“Verlan”, French words spelled backwards.

“Verlan”, French words spelled backwards.


First type of slang that you might come across is verlan (à l’envers), which are French words spelled backwards, and often incorrectly, in slang. And while this concept might seem a bit intimidating at first, you will find that you pick it up in no time at all and probably without even realizing.


Our first example is meuf, which was originally femme. And, as with the word femme, this term can be used to refer to a female, or your girlfriend, although it can have pejorative connotations.


Our second example is relou, the verlan for lourd (heavy or taxing) and equivalent of chiant, which means annoying/exasperating.

Ce mec est trop relou ! This guy is such a lame ]! Ouais il craint Yeah he sucks Translate this dialogue


Ouf is the French backwards of fou (crazy/awesome).

On a fait un truc (de) ouf hier ! We did something crazy yesterday! Les gars, pourquoi vous m'avez pas invité ? Guys, why you didn't invite me? Translate this dialogue

Here ouf can work as either an adjective, without the de, or as a noun, with the ’d’. It’s up to you! We did something crazy awesome yesterday.

“Être vénère”

And finally, our last slang word for today is another way of expressing that you are annoyed or angry; être vénère, which is the verlan of être énervé

Mathieu est vénère. Matthew is annoyed. Allez, tranquille Mathieu C'mon relax Mathieu Translate this dialogue

Note: It is important here to pay attention to your accents because vénéré means to be revered.  

Other slang words


Bordel literally means brothel. However, these days bordel is more commonly used to describe a large mess.

Range ta chambre. C’est le bordel. Clean your room. It’s a mess. C'est bon ! Alright! Translate this dialogue


Balle as a singular, literally means bullet. Yet back in the day, balles was used as a slang word for francs, the French currency pre-2002. And when France moved on to the euro, balles moved with it and it is still sometimes used in reference to money.

J’aime bien ton pantalon. I like your pants. Merci ! Je l’ai acheté au marché pour quinze balles. Thanks. I bought them at the market for 15 euros. Translate this dialogue


The word baraque literally means shanty, or small house made of planks. However, recently the term has been adapted to refer to a house, or, as an adjective baraqué, someone who is really muscular.

On habite dans une grosse baraque avec 10 colocs. We live in a large house with 10 other people. C'est trop cool ! Sweet! Translate this dialogue


Blé literally translates as wheat in English. However, figuratively it has become a popular way of referring to money. (Another common way of referring to money in slang terms is fric or pognon).

Il gagne beaucoup de blé. He earns a lot of money. Ah ouais? C'est quoi son boulot ? Really? What kind of job does he have? Translate this dialogue


Bobo is actually baby talk for une blessure (an injury). However, you will find that young people commonly use this term when referring to minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

Qu’est-ce qu’il y a ? What's the matter? J’ai un bobo sur le pied. I have a scratch on my foot. Translate this dialogue

Bobo refers also to Bourgeois Bohème literally “hipster” in English.


Bouffer literally means to puff up or balloon in size. However, it has become common practice to replace the word manger (to eat) with bouffer in everyday speech. And in turn, la bouffe is then used as another word for food.

J’ai trop mangé. J’ai bouffé un steak tartare avec des frites suivi d’une grosse tarte aux pommes. I ate too much. I ate a steak tartare with fries followed by a big slice of apple tart. Fais gaffe tu vas grossir Be careful, you're gonna gain weight Translate this dialogue

“Une clope”

A commonly used slang word, especially in Paris, is the argot for cigarette, une clope.

T’aurais pas une clope ? You don’t happen to have a smoke, do you? Non désolé mec. Sorry dude. Translate this dialogue


Another term used by today’s generation, which you may not already know is the word kiffer, which is slang for to like something (it works best with a hobby!). However, pay attention, if you kiffe quelqu’un, it implies that you desire that person.

Je kiffe faire de la voile. I really enjoy sailing. Moi, je kiffe plutôt le jet ski. I prefer jet ski. Translate this dialogue


The word mec is yet another commonly used slang term, and refers to boyfriends as well as guys in general.

Il est canon ce mec. That guy is really good-looking. Heh, c'est mon mec ! Hey, it's my boyfriend! Translate this dialogue