101 funny French words, phrases and facts to broaden your vocab

Elinor Zucchet

It can be difficult to learn French, or any language actually. Trust me, I’ve been there. But once you start being able to communicate, it gets a lot more motivating.

Acquiring vocabulary can also be a fun part of the learning process — yes, we promise! Indeed, every language has weird or fun words and sayings, and French is no exception.

If you need something a little different from your good old classic French lessons, take a break and check out these funny French sayings and fun French words. We’ve selected these words and phrases for one, or several of these reasons:

  • They have a hilarious literal meaning
  • They sound funny
  • They sound ugly

Attention, y’en a un paquet ! (a French expression which means: “There are a lot”).

Funny French vocab

Next time you travel to a French speaking country, learn a few of the funny things to say in French below. Your French friends are in for a treat!

Friends posing for camera and learning funny words in French.

Funny French words

What do a bold mouse, a little washing rat and a flying deer have in common? No, we are not frappadingues, these are just funny French words! “Cowly” awesome, right?

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Raton-laveurɾatõ-lavœɾLittle washing ratRacoon
Chauve-sourisʃovə-suɾiBold mouseBat
Soutien-gorgesutjɛ̃-gɔɾʒəThroat supportBra
Amuse-boucheamyzə-buʃəMouth fun
Bleu (un)blø (yn)Blue
Doigts de piedsdwa də pjeFeet fingers
Souffre-douleursufɾə-dulœɾPain suffererScapegoat
Pense-bêtepɑ̃sə-bɛtəStupid thoughtReminder note
Maître-nageurmɛtɾə-naʒœɾMaster swimmerLifeguard
DoudoududuSoft softComfort toy or blanket
Pomme de terrepɔmə də tɛrəApple of the earthPotato
Chef-d’œuvreʃɛf-dœvɾəWork’s bossMasterpiece
Rabat-joieɾaba-ʒwaəJoy reducerParty pooper
Cocotte-minutekɔkɔtə-minytəMinute chickenPressure cooker
Garde-robegaɾdə-ɾɔbəDress keeperWardrobe
Porte-monnaiepɔɾtə-mɔnɛəMoney carrierWallet
DodelinerdɔdəlineTo swing softly
RigoloɾigɔloFunny
CaoutchouckautʃukRubber
FrimoussefɾimusəCute face, little face
MiettemjɛtəCrumb
Bernard l’hermitebɛɾnaɾ lɛɾmitəHermit crab
PâquerettepɑkəɾɛtəDaisy
Cerf-volantsɛɾf-vɔlɑ̃Flying deerQuite
Frappadinguefɾapadɛ̃gəNutcase
Tohu-bohutoy-boyHurly-burlyHustle and bustle
CoccinellekɔkinɛləLadybug
SaperlipopettesapɛɾlipɔpɛtəDamm
Fute-futefytə-fytəSmart
RaplaplaɾaplaplaFlatTired, no energy
VachementvaʃəməCowlyVery

Funny French phrases and things to say in French

Who doesn’t love good old sayings? Well, maybe you don’t, but we do! Below are some of our favorite funny French phrases. You’ll learn them les doigts dans le nez!

Les doigts dans le nez is a funny phrase in French.

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Il me court sur le haricotil mə kuɾ syɾ lə aɾikoHe’s running on my beanHe’s annoying me
Pédaler dans la semoulepedale dɑ̃ la səmuləTo pedal in semolinaHave trouble doing something
L’habit ne fait pas le moinelabi nə fe pa lə mwanəThe outfit doesn’t make the monkAppearances can be deceiving
Avoir le c– bordé de nouillesavwaɾ lə k– bɔɾde də nwijəTo have the a– surrounded by noodlesTo be very lucky
Avoir le cafardavwaɾ lə kafaɾTo have the cockroachTo feel down
Être dans de beaux drapsɛtɾə dɑ̃ də bo dɾaTo be in beautiful sheetsTo be in a bad situation
En faire tout un fromageɑ̃ fɛɾə tut‿ œ̃ fɾɔmaʒəTo make cheese out of itTo make a big deal out of something
Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canardsa nə kasə patɾwɑ patəz‿ a œ̃ kanaɾIt doesn’t break three legs of a duckNothing to write home about
Pisser dans un violonpise dɑ̃z‿ œ̃ vjɔlõPissing in a violinTo waste time on something useless
Mêle-toi de tes oignons!mɛlə-twa dətez‿ waɲõ!Mind your onionsMind your own business
Il pleut des cordesil pløde kɔɾdəIt’s raining ropesIt’s raining cats and dogs
Revenons à nos moutonsɾəvənõz‿ a no mutõLet’s come back to our sheepTo go back to the original topic of conversation
Nous n’avons pas gardé les vaches ensemblenu navõ pa gaɾdele vaʃəz‿ ɑ̃sɑ̃bləWe haven’t herded the cows togetherWe are not friends, we don’t know each other
Avoir le c– entre deux chaisesavwaɾ lə k– ɑ̃tɾə dø ʃɛzəTo have one’s ass between two chairsTo be undecided
Les doigts dans le nezle dwa dɑ̃ lə neFingers in the noseA piece of cake
Poser un lapinpoze œ̃ lapɛ̃To put a rabbit(usually on a date)
Ça me fait une belle jambesa mə fɛt‿ ynə bɛlə ʒɑ̃bəIt gives me a beautiful legI couldn’t care less
Chanter comme une casseroleʃɑ̃te kɔm ynə kasəɾɔləTo sing like a potSomeone who can’t sing
Noyer le poissonnwaje lə pwasõDrown the fishAvoid a subject by talking about something else.
Faut pas pousser mamie dans les ortiesfo pa puse mamjə dɑ̃lez‿ ɔɾtjəDon’t push granny into the nettles!Don’t exaggerate, don’t go too far

