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Que veut dire – “How do you say” in French

Que veut dire – “How do you say” in French

In today’s lesson, we’ll learn how to ask: “What does _ mean?” in French. The phrase used is Que veut dire. For example, Que veut dire «pomme»? (What does pomme mean?). While this might look slighly daunting and complicated at first, it is not. Let’s jump right into the lesson!

Que veut dire ?

What does _ mean?

Que veut dire (What does _ mean) - French Word of the Day Lesson

Que veut dire – “How do you say” in French

Here’s an example using que veut dire.

Que veut dire ce mot ? Je ne comprends pas.

What does this word mean? I don’t understand.

Breakdown of que veut dire

Let’s have a quick look at how the phrase que veut dire is constructred. The literal translation of que veut dire is “what wants to say”.

Que means what in French. Veut is the third-person singular form of the verb vouloir (to want). Dire means “to say” in French. Hence, when you ask que veut dire, you’re asking “what does _ want to say?”.

More example sentences

Que veut dire le mot «pomme» ?

What does “pomme” mean?

Ça veut dire quoi + word” is a much less formal way of using the phrase que veut dire. This example sentence using ainsi (like this), which we covered in another post.

Ça veut dire quoi, «ainsi que» ?

What does ainsi que mean?

In addition to que veut dire, you can also use the verb signifier to ask what something means.

Que signifie cette phrase ? Pouvez-vous la traduire?

What does this sentence mean? Can you translate it?

Example of how to use "que veut dire" in French

The phrase que veut dire can be used in other contexts besides asking what words mean. Here’s an example.

Le petit garçon a enfin appris ce que veut dire être honnête.

The little boy finally learned waht being honest means.


Congratulations! You now know how to use que veut dire in French! Now check out lesson which covers je veux (I want) in depth!

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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