French Language Blog

Top 5 New French Dictionary Words of the Year Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Culture, Vocabulary

The 2013 Édition of the worldwide famous French dictionary Le Petit Robert surprised many this year with its handful -or make that a “mouthful”- of nouveaux mots (new words.)

Today, we’ve selected -just for you- the Top Five of such words that officially made it into French language.

Here is the Top 5 New French Dictionary Words (2013):


• Numéro 5 (Number 5): “PSYCHOTER“:

Yes, it sounds like the English “to be psyched (about something)”, but it’s more like “to freak out (about something)”, “to be paranoid“, etc.

Example: “Arrête de psychoter comme ça, tout va bien se passer” (“Stop freaking out like this, everything is going to be just fine.”)

• Numéro 4 (Number 4): “CLASHER“:

If you thought that this officially new French word sounds just like the English verb “to clash” (with someone), then guess what?

You are right.

It’s usually meant in the sense of having a strong or harsh argument with someone.

Example: “T’as raté un beau spectacle hier, notre prof a clashé avec le directeur” (“You missed a pretty good show yesterday, our teacher clashed with the principal.”)

• Numéro 3 (Number 3): “BOMBASSE:

That would be a “super hotty“, a girl you’d rate a 12 on the scale of 10 (plus taxes.)

You probably get the picture, no example needed.


• Numéro 2 (Number 2): “CHOUPINET:

This word has been around for quite a while, but it only now got recognition by the Le Petit Robert.

It stands for anything that’s considered to be “cute“, or a “cutie” if you prefer.

In short, anything that women would find “just adorable.”

Its female counterpart is “choupinette.

• Numéro UN (Number ONE): “VIRALITÉ:

I know what you’re thinking by now: Is there at least one word that is relatively “serious” among these newly introduced terms?

The answer is, Dieu soit loué (thank God), there is one: it’s “viralité.

And to whom should we extend a grand merci for that?

I’d hate to say, but it’s most likely Facebook.

For example: “Regardez, mon dernier article a été d’une viralité assez incroyable” (“Look, the virality of my last post was pretty incredible.”).

In this context, a synonym of “viralité” would be “une tuerie“, literally meaning “a killing or massacre“, which -perhaps fittingly enough- is yet another word that made it into Le Petit Robert this year!

Of course, the question that remains is this one: Whatever happened to expressions such as “un franc succès” (“a great success”)?

Did they fall victim to deadly viruses (yes, “virality” comes from the word “virus”) and other linguistic “tueries“?

Don’t ask me, ask le petit Rob’.

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