10 French phrases that will let you have a good gossip

10 French phrases that will let you have a good gossip
You'll never guess what she said last night . . . Photo: AFP
As cafés reopen and we can meet up with friends again it's time to resurrect a true pleasure - having a good old gossip, writes Llayne Stanfield.

The French, like everyone else, enjoy a good gossip about friends, colleagues, families, celebrities and enemies and it's a good way to fit in if you can join in the chat.

The French word bavarder means to chat or to gossip, but there are a couple of more informal options too.


Here's to gossiping, it's just not the same on zoom. Photo: AFP

Les potins means the gossip, so you could say

J'ai rencontré des vieux amis et on s'est raconté tous les vieux potins – I met up with some old friends and we had a right good gossip.

Les filles c'est quoi les derniers potins – Hey girls, what's the latest gossip?

This word is the nicer way of saying gossip, in the sense of a good catch-up of news and chat.

In the more malicious sense of gossip is le ragot, which means cruel, damaging and possibly untrue rumours.

Il n'y a que très peu de vrai dans les ragots de Jean-Marie – There's very little truth in the gossip spread by Jean-Marie

While if you are a woman well known for your tattling tongue, you risk being known as une commère – a gossip.

Other options for the person who is always first with the news include concierge – from the classic stereotype of the building caretaker who is constantly spying on her neighbours – and the more informal une pipelette (a feminine word again – sexistes, les français?)

So now you know how to describe it, here's some phrases to help you get stuck right in to a gossiping session over your coffee and baba au rhum.

1. Il serait trop paresseux/ stupide/ pour ce projet – He'd be much too ​lazy​/ stupid for that project.

2. Allons, ne sois pas bête, dis-nous – Come on, don't be ​silly, spill.

3. Ça explique ton comportement grincheux d'hier soir –  That's why you were ​so ​crabby last night.

4. On m'a dit que t'étais lunatique – I was told you were a ​lunatic​.

5. II semble tellement innocent, presque délibérément naïf – He seems so innocent, almost deliberately ​naive​.

6. Quel mec prévenant, compréhensif et gentil – What a considerate, ​understanding​ and kind guy.

7. Il restait absolument calme et serein alors que tout le monde criait – He was completely ​calm​ and unfrazzled as everyone yelled and screamed.

8. Ambitieux, cultivé, et honnête, tu dois rencontre François – Ambitious​, educated, and honest, you've got to meet François.

9. Desolé, j'ai été malpoli, égoïste et insultant – Sorry, I was being rude, ​selfish​ and disrespectful.

10. Elle est magnifique, Antoine, et très charismatique – She is beautiful, Antoine, and so ​charismatic​.

If you're worried about falling out with your friends or colleagues you could always confine your gossip to celebrities, politicians' sex tapes or other outrages – here is our guide to some of France's biggest scandals

As a trained actor and language coach, obtaining a good French accent is a focal point for Llyane Stanfield’s online classes, in addition to conversation fluidity. Passionate learner, Llyane likes to put herself in her students’ shoes, and she is currently in training for holding the Higher Education Teaching Certificate at Harvard University. She offers private classes by Skype/Zoom, which you can preview in her free French Crash Course for Easy Conversation guide. Find out more here.

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