For members


French word of the day – Ma biche

Need to spice up your vocabulary when addressing a lady friend? Here's one with particularly poetic roots.

French word of the day - Ma biche
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know ma biche?

Mon chat (my cat), poulette (little chicken) ma puce (my flea) – ma biche is yet another animal the French have turned into a way of expressing affection for each other. 

What does it mean?

Biche means ‘doe’ in English, but the expression ma biche is more like ‘darling’ or ‘love’.

It’s just for the ladies, but not necessarily for a lover. It can also be used when addressing a friend or family member.

Young French girls actually use it quite a lot between themselves.

However it's not a new expression. Ma biche was popularised in 1963 by the singer Frank Alamo in his song  “Biche ô ma biche.”

Biche was here referred to “the softness, elegance and grace of a doe,” according to the French online dictionary l'Internaute (so, as we see, it's not an unpleasant nickname to be associated with!)

Are there any alternatives to ma biche?

Yes! Plenty. Have a look here to see our list of favourite French terms of endearment (my little wolf, anyone?)

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
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.