French Slang: From Streets to Social Media

Ellison Clapton10 min
Created: Jun 24, 2024Last updated: Jul 2, 2024
French Slang

French is admired by people worldwide. Like other tongues, it has another side that adds color and charisma to its use – slang. From talks on the streets to posts on social media, French slang is everywhere in daily life. It plays a big role in how people connect and express themselves more casually. This article will show you some popular French slang words. We will explain how they fit into everyday talk and look at their impact on communication.

Everyday Expressions: Essential Slang in French

French people use slang to make chats more relaxed and personal. These simple expressions help them get along well with others – both friends and strangers on the street. They let you understand not just the words but also the feelings behind them. If you learn French and want to comprehend the local lingo better, grasp the following French slang words with meanings:

  • Mec [mɛk] – guy/dude. A colloquial way to refer to a man or a young guy, similar to ‘dude’ in English.

Regarde ce mec, il sait vraiment danser! [ʁəɡaʁd sə mɛk, il sɛ vʁɛmɑ̃ dɑ̃se] – Look at that dude, he can really dance!

  • Balle [bal] – money. Refers to money, commonly used when discussing finances informally.

J’ai pas une balle, tu peux payer le café? [ʒɛ pa yn bal, ty pø peje lə kafe] – I’m broke, can you pay for the coffee?

  • Kiffer [kife] – to really like. Indicates a strong liking, typically used in informal speech among friends.

Je kiffe trop ce jeu, on y joue encore une heure? [ʒə kif tʁo sə ʒø, ɔ̃n‿i ʒu ɑ̃kɔʁ yn œʁ] – I really like this game, shall we play for another hour?

  • Se taper [sə tape] – to eat/have a meal. Suggests grabbing a bite in a casual, informal manner.

On se tape un burger ce midi? [ɔ̃ sə tap œ̃ bœʁʒe sə midi] – Shall we grab a burger for lunch?

  • Teuf [tœf] – party. Commonly used to refer to a party in French slang, usually informal.

La teuf d’hier soir était incroyable, tu aurais dû venir! [la tœf djɛʁ swaʁ etɛ ɛ̃kʁwajabl, ty oʁɛ dy vəniʁ] – Last night’s party was incredible, you should have come!

  • Galère [ɡalɛʁ] – struggle/hassle. Used to describe a difficult situation or a lot of trouble.

C’était une vraie galère de trouver un taxi hier. [setɛ yn vʁɛ ɡalɛʁ də tʁuve œ̃ taksi jɛʁ] – It was a real hassle to find a taxi yesterday.

  • Baraque [baʁak] – house/home. Often used to refer to someone’s house or home in a casual context.

On se retrouve chez toi ou à la baraque de Paul? [ɔ̃ sə ʁətʁuv ʃe twa u a la baʁak də pol] – Are we meeting at your place or at Paul’s house?

  • Bouffer [bufe] – to eat. An informal way to say “to eat,” similar to “chow down” or “grub.”

J’ai trop faim, on peut bouffer quelque chose? [ʒe tʁo fɛ̃, ɔ̃ pø bufe kɛlk ʃoz] – I’m so hungry, can we eat something?

Verlan: The Art of Reversing Syllables

French speakers love to play with their language; one way they do this is by reversing syllables in words. This type of wordplay is called verlan. It mixes up words, making them sound new and different. Many young people use such French slang phrases to feel close to each other and share a common identity. Often, these mixed-up words become so popular that older people use them too. Some French words to know include:

  • Laisse [lɛs] – chill/relax. Verlan of lâche [lɑʃ], meaning to let go or relax. It’s used to tell someone to calm down or take it easy.

Laisse, ne te prends pas la tête avec ça. [lɛs, nə tə pʁɑ̃ pa la tɛt avɛk sa] – Chill, don’t worry about it.

  • Meuf [mœf] – woman/girl. Inverted from femme [fam], this term refers to a woman or girlfriend in casual conversation.

Sa meuf vient d’arriver, tu veux la rencontrer? [sa mœf vjɛ̃ daʁive, ty vø la ʁɑ̃kɔ̃tʁe] – His girlfriend just arrived, do you want to meet her?

  • Beur [bœʁ] – Arab. A reversal of Arabe [a.ʁab], used colloquially to refer to a person of North African descent.

Mon pote beur connaît tous les bons spots en ville. [mɔ̃ pot bœʁ kɔnɛ tu lɛ bɔ̃ spɔt ɑ̃ vil] – My Arab friend knows all the good spots in town.

  • Reuf [ʁœf] – brother. Derived by reversing the syllables in frère [frɛʁ], it refers to a brother or a close male friend.

