Advertisement

French Word of the Day: Mon pote

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
French Word of the Day: Mon pote
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Feeling convivial or well disposed towards a French person? It might be time to test out this French expression.

Advertisement

Why do I need to know mon pote?

Because if you've been in France for a while, then you will (hopefully) start to make friends and that's where this word will come in handy.

What does it mean?

Mon pote - roughly pronounced mohn poat - is a slang term for friend, so it's similar to mate, buddy, pal, chum, bessie or crony.

So if you reckon you've clicked with someone you can describe them as mon pote (my friend) or even mon meilleur pote (my best friend) if you know them pretty well.

The word stays the same in the feminine, so a female friend would be ma pote and if you have more than one friend (lucky you) they would be mes potes.

Just like in English, French has lots of different options for describing the people close to you. If you are looking for an alternative to the casual pote, you might try the more formal ami or amie - though this usually means someone you are very close to. To describe an acquaintance, or someone you don't know well, you might describe them as a connaissance.

Advertisement

Some of the other slang terms to refer to friends also work as a reference to romantic or sexual partners too, so context is always important.

The other terms you might hear are mec, meuf and copain.

Mec is used for men and again can be used for talking about someone or to them, so ça va, mec? would roughly translate as 'Alright mate?'

But if you said Mon nouveau mec est tellement chaud (My new bloke is so hot) you'd be talking about a romantic attachment rather than a friend.

The female equivalent is meuf - a Verlan version of femme (woman). In the past, this term has been used more by men to talk about women, and can be considered slightly sexist - it would be like calling someone a chick or a honey. 

In recent years though it has been reclaimed by women and you will frequently hear younger girls referring to - mes meufs (my gal pals) or greeting each other with ça va, meuf - OK love?

Likewise copain means mate. You might hear someone say: J'ai rendez-vous avec mes copains à la gare - I'm meeting my mates at the station.

Advertisement

But if someone refers to mon copain or ma copine it's likely they're talking about a romantic partner. The word is generally favoured by slightly older couples who are in a long term relationship but aren't married.

Use it like this

Mon pote n'arrêtait pas de me rabattre les oreilles avec ce groupe - My buddy was going on and on about this band.

Céline est ma meilleur pote - Céline is my best friend.

Tu veux venir au match? Désolé mon pote, je suis occupé - Do you want to come to the match? Sorry mate, I'm busy.

Tu vas te faire engueuler par ta nana, mon pote - You're going to get a telling off from your missus, pal.

More

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

[email protected] 2019/11/08 00:25
As a person who would like an extended stay in France, it would be helpful to know how to pronounce these words as to not offend the Francois!

See Also