For members


French word of the Day: Beurk

If you need a response to the offer of a kale smoothie instead of a croissant, this could be the perfect answer.

French word of the Day: Beurk

Why do I need to know beurk?

Childish to be sure, and maybe more of a sound than strictly speaking a word, you will nevertheless hear this frequently in France.

What does it mean?

It means yuk or eurgh or eww – basically the response to give if you find something disgusting or gross or foul.

So if you're discussing your least favourite vegetable you could say Beurk, la puanteur des choux de bruxelles – Yuk, the stink of Brussels sprouts.

Or if, like the below Twitter user, you're not fond of ginger.


It doesn't need to apply only to food though, you can use it to describe people (if you're feeling particularly hurtful and insensitive that is). 

Et donc il m'a invité à prendre un verre mais j'étais genre, beurk – And so he asked me out for a drink, but I was like, eurgh.

As should hopefully be clear from the context, this is not exactly a polite phrase so we wouldn't advise using it to your host at dinner, for example.

If a simple non merci is not enough to decline an offer, you could say that c'est pas mon truc – it's not my thing – to explain that although you're sure their wheatgrass and kale smoothie is delicious you might stick with a cup of tea this time.

If you'd like to learn more French sounds such as miam, paf and ron-ron, click here.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Chanter faux

This is definitely not lip synching.

French Expression of the Day: Chanter faux

Why do I need to know Chanter faux ?

Because if you were not blessed with a beautiful singing voice, then this might be a good phrase to know. 

What does it mean?

Chanter faux – pronounced shahn-tay foe – literally means to ‘fake sing.’ You might assume this expression would mean ‘lip sync’ in French, but its true meaning is to sing out of tune. (Lip synching is chanter en playback).

It joins a chorus of other French expressions about bad singing, like chanter comme une casserole (to sing like a saucepan) or chanter comme une seringue (to sing like a siren).  

Chanter faux is actually the most correct way to describe someone being off key, so it might be a better option than comparing another’s voice to a cooking utensil. 

You might have seen this expression pop up recently amid the drought, as people call for rain dances and rain singing (where there is no shame in singing badly).

Use it like this

Pendant l’audition pour la pièce, Sarah a chanté faux. Malheureusement, elle n’a pas obtenu le rôle. – During her audition for the play, Sarah sang out of tune. Sadly, she did not get a role.

Si on fait un karaoké, tu verras comme je chante mal. Je chante vraiment faux, mais je m’en fiche. Il s’agit de s’amuser. – If we do karaoke you will see how badly I sing. I am really out of tune, but I don’t care. It’s all about having fun.