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French Slang: 60 Essential “Argot” Words For Beginners

French Slang: 60 Essential “Argot” Words For Beginners

French slang words include un mec (guy), une meuf (lady), le fric and la thune (money) and le flic (cop). The French word for slang is “l’argot”. These are all indispensable words need for survival in France. Keep reading to learn more argot français and truly sound like a native!

Knowing French slang has lots of advantages including: 1) Discovering the richness of the language and not just being stuck using boring textbook French; 2) Dramatically improving listening comprehension being able to understand French TV shows and movies; 3) Being able to impress native speakers when you can throw out a few slang words in conversations.

French slang for daily survival in France

On this page we’ve broken down French slang into multiple several categories including people (les gens), family (la famille), money (l’argent), food (la nourriture), the body (le corps), social status (le statut social), professions (les metiers) and verbs.

Let’s now take a close look at some of of our favorite words!

People (les gens)

The French love using slang words for family. Make sure you master all of these terms as you’ll here them all the time in everyday conversation. These are all totally acceptable in social settings besides the last term in this category.

Un mec

Meaning: a guy

Un mec, which translates to “a guy” is one of the most useful French slang words. It’s used in all sorts of situations. Je n’aime pas ce mec. I don’t like this guy.

Un type

Meaning: a guy

Another word for guy. C’est qui ce type? Who is this guy?

Un gars

Meaning: a guy

A third slang word for guy. Pourquoi tu as embauché ce gars? Why did you hire this guy?

Une meuf

Menaing: a woman, chick

This slang word is from from ‘femme’ comes from Verlan, a Parisian street slang where words are pronounced backwards.

Une nana, une gonzesse

Meaning: chick

Two slang words for young woman or girl. C’est qui cette gonzesse? Elle est canon! Who’s that chick? She’s hot!

Mon pote, ma potte

Meaning: my pal

These words translate to my buddy. Je vous présente mon pote, Martin. This is my buddy, Martin.

Mon keum

Meaning: my boyfriend

This is another Verlan word based on the word mec. Mon keum est tellement mignon! My boy friend is so cute!

Un gamin, une gamine, un/une gosse

Meaning: child, kid

You can use all these words for kids. Regarde-moi ce sale gosse! Look at that brat!

Un boudin

Meaning: overweight person

Horribly impolite term mostly used to describe females. Ce qui ce boudin? Who’s this fat chick?

Family (La Famille)

The French also use lots of slang terms to refer to family members. The following terms are very informal and not 100% socially acceptable.

Ma reum

Meaning: my mom

This term is based on Verlan and is mère pronounced backwards. Ma reum m’a téléphoné hier. My mom called me yesterday.

Mon reup

Meaning: my dad

Same as the previous term. Mon reup is Verlan for mon père.

Mon frangin, ma frangine

Meaning: My brother, my sister

Very common French slang and can be used in all sorts of settings. Je connais bien mon frangin. C’est un mec très intelligent. I know my brother very well. He’s a very smart guy.

Une belle-doche, une belle-muche

Meaning: mother-in-law

Elle me rend fou ma belle-douche! My mother-in-law drives me nuts!

Un fiston

Meaning: son

This word is based on un fils, a son. Il est beau mon fiston, non? My son is handsome, isn’t he?

Un tonton, une tatie

Meaning: uncle and aunt

These terms are used very often and are terms of endearment. Tanton Philippe arrive demain! Uncle Philippe is coming tomorrow!

Money & Money Matters (L’argent)

All languages have lots of slang words for money and French is no exception. Here goes with the list:

le fric
Meaning: money

Il est bourré de fric, ce mec! That guy’s loaded/filthy rich!

Le pognon
Meaning: money

J’ai pas assez de pognon pour acheter cette chemise. I don’t have enough money to buy this shirt.

L’oseille (f)
Meaning: money

Tu peux me preter un peu d’oseille? Can you lend me some money?

La thune
Meaning: money

T’as de la thune sur toi? Do you have any money on you?

Une balle
Meaning: buck, quid

Use this term the way you’d use bucks in English. Ça coute trente balles. It costs thirty bucks.

Meaning: expensive

This is a Verlan term based on cher (expensive). Elle est reuch, cette bagnole. This car is expensive.

Une brique
Meaning: 10,000 francs

Somewhat outdated but worth knowing. La maison a coute dix briques. The house cost 100,000 francs.

Être fauché, raide, à sec
Meaning: to be broke

You can use all three of these terms to express being broke. Je ne peux pas y aller ce week-end. Je suis fauché. I can’t go this weekend. I’m broke.

Un radin, une radine, un/une pingre
Meaning: cheapskate, skinflint

M. Dupont est un radin et il n’achète rien pour sa famille. Mr. Dupont is a cheapskate and doesn’t buy anything for his family.

