French Teen Slang: Speak French like a Cool Kid


Last Updated: August 30, 2022

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Kids--teens, pre-teens, and even those in their early twenties---often talk to their friends using a different set of trendy slang words.

french teen slang

In the US, this includes “bae”, “dope” (it means good, not the drugs), “YOLO” (not sure if this is still a thing), “swag”, “turnt”, and so on.

It’s the same thing in France. The young crowd sprinkle their sentences with words that are uber cool in French, too. So if you want in on the secret to sounding young and hip, let’s take a look at some of the most common slang terms used by youngsters in French streets nowadays.

But before that, here are a few things you need to know about French slang:

  • Injecting slang into your sentences would give off the vibe that you’re cool, fun, and friendly. This is especially useful for beginners. When using slang or an informal French register, you can get away with grammar mistakes because the rules are more relaxed.
  • If you’re already fluent, using colloquial terms would make you seem more natural, and closer to sounding like a native speaker.
  • BUT---never ever use slang terms with polite company; use it only among friends or casual gatherings, and always be very careful in saying them. The French put a great deal of emphasis on politeness in their social interactions.
  • A lot of French slang words are vulgar and can be considered as major insults. So always make sure to ask native French speakers first if a word can be considered offensive or if it’s safe for everyday use.

With the Talk in French Vocabulary Mastery Course never misuse a slang expression: slang terms are marked as either offensive or popular so you’d know when it’s appropriate for everyday use or not. Check it out below.

  • Modern French slang is constantly evolving. So a cool slang word a few months ago might suddenly sound outdated now.
  • Some teen slang words might be fun to use once in a while and it would make you sound super cool. But if you’re not interested to sound like a teenager, that’s alright. You’d still need to know some basic words to understand it when it appears in online chats, in songs, youtube videos, and social media.
  • Slang words that the French youth use nowadays have evolved from different sources including verlan, Arabic, English, SMS shortcodes, and so much more.

Wait--let’s go back quickly. I mentioned Verlan, but you might be wondering what Verlan is.

What’s Verlan?

Verlan is a form of French slang that makes use of inverting syllables. The word verlan itself is a verlan term. How so?

The term verlan is derived from l'envers which means “the reverse”. L’envers has two syllables: l’en and vers. Now switch the two syllables and make the spelling more straightforward, and what do you get? Yup. Verlan.

Let’s get to know a few verlan words:

  • Ripou comes from pourri and means rotten or corrupt.
  • Reubeu was originally beur which was already a verlan term for arabe (Arab).
  • Céfran comes from the word français which of course, means French.
  • Chanmé is the verlan for méchant. It means “mean or nasty”.
  • Ouf is the verlan for fou (crazy).

Anyway, these are just some example words. I’ll have a more exhaustive list of verlan vocabulary pretty soon. But for starters, the list above should already give you a clearer idea of how verlan plays around with the different syllables.

You don’t necessarily have to use them, but it would be good to understand how verlan works because this type of slang is quite common.

Now here are some popular modern slang words used by French youngsters. You can also download a PDF copy of this list by clicking the yellow button below. 

Archi bon really good
Bah non /Bah oui Oh no / Oh yeah
Bolosse a loser
Casse l’ambiancemood breaker
vachement/ carrémentreally / totally (depending on the context)
Grave sympa really nice / really cool
kiffer (verb)Kif” is the the arabic word for “a sense of well being/happiness”/ now used by youngsters to say "like" or "love"
Les rageux haters
mecsthe dudes
meufsgirls / ladies (meuf is verlan which means woman - une femme. the syllables are reversed and "eu"is added)
Naaanno / "I don't believe it"
Oh bah dis doncOh well
FlipperTo freak out
péterto explode / to fart (se la péter is to be pretentious or to be a showoff)
Ringarduncool (can be said for someone or something)
sans déconner no kidding
Se pécho to hook up
Super nul really sucks
une boîteclub; probably because everyone is squeezed into the club like in “une boite à sardines” (‘a sardine can’)

Do you have more cool slang words to add to this list? Make sure to leave a comment below and share it to the rest of the readers!

Learn more than 20,000 French words plus 2,000+ colloquial expressions in the French Vocabulary Mastery Course. 

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • Salut! Je m’appelle Jolade, je suis Nigériane et j’apprends française. J’aime française et je veux parler bien. So I’m about to include some French tutorials to my blog and decided to search for previously existing ones. I have also been very particular about wanting to know how the French youths communicate on social media and this post just gave me some hints. Thank you. And as for YOLO yes it’s still on and has just been accredited by Oxford dictionary as a new word. Hope to learn more from you. Merci et enchanté

  • Thanks for this list! FWIW, I live in California and work with teens every day and YOLO seems to only be used ironically to sort of mock people who say YOLO.

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