Why have we chosen un truc de ouf?
It is an expression you'll hear out and about all the time in France and like a lot of common expressions, it's not one you're likely to come cross in French class.
In fact, it's such a common expression that it's even used in news headlines (see below).
So, what does “un truc de ouf” mean?
Breaking the expression down, the word truc is commonly used to mean 'thing' or 'thingymajig'. You might hear someone say c’est où le truc? (where’s the thingy gone?) if they can’t find something, and also can’t remember the word for what they have lost.
The ouf part of this expression is verlan, a common French form of slang which involves mixing the letters in a word to create a new word with a similar meaning. Rearrange the letters in ouf and you get fou which is the normal French word for 'crazy'.
This might make you think un truc de ouf, literally, 'a crazy thing', has negative connotations, but it’s actually used (most often by younger French people) to describe something exceptional, or out of the ordinary, often in a positive way.
This versatile expression can be used informally to describe an event, a place, an experience, a great deal… basically anything you find exceptional.
It is a variation of un truc de fou, (and related to the phrase une histoire de fou or 'a crazy story', although this expression has more negative connotations).
How can I use un truc de ouf in conversation?
If you saw a film that really blew your mind you might say, c’était un truc de ouf! (It was so good!).
Or, to describe a negative experience you might say Je suis bloqué dans un embouteillage, dépuis 8h. C’est un truc de ouf! (I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam since 8 am. It’s crazy.)
From the headlines above:
Bac. Un truc de ouf. – The baccalaureate. A crazy thing.
Un truc de ouf! Le reve eveille des Bleus champions du monde – A crazy thing! The waking dream of the Blues — champions of the world
And some other examples:
Il m’est arrivé un truc de ouf. – Something crazy happened to me.
Je cherchais un hotel en ligne et j’ai trouvé un truc de ouf! – I was looking for a hotel online and I found an amazing place!