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Do You Feel Like A Million Bucks? – Money and Slang Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Vocabulary

There are countless words and expressions that people use every day without realizing how they do not make much sense.  L’argot (slang) is an important part of every language, but one that is unfortunately hard to find in many textbooks.

Figuring out how exactly to say one million can be hard enough before trying to find a good equivalent to the expression, “to feel like a million bucks“:

Péter la forme
Péter le feu
Avoir une pêche d’enfer

Litteral Translation:
To fart the form

To fart fire
To have a hell peach

It can be surprising how different expressions are from one language to another and how useless knowing the litteral translation is. Of course, while péter can mean to fart, it also means to burst or to pop, and the above could also mean “to burst with energy” and “to burst with fire” (merci Claire !).

Like in the example expression, “To feel like a million bucks“, there is a lot of argot for l’argent (money). Sometimes it’s easy to understand, as in ten grand, but it can be bit harder to understand, par exemple, 50 bucks.

In French, everything became more confusing with l’introduction de l’euro. Some terms were more used when le franc was the currency, and while a few have held over into modern times, especially in older generations, many of them are less used now.

Mais d’abord, une petite histoire (but first a short story):

I was talking about le loyer (the rent) and how expensive it is à Paris when mon ami (my friend) used a word I had never heard before:

Ouais, ça peut coûter plus de 700 (sept-cents) balles par mois.
700 balles ?
Ouais…. Euh… 700 euros.

Yeah, it can cost more than 700 bucks a month.
700 bucks?
Yeah… Uh… 700 Euros.

I figured out that une balle meant a euro when referring to money, and soon had a similar conversation that led to me learning that le sou also refers to money in a general sense, but more often to les centimes (cents, money less than one dollar).

Similar to how in the US bucks are used for dollars, and quid is used as l’argot for pounds in the UK, au Québec they have un mot différent (a different word) for their money.

Piasse

I first learned about this argot from a Bernard Adamus song, one of my favorite francophone musicians. He sings in a very thick accent québécois and uses a ton of argot that people in France would not understand, but it’s still a fun song that uses the unique Canadian word:

La question à cent piasses

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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.


Comments:

  1. Claire:

    the verb péter also means to pop or burst. Therefore your translations are wrong. Péter la forme literally means to burst with energy/form.
    Same with péter le feu. It has nothing to do with farting.

    • John Bauer:

      @Claire You’re right! I wanted to show just how lost you can get with litteral translations. I’ll clarify it so that no one learns something wrong. Thank you for your comment!