French Language Blog

French Slang Expressions with the Letter C Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Culture, Vocabulary

We pick up our alphabet of French slang with the letter C!

* * *
C comme… (C, as in…)

* Charier:

Charier quelqu’un means to tease or to make fun of someone. Example: “Tu me charies, chérie?” (Are you kidding me, Darling?”) Obviously, “chérie” and “charies” here are phonetically closer in French than English.)

* Chaud:
Literally “hot”, but in argot, être chaud pour faire quelque chose means to be excited or enthusiastic about doing something. Here’s an example: “T’es chaud pour sortir ce soir?” (“Are you up for going out tonight?”.) Coming in an expression: “Chaud devant !”, that would mean “fore!”, “watch out ahead!”, or “coming through!”

* Chialer:
To cry, or “to bawl”. An argot related synonym of chialer is pleurnicher (“to whine”.)  For exemple: Arrête de chialer comme une madeleine !” (Stop being such a crybaby!) The madeleine here refers to Marie Magdalene, who washed Jesus’s feet with the tears she shed.

Here’s a video of le Québécois Vilain Pingouin pleading for his right to chialer (Can you tell the accent at all?) A better sounding, non-live, version can be found here.

* Choper:
To get or to catch something, as in: “Oh non, c’est terrible! T’as chopé la grippe N1h1?!(That would be quite terrrible, indeed…)

* Chouette !
A lot of my American buddies know this expression, they usually learned it in school. So they usually say: Chouette alors !“, meaning “that’s great!” I tell them that it’s good to know what this expression means, but they need to know that it’s become already a bit old fashioned (Well, of course, it’s definitely ok to be old fashioned, but it’s better when you know it than if you don’t.) It’d be almost as if a non-English speaker would say: “Oh! That’s swell!”, when they mean to say: “That’s awesome!”…
To call someone “une chouette(literally “an owl”), as in une vieille chouette“, means to call them “a bitter old shrew” (or a “BOS”, if you will.)

Ça, par exemple, ce n’est pas très chouette pour la chouette :

* Cinoche:
Comes from “cinéma”, meaning a “movie theater.” Example: “Tu nous rejoins au cinoche, ce soir?” (“Care to join us to the movie’s, tonight?”)

* Clope:
Clope means a cigarette. So, griller une clope” means “to puff a cig.”
A synonym of clope is une taffe.
Make sure you don’t confuse taffe (the noun) with the verb taffer, which is the synonym of bosser, or bachoter (See “B.A.-BA de l’Argot: ‘B’“)
Example: “Ah non, impossible, ce soir je peux pas aller au cinoche, je dois taffer comme un dingue pour mon exam demain !” (“Ah, no can do, can’t join you to the movie’s tonight, I’m cramming crazy for my exam tomorrow !”)

Usually I’m no big fan of “Lascar“, but here’s a pretty funny one about “les clopes” (if you get the joke, of course)

* Costard:
A word that comes from costume, meaning a suit.

* Crever, Crève:
 Crever means “to burst.” In argot, that means to die, “to kick the bucket”, “to bite the dust.” La crève, on the other hand, means the flu. So, “choper la crève” (remember from just now: choper) means “to catch the flu.”

Here’s a (pretty catchy) French song by the title of “Crève !” (“Die!”), sung by Mademoiselle K., from her 2007 album “Ça me vexe.

Maybe you like her better than “YELLE-à-tue-tête“?
What’s your take on this mademoiselle, Mademoiselle Jennie?


If you liked it, then check also this one. She sounds like she could be the “French female version of Kurt Cobain” (or, say, Seether, today, whose eerily polymorphic voice sounds -amongst others- a lot like the late founder of Grunge.)

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  1. quentin:

    Hi there,

    First of all, I’d like to congrulate you on the content of your blog,

    However as a french personn I think that even if you can come across ( pouvez tomber sur ) the expression “chialer comme une madeleine”, it is very rarely used as such,

    You would either say ‘oh, arrête un peu de chialer !” without the ” comme une madeleine” or “oh, arrête de pleurer comme une madeleine”.

    I think, it is because in “chialer” , it is implicit that you cry a lot, and “comme une madeleine” is there to enhance the fact that the personn is crying a lot. With the two, it kinda feels redundant.

    I hope this helped you, please, feel free to correct me, would I have made any mistake ;0)