French Language Blog

10 Nouveaux Mots Pour 2015 Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Vocabulary

Every year, the editors of the French dictionnaires Le Petit Robert and Le Petit Larousse announce the new words that will be added to the next year’s edition. There are normally two rules the linguists employed by these dictionaries use in order to determine whether a new word should be incorporated: 1. the frequency of the word in question in the media and 2. whether the experts believe that the word will remain in usage.

Here are ten of the approximately 150 words that were added to the 2015 editions of Le Petit Robert and Le Petit Larousse:

1. Vapoter (verb) — to smoke an electronic cigarette. “E-cigarette” has also been added to the dictionary as a feminine noun. In addition, you can use the noun “vapotage.”

2. Selfie (noun m.) — this word, familiar to all native English speakers, has been added to the dictionary as a masculine noun. Here’s the French definition from Le Petit Robert: “Autoportrait numérique, généralement réalisé avec un smartphone et publié sur les réseaux sociaux.”Poster un selfie”

3. Hipster (noun m.) — another word that is familiar to native English speakers! Here is the definition from Le Petit Robert: “Jeune urbain qui affiche un style vestimentaire et des goûts à la fois pointus, empreints de second degré et à contrecourant de la culture de masse. La casquette, les grosses lunettes et la barbe fournie des hipsters new-yorkais.”

4. Hystérisation (noun f.) — The noun to describe becoming hysterical, a word that, in English at least, has had a complicated and troublesome history. Notice how this noun was determined to be feminine, following a pattern of making nouns that end with -ion feminine rather than masculine. From Le Petit Larousse: “Fait de se laisser emporter de manière totalement excessive, voire obsessionnelle, à propos d’un thème d’actualité, d’une personnalité politique, etc.: On constate une hystérisation des médias sur certains thèmes sociaux.”

5. Capillotracté/e (adjective) — This is a fun new word that draws from two more common French words: the adjective capillaire, which means that which is related to hair, and the verb tracter, which means to tow. This new word literally means to be towed or pulled by one’s hair, but carries the figurative meaning of being pulled along by a strong and/or irrational force.

6. Boloss (noun m.) — This word is an example of argot that has been adopted into common French usage. Un boloss is someone who is silly, stupid, or naive.

7. Zénitude (noun f.) — the state of being calm and tranquil; in a state of zen.

8. Taffer (verb) — another common word in argot that has been adopted into the French language. This means “to work.” Here’s an example: “Pendant un temps j’ai taffé à Paris.”

9. Crise de liquidité (noun f.) — This phrase has come into existence following the 2008 economic crisis and means the crisis that occurs when  financial institutions lose confidence in banks or other institutions and refuse to lend money.

10. Empreinte carbone (noun f.) — Carbon footprint. Here’s the definition from Le Petit Larousse: “Volume de gaz à effet de serre produit par une activité, un véhicule, un individu, etc. et exprimé en équivalent CO2 ou équivalent carbone.”

Other words that have been added, that need no explanation to native English speakers, include: troll, gif, micropaiement, motion capture, tag, barista, comics, cyberattaque, groover, and végane. 


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About the Author: Elizabeth Schmermund

Bonjour tout le monde! I'm a freelance writer, doctoral student, mom, and Francophile. I'm excited to share some of my experiences living in France, as well as the cultural nuances that I've learned being married to a Frenchman, with all of you. To find out more about me, feel free to check out my website at A la prochaine!


  1. Martie Manley:

    Would like to read about your French experiences.

  2. Transparent Language:

    Comment via email:

    Bonjour !
    J’aime votre ‘blog’ . C’est très amusant et en plus très utile ! Merci beaucoup 🙂

    Je serais très contente si vous pourriez expliquer ou donner quelques conseils sur les connecteurs logiques , car j’ai des problèmes en utilisant les connecteurs quand je parle en français .

    Merci en avance .