Food (La Nourriture)

It will be very likely that you’ll meet people and enjoy meals the French on your trip. Here are some fun and useful slang words for food.

Bon ap’ short for bon appétit – Use this at the table and you’ll get lots of smiles!

J’ai la dalle = J’ai tres faim – Slang term for I’m very hungry. Not very polite.

Une casse-dalle
Meaning: snack

The more formal term for snack is a une casse-croûte.

Le petit déj = le petit déjeuner
Meaning: breakfast

The French love to shorten words. Tu prends le petit déj avec moi? Want to have breakfast with me?

dégueu = dégueulasse
Meaning: disgusting

This is the shortening of the word for disgusting. Elles sont dégueu ces pâtes! This pasta is disgusting!

Miam miam! / beurk!

Yummy and yuck! These are kids’ words.

The Body (Le Corps)

French has lots of amusing slang words for the human body. All of the following words are very informal.

Le pif
Meaning: nose

This word equates to schnozz in Enlgish. Il a un gros pif, ce mec! That guy has a big schnozz!

Le bide, le bidon
Meaning: gut, big stomach

Il a gros bidon, ce mec! That guy has a big gut!

La tronche, la gueule
Meaning: face

You can use both of these word to describe somebody’s face. These words are considered vulgar. Il a une salle gueule, ce gars! That guy has an ugly face!

Les tifs
Meaning: hair

Je vais me faire couper les tifs. I’m going to get a haircut.

Les mirettes
Meaning: eyes

Ouvre tes mirettes et regarde ça! Open your eyes and look at that!

Social Status (Le Statut Social)

French has lots of fun slang words for describing various social standings.

Un richard
Meaning: rich jerk

Je n’aime pas ce richard! I don’t like that rich bastard!

Un aristo
Meaning: aristocrat

Seulement les aristos frequentent ce restaruant. Only aristocrats go to that restaurant.

BCBG = bon chic bon genre
Meaning: preppy, posh

Elle sort avec un mec BCBG depuis quelques mois. She’s been going out with a posh guy for a few months.

Un bourge
Meaning: rich person

Comes from the word bourgeois. Elle vient d’une famille bougeoiose. She’s from a middle-class family

Un prolo
Meaning: working class person

This term comes from the word prolétariat. Les prolos habitent dans ce quartier. Middle-class people live in this neighborhood.

Un smicard
Meaning: minimum wage earner

The acronym SMIC means minimum wage in French.

Un rmiste
Meaning: a person on welfare

Le RMI is the acronym for welfare in French.

Un clodo
Meaning: homeless person

This slang word is based on the word clochard, which means homeless person, bum or vagrant.

Professions (Les métiers)

French has lots of slang words for various professions. Let’s take a look.

Un flic
Meaning: cop

Rather than saying “la police”, use this fun slang term.Appelle les flics! Call the cops!

Un keuf
Meaning: cop

This is another slang word for policeman. Keuf is the Verlan word for flic.

Un gratte-papier
Meaning: paper pusher

This is a slang word for somebody who has a menial office position. Ce n’est qu’un gratte-papier! He’s just a paper pusher!

Un mécano
Meaning: mechanic

The word mécano comes from un mécanicien, or a mechanic. Le mécano répare la bagnole. The mechanic is fixing the car.

Un proprio
Meaning: landlord

This word is a shortened version of propriétaire. Mon proprio frappe à la porte! My landlord is knocking on the door!

Un politicard
Meaning: politician

This is a very pejorative word. Les politicards de ce pays sont tous corrompu. All this country’s politicians are corrupt.

Slang Verbs

The French love to use lots of slang verbs. Here we’ll take a quick look at some common verbs you will hear in everyday conversation.

Meaning: to work

Je bosse depuis 8h00 et je suis très fatigué! I’ve been working since 8am and I’m very tired.

Meaning: to eat

Tu bouffes trop vite! You’re eating too fast!

Meaning: to miss

This very is synonymous with rater. Nous sommes arrivés à la gare trop tard et nous avons loupe le train. We arrived at the train station too late and we missed the train.

Meaning: to catch

This very is synonymous with attraper. Je ne sais pas ou j’ai choppé ce rhume. I don’t know where I caught this cold.

Meaning: to steal.

This very is synonymous with to steal. On m’a piqué le portable! My cell phone got stolen!

Meaning: to look at

This very is synonymous with regarder. Pourquoi est-ce que tu mates les filles comme ca? Why are you staring at the girls like that?

Meaning: to throw out

Meaning: This verb equates to jeter. Je balance la laitue apres une semaine dans le frigo. I throw the lettuce out after one week in the fridge.

Meaning: to lose

Meaning: This verb equates to perdre. Zut! J’ai pommé mes clés. Shoot! I lost my keys!

Meaning: to lend

This very equates to prêter. File-moi ton portable, s’il te plaît. Lend me your cell phone, please.

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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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