Mon reuf et moi, on va au concert ce soir. [mɔ̃ ʁœf e mwa, ɔ̃ va o kɔ̃sɛʁ sə swaʁ] – My brother and I are going to the concert tonight.

  • Téci [tesi] – city. It derives from the inversion of cité [site], which means a city or urban area.

Il a grandi dans une téci tranquille en banlieue. [il a ɡʁɑ̃di dɑ̃z‿yn tesi tʁɑ̃kil ɑ̃ banljø] – He grew up in a quiet housing project in the suburbs.

  • Keum [kœm] – man/guy. This term switches the syllables of mec [mɛk], meaning a guy or man.

Regarde le keum là-bas, il a l’air cool. [ʁəɡaʁd lə kœm la ba, il a lɛʁ kul] – Look at that guy over there; he seems cool.


Modern French Slang Among Teenagers and Young Adults

Teenagers use a lot of slang to express themselves. These words change quickly and come from music, pop culture, and other languages. By using them, teens create their own style and identity to feel part of a group. Below are some French slang words used among youths:

  • Ghoster [ɡoste] – to ghost someone. It describes a situation when someone suddenly cuts off all contact without any explanation, often in relationships.

Après deux semaines, il a commencé à me ghoster sans raison. [apʁɛ dø s(ə)mɛn, il a kɔmɑ̃se a mə ɡoste sɑ̃ ʁɛzɔ̃] – After two weeks, he started ghosting me for no reason.

  • C’est ouf [sɛ uf] – that’s crazy. Used to express surprise or amazement.

C’est ouf comme elle peut courir vite! [sɛ uf kɔm ɛl pø kuʁiʁ vit] – It’s crazy how fast she can run!

  • S’embrouiller [sɑ̃bʁuje] – to get into an argument. Used when people get into a heated or confusing argument.

Ils s’embrouillent toujours pour des petites choses. [il sɑ̃bʁuj tuʒuʁ puʁ de pətit ʃoz] – They always argue over small things.

  • Swag [swaɡ] – cool/stylish. This word for cool in French slang is borrowed from English and describes someone or something that is cool or has a stylish, confident appearance.

Regarde son nouveau blouson, il a vraiment du swag! [ʁəɡaʁd sɔ̃ nuvo bluzɔ̃, il a vʁɛmɑ̃ dy swaɡ] – Look at his new jacket, it’s really cool!

  • Binge-watcher [binʒwatʃe] – to binge-watch. Describes watching several episodes of a series in one sitting.

Ce weekend, on va binge-watcher la nouvelle saison ensemble. [sə wikɑ̃d, ɔ̃ va binʒwatʃe la nuvɛl sɛzɔ̃ ɑ̃sɑ̃bl] – This weekend, we’re going to binge-watch the new season together.

  • Chiller [ʃile] – to chill out. Means to relax or hang out in a laid-back manner.

Viens chez moi, on va chiller un peu. [vjɛ̃ ʃe mwa, ɔ̃ va ʃile œ̃ pø] – Come over to my place, we’ll chill out for a bit.

  • Dar [daʁ] – awesome/excellent. Describes something that is awesome or excellent, particularly when impressed by someone’s abilities or qualities.

Son idée était vraiment dar, tout le monde a adoré. [sɔ̃n ide etɛ vʁɛmɑ̃ daʁ, tut lə mɔ̃d a adɔʁe] – His idea was really awesome, everyone loved it.

  • Zapper [zape] – to skip/ignore. Used to indicate skipping something or ignoring someone, often casually.

J’ai zappé le début du film, j’étais en retard. [ʒe zape lə deby dy film, ʒetɛ ɑ̃ ʁətaʁ] – I missed the start of the movie because I was late.

  • Tarpin [taʁpɛ̃] – very/much. A popular term in the Marseille area that means very or much and is used to intensify adjectives or adverbs.

Il fait tarpin chaud aujourd’hui, non? [il fɛ taʁpɛ̃ ʃo odʒuʁdɥi, nɔ̃] – It’s very hot today, isn’t it?

Digital Age Dialogue: Common French Slang for Internet Use

The internet has changed how people in France talk to each other. Online messages often mix slang with standard language, which creates a new way of speaking. This style makes talks fast and friendly. Let’s look at some common French slang terms you will likely find online.

  • Tkt [te ka te] – don’t worry. Short for t’inquiète [tɛ̃.kjɛt], this abbreviation is widely used in texting and online communication to reassure someone quickly.

Tkt, je m’occupe de tout pour la soirée. [te ka te, ʒə mokyp də tu puʁ la swaʁe] – Don’t worry, I’m taking care of everything for the party.

