French Slang: Common Expressions and Verlan Explained

French slang, or “argot” as it’s known in French, is an essential part of the language. It adds color, humor, and personality to conversations. If you’re learning the language, knowing some common french colloquial expressions will help you sound more like a native speaker.

Colloquial French doesn’t only have slang words and phrases, it also has a slang system known as verlan. This is a whole different way to form words and expressions that many learners have never encountered, and will probably not understand when hearing a native speaker using them.

In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the most common French slang expressions, provide example sentences, and explain the concept of “verlan.”

What is French Slang?

French slang refers to informal words, expressions, and phrases used in everyday conversations. These colloquial French terms are not typically found in formal language, but they are an essential part of everyday speech in France. French slang can be challenging to learn. In fact, in my experience, French is one of the languages with the largest gap between how it is spoken and how it is written. This means understanding French lingo will help you communicate more effectively with locals and sound more like a native speaker.

French Slang Words and Phrases

To express struggle, difficulty


    • “C’est la galère” – This expression is used to describe a difficult situation or a problem.

Je suis en retard, mon train est annulé, c'est la galère.
I'm late, my train is cancelled, it's a hassle.


    • C’est la cata: it’s awful, it’s a disaster

    • Ça craint: it sucks

    • Se gourer: to get something wrong, to make a mistake

    • Ça me gonfle: that pisses me off

    • C’est nul: that sucks

    • bof: meh

    • c’est dégueu: it’s disgusting

    • être à chier: to be boring

    • avoir la flemme: to be to lazy to do something

To express something is positive:


    • ça gère: it’s great

    • chouette: awesome

    • génial: great

    • être au taquet: to be on fire

    • les doigts dans le nez: easy peasy

To talk about people:


    • pote: friend

    • poteau/poto: friend

    • frangin(e): brother/sister

    • vieux: parents

    • gamin(e): child

    • flic: police officer

To talk about the weather:


    • se peler: it’s freezing

On se les pèle dans ce pays!
We’re freezing in this country!


    • ça chauffe: it’s hot, it’s getting hotter

Punaise ça chauffe! On n’est qu’en mai!
Damn, it’s getting hot! It’s only May,

To talk about dating, relationships, love:


    • draguer: to flirt

    • meuf: girl

    • mec: boy

    • gars: boy

    • choper: to pull, to get with someone

    • flasher sur quelqu’un: to have a crush on someone

    • poser un lapin: to stand someone up

    • BG, beau gosse: handsome guy

To talk about partying, drinking, etc:


    • une clope: a cigarette

    • une teuf: a party

    • bourré: drunk

    • kiffer: to like

    • dégueuler, gerber: to vomit

    • boire un coup: to have a drink

    • être défonsé: to be high

    • la boîte (de nuit): club

    • boire cul sec: to chug

    • avoir la gueule de bois: to be hungover

To talk about work:


    • taf, boulot: work

    • la thune: money

    • le blé: money

    • la boîte: company

    • crevé: tired, exhausted

    • blindé: very rich

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French Slang Dictionary

If you’re interested in learning more French slang words and phrases, there are many resources available online. One of the most comprehensive French slang dictionaries is Dictionnaire Argot-Français. This dictionary includes over 10,000 French slang words and expressions.

Other books to help you learn French (for beginners, intermerdiates and advanced learners)

What is French Verlan? + French Verlan Examples

Another form of French slang is “verlan,” which is a type of language where the syllables of words are reversed. For example, “femme” (woman) becomes “meuf” in verlan. Verlan is often used by young people and in hip-hop music. It became extremely popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but some verlan expressions are now considered old school so make sure to use the right ones.

How to Use Verlan

To use verlan, you need to reverse the syllables of the word. Here are some examples:


    • “Femme” becomes “meuf

    • “Fou” (crazy) becomes “ouf”

    • “Flic” (cop) becomes “keuf”
    • “Mytho” (lie, from mythomane) becomes “tomi”

Example Sentences in Verlan

Here are some example sentences in verlan:

T'as vu la meuf là-bas?
Have you seen the woman over there?

C'est ouf ce que tu me racontes.
What you're telling me is crazy.

Les keufs nous ont arrêtés hier soir.
The cops stopped us last night.
Mais arrête de tomi, je t'ai vu!
Stop lying, I saw you!

Learning French Slang in 2023

French slang is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay up to date with the latest expressions and phrases. One of the best ways to learn French slang is to immerse yourself in the language by watching French movies, TV shows, and listening to French music. You can also practice speaking with native French speakers or taking a French slang class.

5 Extra Tips to Sound Like a French Native

Common French Slang Expressions

Here are some additional common French slang expressions:

    • “Salut” – This is a casual way of saying “hello.”

    • “Comment ça va?” – This is a common way of saying “how are you?”

    • “Ça va?” – This is a more informal way of asking “how are you?”

    • “Pas de panique” – This expression means “don’t worry.”

    • “Amuse-toi bien” – This expression means “have fun.”

    • “Comment ça va mec?” – This expression means “how are you man?”

    • “Ça roule ma poule?” – This expression means “what’s up chick?” (this is used only as a joke now, mostly to make fun of an older expression)

    • “Cool” – This expression means “cool.”

    • “Salut les potes” – This expression means “hi friends.”


French slang is an essential part of the language, and knowing some common expressions will help you sound more like a native speaker. Additionally, understanding verlan can help you communicate more effectively with young people and in informal situations. So, the next time you’re in France, try incorporating some of these slang expressions into your conversations!

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