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French Slang Expressions with the Letter D Posted by on Jun 1, 2010 in Culture, Film, Music, Vocabulary

Last time, we finished covering the letter ‘C’, learning and exploring words and expressions that you most likely wouldn’t encounter in your usual French classroom, but knowing them would definitely come in very handy once you’re in France or around French speakers.

But before we start, here’s a curious piece of “antiquité” for you (extracted not from “le zoo des locutions“, but rather from what we may call “le musée des locutions“…)

Aujourd’hui, c’est la lettre ‘D’.
Allons-y !
* * *

D comme… (D, as in…)

* Dab:
When you say “dab”, you can either talk about your father, or about your boss (or maybe both, if it’s your dad who “calls the shots” at home.)
It should be easy for you to remember this word, since “dab” is spelled almost like “dad.”
A synonym of dab is “daron“, also meaning “father.”
Attention! Be sure not to confuse “dab” with the same-sounding “‘d’hab“, which is short for “d’habitude“, as in “comme d’hab” (meaning “as usual”.) So you’d say for example: “les affaires, comme d’hab“, meaning “business as usual.

* Dalle:
It may mean literally “flagstone” or a “slab” in normal français, but in slang, to say “avoir la dalle” means to be very hungry, starving, ravenous!
Usually, you’d say: “je crève la dalle !” (“I’m starving to death!”)
But if you say: “J’ai la dalle en pente, that would mean: “I’m thirsty.”
Attention!  The word “dalle” can come in an expression, “que dalle“, meaning “zilch”, as in “nothing at all.” For example: “Je pige que dalle!” means “I don’t understand zilch!”

* Se Dégonfler:
To become “deflated”, but means in argot “to become scared”, to “chicken out”, to become a “coward.” An equivalent (informal) expression is “avoir la frousse, “avoir la trouille“, or “avoir froid aux yeux“: Literally to get “cold in the eyes”, or “to get cold eyes”, which of course should remind us of the expression “getting cold feet” in English.

* Dégotter:
A verb which means “to find” something. Example: Où est-ce que t’es allé dégotter ça?” (“Where did you get that from?”) A synonym verb is “dénicher.
This one video is for notre amie new-yorkaise, Jennie: It’s about le gendarme de Saint-Tropez (Louis de Fuines) who is this time in New York, very nostalgique about French cuisine, and trying to “dégotter/dénicher” (both verbs are actually used in this scene, if you pay close attention)… “de la viande non-cellophanée“, or as they actually called it here in argot, “de la vraie barbaque !” (real meat!)

* Dingue:
Dingue” means “crazy”, “nuts.” For example: “C’est dingue ton histoire !” (“Your story is crazy!”)
And it’s from the word “dingue” that came the name of the Disney character “Dingo”, which is the French name of Goofy.
Here you can see Max with his “dab/daron” (father/dad), Dingo, hitting the road together, but not really hitting it off very well.

Also, the French name of Eddy Murphy’s “Professor Nutty” is called “Professeur Foldingue.”
Finally, a slang synonym of dingue, which also starts with the letter ‘D’, is

* la Douloureuse:
Or “the Painful One”, word for word. That is how the French call the bill (l’addition) that you have to pay at, say, a restaurant. Maybe now, whatever country you happen to live in on this planet, thanks to la crise financière mondiale (the world financial crisis), and not only if you are living in Greece, you as well should be able to -so to speak- “feel their pain”, when comes the moment to call the waiter: “Garçon! l’addition, s’il vous plait.”
In other words, “le monde entiers est un cactus” (A French classique, which of course has lost nothing of its relevance today!)



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  1. Anna:

    Salut ! J’aime beaucoup votre blog, il me permet de travailler mon anglais, et ces post sur les expressions et leurs équivalents me sont bien utiles ! Cependant, je dois avouer n’avoir jamais entendue parler du mot “dab” avant d’être arrivée ici lol J’habite aux alentours de Paris et à mon avis pas grand monde ne le comprendrais non plus ! Pas contre, daron est beaucoup plus souvent employée mais souvent par les adolescents.