French slang words

10 French Slang Words To Sound Like A Local

French slang words can be tricky to get the hang of. In fact, it can sound like a different language. Arriving to France without a grasp of the lingo can be confusing, especially if you’ve only ever studied it in school.

While different cities and regions have different slang, there’s a general French slang that’s spoken all across the country. This is the lingo that’s not taught in your language class. Verlan, which is actually the French word à l’envers backwards or “reversed”, is spoken by younger people, inverting words and syllables to make new slang. Argot is regular slang.

Here’s a list of 10 commonly used slang words in France. You’ll be speaking like a local in no time.

10 Common French Slang Words


French slang words

2. Oklm = Au Calme

If you follow any French people on Instagram, you’ve surely seen #oklm. The phonetic acronym of the phrase au calme was made popular by French rapper Booba in his 2014 single. Basically, it means ‘chill’.

3. Avoir Le Seum = Really Annoyed

This is proper Parisian slang, and basically translates to ‘really pissed off’.

French slang words


A classic example of verlan! Think:    

French slang words

5. Une Clope = A Cigarette

Hey, it’s France, so chances of someone asking for a smoke is high.

French slang words

6. Meuf/Reuf/Keuf = Mother/Brother/Police

‘Meuf’ and ‘reuf’ are verlan inverses of femme and frre, and ‘keuf’ is the inverse of the slang word for police – flic. It’s slang inception.

Listen to rapper Rohff:   

7. Frais/fraîche = Cool

This is just how English speakers use the word ‘fresh’. Eg. that new jacket is looking fresh!


This is the shortened slang version of s

9. Bosser = To Work

Bosser is a casual version of the verb ‘to work’, travailler. 

10. C’est Nul = That Sucks

You can also say c’est nul à chier (it really sucks).

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

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