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French slang words every beginner should know

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Learning a new language is an exciting journey, and part of becoming fluent is getting a handle on the slang that native speakers use. When it comes to French, there are plenty of informal expressions and phrases that can make you sound like a local. Here are some French slang words every beginner should know, complete with definitions and examples.

“Bouffer” is a slang term for eating — much less formal than the standard “manger.” It’s often used in casual conversations among friends.
J’ai tellement faim, on pourrait bouffer une pizza.

This word is the verlan (French slang that inverts syllables) of the word “fou,” which means “crazy.” It’s often used to express that something is wild or unbelievable.
Ce concert était ouf!

If you’re talking about money in a casual way, “fric” is the word you might use. It’s akin to saying “dough” in English.
Je ne peux pas sortir ce weekend, je n’ai plus de fric.

To really like something or someone, you would use the word “kiffer.” This verb is a must-know for expressing your passions.
Je kiffe cette chanson!

Instead of saying “travailler” for work, you might hear “bosser.” It’s informal and often used when speaking about your job in a casual situation.
Je ne peux pas, je dois bosser demain matin.

This one is another example of verlan; it’s “merci,” which means thank you, flipped around. It’s a playful way to express gratitude.
Cimer pour le coup de main hier soir!

When referring to a house in a less formal manner, you might hear “baraque” instead of “maison.” This term can also suggest a big and impressive house.
Tu viens à ma baraque ce week-end?

“Relou” is the verlan of the word “lourd,” which can mean heavy but also annoying. So “relou” is a great term for someone or something that is hassle or hard to deal with.
Arrête, tu commences à être relou avec toutes tes questions.

Derived again using verlan, it’s the inversion of “louche,” which means shady or sketchy. Use it to describe a situation or a person that seems suspicious.
Le mec là-bas a l’air un peu chelou, non?

Learning these slang terms will not only enhance your vocabulary but also help you understand day-to-day French as spoken by natives. Remember that slang can be very context-specific, so it’s always good to listen to how it’s used in real life or in French media. It’s an entertaining way to get closer to achieving fluency and sounding more like a local when you speak.

French slang is continuously evolving, and the best way to keep up with it is to engage with native speakers and consume French media. So, listen to French music, watch French movies, and practice these slang words with friends or language exchange partners. Before you know it, you’ll be bantering with the best of them in the language of Molière, with a modern twist!

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