Learn these 6 French expressions and noone will ever doubt that you’re not French!

Before coming to France, you have probably taken French classes, but teachers usually don’t teach French slang, so when you are in a middle of a French conversation, there might be some words that are going to escape you.

Don’t worry, here are 6 words or expressions that you can use to sound like a real Frenchie or to understand French Students!

#1- Ouf

“Ouf” is based on a common phenomenon in French language called “le verlan”. To do that, people are using words backwards, by interchanging syllables. In that case, we have the word “ouf”, which is the backwards version of “fou” that means crazy. Usually, people use it in these sentences:

– “c’est ouf”: it means either that something is awesome, or that you can’t believe what you heard, that something is particularly shocking (in a good or bad way), or sometimes both. For example, if I say “I met Madonna yesterday”, you can answer “C’est ouf!”
– “t’es ouf” “c’est un ouf”: the first one means that someone is crazy, generally that what he is saying is crazy and unbelievable, but it is usually used in an exaggerated way, like in English when you say to someone “Are you crazy?”.

#2- Meuf

“Meuf” has known the same phenomenon as “ouf”, this is “femme” in verlan. This one is usually used to talk about a girlfriend, but it can also be used to shoot across to someone. You can either say “c’est ma meuf”, meaning this is my girlfriend or something like “meuf, tu vas pas me croire…”, and “meuf” here is used almost like a nickname, to refer to the person you are talking to (if she is a girl of course).

#3- Se la péter

“Se la péter” is a familiar way to say someone is being pretentious, is showing off. This expression comes from Quebec, where the full set phrase was “se péter les bretelles”, because the traditional outfit of men at the time was pants holding on with suspenders (bretelles in French), and if they were particularly proud of themselves, they would stretch them and make them crack on their chest.

#4- Chelou

“Chelou” is once again a creation of verlan. The original world is “louche”, which means that something is suspicious, shady. “C’est chelou” is used when you are not really understanding what is going on, or when someone’s actions or reactions don’t make sense to you. It can also be used to describe a person, when you say “il est chelou”, it means that the person you are talking about is quite weird.

#5- Relou

Same phenomenon as before. “Relou” is the backwards version of “lourd”, which means heavy. But not in terms of kilogrammes, it is used to describe something or someone that is particularly annoying. If someone (a man usually, sorry guys) won’t stop talking to you in a bar, trying to seduce you in a totally non-subtle way, you can say that “il est relou”. It is also used to talk about a situation like when your train have been cancelled, and you are totally late for work, you can say “c’est relou”.

 

#6- Véner

vener

“Elle est véner de ouf!”

Another verlan’s creation. “Véner” is “énervé”, which means pissed off. Not to be confused with “vénère” which has the same pronunciation when conjugated but means to honour, to cherish. “Véner” can be used as an adjective, “je suis véner” or as a verb “il m’a véner” (yes, grammar doesn’t really matter in verlan).

Here you go, you are now ready to sound like a real Frenchie and hopefully, you will be able to carry on a conversation while being extremely cool and fashionable! 

 

 

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