For members


French word of the day: Gosse

For kids, brats and French pretty-boys.

French word of the day: Gosse
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know gosse?

Because you want to appreciate when someone calls you a beau/belle gosse.

What does it mean?

Gosse means 'kid' or 'not adult'. It's a slang way of saying enfant, similar to gamin.

It can be used on both girls or boys, and isn't limited to small children.

You can use it to say that someone isn't mature

C'était une gosse de 15 ans quoi – She was a kid of only 15.

Or as a referral to someone's children

Ils ont trois gosses – They have three kids.

Add sale (dirty) and it becomes a common insult

J'en ai marre de vous, sales gosses! – I'm sick of you brats! 


Beau gosse, on the other hand, means ‘good looking’ (belle gosse for women).

You can shorten it down to BG and it's roughly equivalent to 'pretty boy'.

As in English, this can be either a compliment or an insult depending on how you use it.

So you might use it admiringly to discuss how Christiano Ronaldo's hair stays in place for 80 minutes during a football game, or you might also use it dismissively to suggest that while Christiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly very pretty, he might also not be troubling MENSA for membership any time soon.

Use it about yourself

Je me sentais tellement beau gosse. – I felt so good looking.


Or as a caption

Quand tu sais que tu es beau gosse. – When you know that you’re good looking.


Or about your favourite four-legged companion

Ou quand ton chien est trop beau gosse. – When your dog is just too good looking.



Other ways of saying gosse are gamin, enfant, bambin, mome or marmot.

Don’t use it like this..

If you travel to Canada, be a little careful when saying gosse. For the québécois, gosse can also refer to ‘annoying’ or a vulgar slang expression meaning ‘testicles’.


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For members


French Word of the Day: Beigne

This word is not actually just a shortened version of the pastry.

French Word of the Day: Beigne

Why do I need to know Beigne ?

Because if someone says they want to give you this word, you might either be very happy or in a lot of pain.

What does it mean?

Beigne – pronounced ben-yuh – is the literal translation for a “European doughnut” in French, even though the word looks similar to the other pastry, a beignet

However, the slang version of this term refers to a ‘blow that causes swelling’ – ie a hit or a punch. If you are looking for a synonym, you could also use the French word ‘coup.’

You can decipher between the pastry and the punch by checking whether the word is in masculine or feminine.

The masculine version (un beigne) is the word for a doughnut with a hole in the middle (un beignet is the round doughnut with no hole, and often a filling) whereas the feminine version (une beigne) means a hit or blow. Though, context clues ought to help you figure it out.

The words are interconnected. ‘Beigne‘ dates all the way back to the 13th century in France, and it referred to a ball of dough fried in butter. The slang term supposedly arose from the practice of punching a hole in the dough so that it would cook more evenly.

These days, une beigne can be both a physical and metaphorical ‘hit.’

An example of the latter would be when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a vote of no-confidence from his party – some French newspapers responded by running headlines of the Big Beigne (a play on words with Big Ben) to joke about the blow the former PM received.

Be careful using this word outside of France though, as in French Canada the term has a bit of a different meaning. En Québécois, it can be taken as an insult, similar to calling someone an idiot. Additionally, the phrase in Quebec “se pogner le beigne” means ‘to do nothing’ or to ‘twiddle your thumbs.’

Use it like this

Il a reçu une beigne au visage après avoir insulté la mère de l’autre homme. – He took a punch to the face after insulting the other man’s mother.

Tu sais comment faire des beignes ? On pourrait essayer d’en faire ensemble le week-end prochain. – Do you know how to make doughnuts? Would you like to make some together next weekend?

Pour échapper à un requin, il faut lui donner une beigne dans le nez. – To escape a shark, you have to give him a blow to the nose.