French Vocabulary Not Learned in School: French Slang for Work and Status

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January 18, 2014

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Reading time: 1 minute

Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced

Everyone’s gotta work to earn some dough, right?

That is, unless you’re the rolling-in-money kind of filthy rich. Good for you then.

But for this list of vocabulary, we take a look at the words, phrases, and slang on everything job related. Because hey, earning some moolah will never go passé.

Plus, you’re sure to come across these vocabulary sooner or later, too.

Work and Status french to english
Work and Jobs Le travail
Work, the jobLe boulot
The workplaceLa boite
To workBosser, boulonner
To work hardBucher
Hard-workingBucheur, euse
LazinessLa cosse
La flemme
LazyFlemmard,e
To be bone-idleAvoir un poil dans la main
A failureUn raté, une ratée
To exploitFaire suer le burnous (suer = to perspire, le burnous = an Arabian robe-like garment; from the good old days of the Empire when one made the Arabs work like slaves)
To sack, to kick outVider (literally, empty out)
Foutre à la porte
To have friends in the right placesAvoir du piston
String-pullingLe piston
To pull strings on behalf of someonePistonner quelqu’un
To grease someone’s palmGraisser la patte à quelqu’un
A bigwigUne grosse légume
Un gros bonnet
Une huile
A cop, a policeman Un flic
Un poulet
The fuzz, the policeLa flicaille
Down with the pigs!Mort aux vaches!
A cop on two wheelsUne vache à roulettes
A member of the security/espionage servicesUn barbouze
A bodyguardUn gorille
A quack (a doctor)Un toubib (docteur)
A teacherUn prof
A chefUn cuistot
A funeral parlour employeeUn croque-mort (croquer = to bite into, to much)
A priest in his cassockUn corbeau (literally, a crow)
A politicianUn politicard
A lady lavatory attendantUne dame-pipi
A cobblerUn bouif
A painter (the artistic sort) Un barbouilleur (barbouiller = to smear, to scrawl)
Third-rate paintingsLes croûtes (f)
A third-rate book, film or other work of artUn navet
A paper-pusher (usually a bureaucrat)Un rond-de-cuir
A soldierUn troufion

Want more? Check out the French Vocabulary Mastery Course below. 

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

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