French Language Blog

The ABCs of French Slang: B Expressions Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in Vocabulary

Aujourd’hui, nous allons couvrir la lettre ‘B’ (Today, we shall cover the letter ‘B’.)

* Bachoter:
Meaning to study crazily hard. For example: “Pour devenir un énarque, tu dois bachoter comme un dingue!” (“In order to become an énaque, you must study like crazy!”) What is an “énarque“? Well, see for yourself “What is an Énarque?” (

* Bagnole:
It’s funny to see how many French people are surprised to find out the first time that Americans have no “commonly used” slang word for a car (do you call it a ‘wagon’, sometimes?) For the French, it is a very usual thing to say “bagnole”, or “caisse”, to talk about a car. An example from the “ami-ami” video posted last time: “T’as vu un peu la poursuite de bagnoles dans Deux Flics à Miami”? (“Did you see that car chase in Miami Vice?”)

Petit Quiz: Who can tell what the French title of this movie is?

– “Bande de niais!” Mdr!

* Balèze:
Être balèze.” A synonym of balèze is “être calé.” It means to be very good at something, like a “genius”, a “whiz”, or a “brainiac.” Example: “Elle est vraiment balèze en info” (“She’s a real computer whiz”.)

* Barbant:
It just means “annoying”, though it literally can be translated as “bearding”! It can also come as a verb, “barber.” Like: “Arrêtez de nous barber avec vos salades!” (Quit bothering us with your nonsense!) You can also just exclaim: “Oh, la barbe!” (Something like: “Oh, that’s it, cut it out!”)

* Barge, Bargeot:
The second term, “bargeot“, ends with a silent “t”, as in “Peugeot”, or “Bardot.” It means “crazy”, or “nuts.” Example: “Elle est quand même un tout petit peu bargeot, Brigitte.” (Brigitte’s a tiny bit nuts.)

* Se Barrer:
To leave, “to beat it”, “to scram.”
Se casser” and “s’arracher” have the exact meaning.
“Allez, c’est nul ici, on se barre(“Come on, this place’s bad, let’s beat it.”)
An expression argotique related to “se barrer” is used with the adjectif “barré“, as in “être mal barré“, which means “to have gotten off to a bad start”, or “to get off on the wrong foot.” You’d for example hear a parent warning: “Moi je te dis que ce gosse est vraiment mal barré!”  (“I tell you, this kid has gotten off to a really bad start!”)

* Baston:
I know, it sounds almost like “Boston”, or even “BAHSTON” and “the HARVAHD YAHD”…
You can also say “bastonnade.” The two words come from the old French “baston“, meaning a “stick.” It now refers to any type of fight in general.  Par example: “Il n’y a pas beaucoup de baston à Boston!
Here’s une bastonnade générale (a “free-for-all” fight) which broke out just yesterday in Ukraine’s sanctified Parliament:

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