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Added by August 24, 2014



You may already have noticed, especially if you’ve spent some time in France, that some French words can have a double meaning depending on the level of language they’re used in. Those words have a “proper”  or “official” meaning, and they have a different one when used as slang words. Here are 10 examples of words that are pretty widely used in the language.

1. Andouille (n.f):

    • a smoked sausage:   Je n’aime pas trop manger des andouilles. (I don’t like eating smoked sausages too much).
    • an idiot: Quelle andouille celle-là/celui-là! (What a stupid girl/boy that one!)

French vocabulary: un cageot2. Cageot (n.m):

    • a crate: Tu peux m’apporter ce cageot plein de citrons, s’il te plaît? (Can you bring me that crate full of lemons, please?)
    • an ugly person: Ce mec/cette fille est un vrai cageot! (This guy/girl is truly ugly!)

3. Caisse (n.f):

    • a box/a cash register: Où se trouve la caisse, s’il vous plaît? (Where’s the cash register, please?)
    • a car: Wouah, elle est géniale ta caisse! (Wow, your car is awesome!)

4. Déchirer:

    • to tear: Oh là là! Votre pantalon est tout déchiré! (Ooh la la! Your pants are torn up!)
    • to be great/kick ass: Ces musiciens jouent trop bien, ils déchirent! (Those musicians play really well, they kick ass!)

5. Être scotché(e):

    • to be taped: Le poisson d’avril est scotché dans son dos. (The April fool’s fish is taped on his back.)
    • to be impressed/shocked: Tu l’as vraiment quitté? Je suis scotché! (You really left him? I’m impressed!)

French expression, Etre Vert

6. Être vert(e):

    • to be green: Ce fruit est trop vert pour qu’on le mange. (This fruit is too green for us to eat it.)
    • to be angry: Il a mangé ma mousse au chocolat, je suis verte! (He ate my chocolate mousse, I’m so mad!)

7. Piquer:

    • to sting: Zut! Je me suis faite piquer par un moustique! (Damn! I got bitten by a mosquito!)
    • to steal: Arsène Lupin a piqué plin de bijoux et toujours avec classe. (Arsene Lupin stole a lot of jewels and always with style.)

8. Salade (f):

    • salad: On mange beaucoup de salades dans le sud de la France. (We eat a lot of salad in the South of France.)
    • lies: Arrête de me raconter des salades! (Stop talking crap / telling tales!)

9. Se Casser:

    • to break something: Il s’est cassé le bras hier. (He broke his arm yesterday.)
    • to leave: J’en ai marre, je me casse! (I’m fed up, I’m off!)

10. Tuile (f):

    • a (roof) tile: Dans les Alpes, les tuiles sont souvent en ardoise. (In the Alps, tiles are often slate tiles.)
    • a problem/bad event: En ce moment, il ne m’arrive que des tuiles. (At the moment, I’m only having problems.)French vocabulary: une tuile

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