French Language Blog

Can You Carry a Tune? – French Slang Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

After living in France for several years I still learn new words and phrases every day. Whether it’s figuring out how to buy un tournevis (a screwdriver) or making mistakes, there’s a lesson to be learned.

The same week I wrote about l’argent (money) I attended a meeting where I heard un nouveau mot (a new word):

On a filé la thune au mec.
…Attendez, qu’est-ce que c’est la thune ?

We gave la thune to the guy.
…Wait, what is la thune?

It came up while talking about le financement and le budget. I was pretty sure it was connected to l’argent, but I was not sûr à cent pour cent (100 percent sure). I thought they might be using the English word tune in some way I could not understand! My question was met with some playful laughter as everyone realized I didn’t understand l’argot (the slang).

C’est l’argent !

It’s money!

After the meeting I looked up le mot and found that la thune was originally 5 francs, but is now sometimes used as a general term for l’argent. I am sûr à cent percent that there will always be something new to learn here in France!

Voici un petit vocabulaire de l’argent en argot :

Des balles – Bucks, quid
Des piasses – Bucks, quid (in Canada)
Des sous – Money, change
La thune, le fric, la flouze – Money

There are also more specific words that en théorie (in theory) are not used anymore in countries that use the Euro, and change meaning depending on if it is referring to des anciens ou nouveaux francs (old or new francs). However, it is still possible to come across ces mots (these words):

Une brique, une plaque, une patate – 10 000 francs
Un sac – 10 francs
Une thune – 5 francs
Un rond – 1 franc
Un sou – 10 cents

If you know any other words for l’argent en argot, let me know in a comment below and I’ll add it to le vocabulaire!

Polouks gave me a bunch more argot in a comment below!

L’oseille (sorrel) – Money
Le blé (wheat) – Money
La maille – Money
Le pognon – Money
Le rond when you say “J’ai pas un rond” – I’m broke (you can also use it in plural form for quid but it’s much less common)

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Polouks:

    Hey, if I may, it’s “Le flouze”, and I would also add

    L’oseille (sorrel) – Money
    Le blé (wheat) – Money
    La maille – Money
    Le pognon – Money
    Le rond when you say “J’ai pas un rond” – I’m broke (you can also use it in plural form for quid but it’s much less common)

    All of which are still pretty common in France

    Nice post.

    • John Bauer:

      @Polouks Merci Polouks!

      I’ve added these to the article!

  2. Lolo:

    “Une brique, une plaque, une patate
    Une thune
    Un rond
    Un sou”
    I’m French and I’ve never heard them, it’s not at all common, except for “thune” in the sense of “money”, “des sous” but to mean “de l’argent” and “rond” in the sentence indicated by Poloucks, j’ai pas un rond.

    • John Bauer:

      @Lolo Merci pour cotre commentaire Lolo !

      While they’re not common, they are known to people, so it’s worth knowing they exist. I was actually surprised to learn while working on this post that a lot of those words are still used in other French speaking countries!