Funny facts about French

  • Bradley Cooper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, Emma Watson and Serena Williams speak French
  • There are no French words with the letter “w”. So why is it in the French alphabet, will you ask? Because borrowed words from other languages do include it, for example wagon or WC.
  • The letter “h” is silent, which makes it difficult for French speakers to properly pronounce English words such as “Halloween” or “house”. Check this scene of the hilarious movie Brice de Nice: You’re like the “h” in “Hawaii”, you’re useless.
  • Counting in French requires math skills. Everything is very logical until you reach sixty… as Loïc Suberville tries to explain to his American followers in this video! Fortunately, some francophone countries, like Belgium, have a much easier system.

The ugliest words in French

French is such a beautiful language. Well, except these few words!

French IPAMeaning
BidetbideBidet
BurnesbyɾnəBalls (yes, these balls)
ConcubinagekõkybinaʒəCohabitation (usually with a partner)
Concupiscencekõkypissɑ̃səConcupiscence
PiscinepissinəPool
CroupionkɾupjõRump
CroûtekɾutəScab
HarpieaɾpjəHarpy
Hachis Parmentieraʃi paɾmɑ̃tjeHachis Parmentier (a sort of Shepherd’s pie)
Ragoûtantɾagutɑ̃Disgusting
SlipsliBrief, knicker
TéterteteSuckling
Branquignolbɾɑ̃kiɲɔlCrackpot
CassouletkasuleCassoulet
Parpaingpaɾpɛ̃Building block
MochemɔʃəUgly
TartaretaɾtaɾəTartar
VerruevɛrɥəWart
GlaireglɛɾəMucus
Ranceɾɑ̃səRancid
RustreɾystɾəLout, boor
GrabugegɾabyʒəHavoc

Funny French slang

To finish our list of fun French words, here is a curated selection of funny French slang. Not enough? We have over 275 more in this article.

The funny French slang word for dog is clebs.

French IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Casse-toikasə-twaBreak youPiss off
Casse-piedskasə-pjeFeet breakerPain in the —
Ras le bolɾa lə bɔlTo have a bowl full of itTo have enough, to be sick of something
BoufferbufeEat
Truc, machin, biduletɾyk, maʃɛ̃, bidyləThing (stuff)
Draguerdɾage
Flirt
PiquerpikeTo pokeSteal
Mecmɛk
Guy
Meuf, nanamœf, nana
Chick (girl)
BlébleWheatMoney
CaissekɛsəBoxCar
Clebsklɛp
Dog
Toubibtubi
Doctor
Poiscaillepwaskajə
Fish
Tifstif
Hair
PouletpuleChicketPoliceman
FlotterflɔteTo floatTo rain
ThonTunaUgly person
Kitschkitsʃ
Tacky
Ploucpluk
Country bumpkin
PompespõpəPumpsShoes
BoîteboitəBoxCompany
Boîte de nuitboitə də nɥiNight boxNightclub
Crevé(e)kɾəve(ɛ)PuncturedExhausted
Balancerbalɑ̃seTo swingTo give up, to reveal
CanonkanõCanonHot, beautiful
Pincepɛ̃səClampCheap (somebody)
BallesbaləBallsEuros, buck

Funny French sayings literally translated

Check out these videos for a literal translation of French sayings.

10 Hilarious French Expressions 🇫🇷

See, learning a language can be fun — even French! If you’re planning a trip to a French speaking country, it can be a great idea to learn a few of these fun words and expressions. You’ll be sure to impress… and your francophone friends will mourir de rire! (literally, die of laughter).

Just keep in mind that some of these words, especially sayings, will not be understood everywhere. Make sure to check out our list of French slang for French Canadian slang and other expressions for various French speaking countries and regions. Vachement rigolo !

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