  • Rezo [ʁezo] – network. A colloquial way to refer to either social networks or broader internet connectivity.

Mon rezo est vraiment lent aujourd’hui, je peux à peine charger les pages. [mɔ̃ ʁezo ɛ vʁɛmɑ̃ lɑ̃ odʒuʁdɥi, ʒə pø a pɛn ʃaʒe le paʒ] – My network is really slow today, I can barely load the pages.

  • Spoiler [spwale] – spoiler. Adopted directly from English, used to describe giving away movie or series plot details.

Ne me fais pas de spoiler, je n’ai pas encore vu le dernier épisode! [nə mə fɛ pa də spwale, ʒə nɛ pa ɑ̃kɔʁ vy lə dɛʁnje epizɔd] – Don’t give me any spoilers, I haven’t seen the last episode yet!

  • Geek [ʒik] – geek. Refers to someone who is deeply interested in technology and digital media.

Il est un peu geek, toujours à la recherche des dernières gadgets. [il ɛ œ̃ pø ʒik, tuʒuʁ a la ʁəʃɛʁʃ de dɛʁnjɛʁ ɡadʒɛt] – He’s a bit of a geek, always looking for the latest gadgets.

  • Navigo [naviɡo] – browse/internet surfing. Derived from naviguer [naviɡe], which means to navigate or surf.

Je vais navigo sur le net pour trouver des infos sur ce sujet. [ʒə ve naviɡo syʁ lə nɛ puʁ tʁuve dez‿ɛ̃fo syʁ sə sʒɛ] – I’m going to browse the net to find information on this topic.

  • Écraser [ekʁaze] – to crash (computer/app). Describes a computer program or application failing abruptly.

Mon ordi a écrasé trois fois aujourd’hui; c’est vraiment agaçant! [mɔ̃ ɔʁdi a ekʁaze tʁwa fwa odʒuʁdɥi; sɛ vʁɛmɑ̃ aɡasɑ̃] – My computer has crashed three times today; it’s really annoying!

  • Débrancher [debrɑ̃ʃe] – to disconnect/unplug. This slang in French is often used metaphorically and means disconnecting from digital devices or social media.

Il est temps de débrancher un peu et de profiter du weekend. [il ɛ tɑ̃ də debrɑ̃ʃe œ̃ pø e də pʁɔfite dy wikɑ̃d] – It’s time to disconnect a bit and enjoy the weekend.

  • Pirater [piʁate] – to hack. Describe unauthorized intrusion into a network or computer system.

Ils ont réussi à pirater mon compte email; je dois changer tous mes mots de passe. [ilz‿ɔ̃ ʁeysi a piʁate mɔ̃ kɔ̃t imɛl; ʒə dwa ʃɑ̃ʒe tu me mo də pas] – They managed to hack my email account; I need to change all my passwords.

Learn French Slang with Promova

French slang adds depth to your language knowledge and makes you sound more natural when you talking with locals. Mastering these phrases will help you feel more confident and connected in chats. Promova provides a range of tools to make learning French slangs simple and fun:

  • Short lessons. Focused lessons that fit easily into your busy schedule.
  • Common phrases. Learn slang used by native speakers in real-life scenarios.
  • Interactive quizzes. Test your understanding and reinforce what you’ve learned.
  • Blog articles. Discover phrases to introduce yourself, master basic slang for French learners, or grasp essential grammar rules.

With Promova, you can immerse yourself in the language and culture without feeling overwhelmed. Download our French learning app from Google Play or App Store and reach your language goals.


France slang spices up everyday speech. It mirrors culture, creativity, and shared experiences. From street talk to online chats, these expressions bring people closer and make interactions more lively. Knowing them lets you connect better with French speakers and enjoy the language more deeply. So next time you hear some slang in French, you’ll know what it means and how it fits into their way of life.


How often do new slang terms appear?

New slang terms pop up frequently because of changes in culture, trends, and tech. Social media and pop culture play big roles in this. Staying updated with pop culture helps in learning the newest expressions.

Are there any rules for using French slang?

While no strict rules govern slang, context matters. Using it too much in formal settings may appear unprofessional. It’s best suited for casual talks with friends or family members who understand these terms.

What are some tips for practicing French slang?

Listen to French music and watch popular TV shows or movies. These activities help you hear words in real situations and understand the French slang meaning.

What resources help you learn French?

Larousse and Reverso are great online dictionaries that provide definitions and usage contexts. Promova offers guided courses, word lists, grammar exercises, and other tools for learning the language. You can also master English and other global tongues with Promova.