for the hell of it!

Eight: ma baraque

Baraque actually means shanty or small house made of wood but recently French people adopted it as slang to mean my house/home.

Nine: bref

This amazing French word is used all the time by Parisians. Bref means anyway and the French use it to either change the topic of the conversation or put an end to what they were speaking about. You hear this constantly in Paris.

Ten: genre

Probably one of the most important slang words out there, the French use this to say like a colloquial way. For example “genre elle n’a pas le temps” (like/as if she doesn’t have the time)! It can also be used to say “yeah right!” For example “Tu sais quoi, je rencontre Bill Gates ce soir.” -“Genre !” 

All these phrases are popular in France but don’t forget they are also very familiar and shouldn’t be used in certain situations or with certain people. Use these with friends and generally young people and you’ll sound like a true Parisian!

Click on the following links to read The French You Don’t Learn at School part one, part two and part three.


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