Understanding l’argot (French Slang) is a must, whether you are planning on moving to France one day, or simply a casual fan of French music or le cinéma français, where the prevailing language is not exactly the one you learned at school—to say the least!
Like we said last time, there are several dictionaries and references of French slang readily available in bookstores, and some even offer free access online. But the trouble with them, unfortunately, is that when faced with a huge amount of information, non-native readers find themselves completely at a loss as to which word or expression to learn in priority.
Whether it’s argot or not, don’t forget to learn French with us on Facebook!
Well, la solution, we’re happy to say, you will find it here: You will be provided, as of today, with le strict minimum. The expressions argotiques or familières which you must know when you are surrounded by native French speakers!
Today, you are offered a unique selection of the Top 10 *Must-Know* French slang words and expressions starting with the first letter of the alphabet:
LA LETTRE ”A”
As in “Allez, accouche!“ Meaning: “Come on, confess”, or “spit it out!” Often used when people urge you to finally reveal something to them. Or you can for example see it pop up in a French movie scene, typically when a police interrogation of a suspect is being conducted. Literally, it means: “Come on, give it birth!” Some French slang expressions with the same meaning as “to confess” is “passer aux aveux“, “lâcher le morceau“, or “passer à table.“
Meaning to be “hooked on something”, since it’s a shorthand for the verb accrocher (to hook something.) Example: “Elle est accro à la musique techtonik” (“C’est quoi la ‘techtonik?“, you may ask?)
This one is rather “versatile”, and depends on the context of its use. The verb allonger means “to extend” or ”to strech out.” So if you say ”allonger une claque” or ”un coup de poing”, it means to slap or punch someone, knocking them down. But you may also hear: “Allez, allonge-moi mon fric, mec!”, meaning “Come on, fork over my money, dude!”
As an adjectif, “être allongé” means to be dead. ”Il a avalé son acte de naissance, et il est maintenant au jardin des allongés“, which literally means: “He swallowed his birth certificate, and he’s now at the garden of ‘the lying down’.”
Quite charming of an expression, isn’t it?
As in “Bon, on fait ami-ami, on enterre la hache de guerre, et on fume le calumet de la paix?” The translation of which is: “So, we become friends again, we bury the hatchet, and smoke the peace pipe?”
Instead of “Deux Flics à Miami” (“Two Cops in Miami”, which is the French title of “Miami Vice”, starring Don Johnson and Philip M. Thomas) someone I know used as a kid to call this show “Deux Flics Ami-Ami”, meaning word-for-word “Two Cops Friend-Friend”!
For a (very) little idea of what “Miami Vice” may sound when dubbed in French, here’s an example (the scene starts up with “croissants” and a French flag…)
So, “cutting down to the chase”:
Andouille simply means “dummy”, “silly”, “fool”, as in “ne fais pas l’andouille” (“don’t act like a fool!”)
Short for “après-midi“
* À plus!
Short for ”À plus tard!“ (“See you later!”) When it comes to SMS or chatting on Skype, “À plus” is often written as “A+“, or even “@+“
It means to trick someone, to swindle a person.
To leave or to escape: “Bon allez, on s’arrache d’ici!” (“Ok, let’s get outta here!”) You can also say lever le camp (whereas “foutre le camp” is way more offensive.)
This verb in formal French means “to ensure (something)”, as in what insurance companies do. In French Slang, however, it means “to rock”, “to be on top of one’s stuff”, “to have the situation under control.”
Typical example that young French people say nowadays: ”Franchement, là t’assures!” (“Seriously, you rock!”)
A synonym of assurer in this case is the verb gérer (literally “to manage.”)
Another typical example would be “Tu géres trop!” (“You totally rock!”)