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French word of the day: Kiffer

This slang expression is so commonly used that most people have forgotten that it really isn't French at all.

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

Why do I need to know kiffer?

Despite its non-French origins, if there were a list of 10 slang expressions a French learner should know, kiffer would be on it.

What does it mean?

Kiffer is argot, French slang, and means 'to love' in English.

However, if someone tells you je te kiffe instead of je t'aime for I love you, it might be wise to hold off planning the wedding just yet.

Kiffer is a way of saying that you're 'very into' someone or something, but it's not really the way to express deep, durable love. 

Kiffer can also be translated as 'being crazy about' someone or something, or just 'liking' someone or something 'a lot'. 

Un kif is 'a hobby' that you enjoy doing, the opposite of a chore you dislike.


Kiffer comes from Arabic and means amusement, 'fun' or 'diversion' in English. At its origins kiffer allegedly expressed the joy of smoking hashish. 

That was long ago and since then the expression has become so common in the French language that many French have no idea about what it really means – this is the case for many non-French 'French' words and expressions.

READ ALSO: 11 'French' words that aren't really French at all

Use it like this

Je kiffe ! – I love (it)!

On kiffe, non ? – It's great, isn't it?

Je me suis coupée les cheveux, tu kiffes ? – I got a haircut, do you like it?

Franchement je kiffe trop cet album, c'est un truc de dingue. Faut kiffer le rock, par contre. – Frankly I love this album so much, it's incredible. You have to be into rock, though.

Elle ne kiffe pas trop quand je rentre tard pendant la semaine. – She doesn't like it when I come home late during the week.

Il n'a pas kiffé le restaurant où on a été la dernière fois, on peut tester l'indien du coin ? – He wasn't over the moon about the restaurant we tried last time, could we try the Indian one on the corner?


J'adore – I adore/love 

J'aime – I love/like

Être fou de quelque chose – being crazy about something

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

This type of person knows what they like, and more importantly, what they don't like.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

Why do I need to know avoir des idées arrêtées ?

Because your friend who will only watch certain movie genres might be described this way.

What does it mean?

Avoir des idées arrêtées roughly pronounced ah vwar dayz ee-day arr-eh-tay –  translates precisely to “to have stopped ideas.” 

In its normal usage, the phrase translates more accurately as “to have strong opinions” or “to have fixed ideas” – being uncompromising in your one’s viewpoints. 

Another way to describe this type of person in French might be “catégorique” (or ‘categorical’ in English). 

You might also hear this expression as “des idées bien arrêtées” – meaning someone who has ‘very’ strong opinions. Depending on context, this phrase might have a bit of a negative connotation, particularly if it is being used to portray someone as being stubborn.

Use it like this

Elle a des idées arrêtées sur les films, comme elle refuse de regarder tout autre film que ceux de Marvel. Elle ne veut même pas regarder les films DC. – She has very strong opinions about films, for instance she only watches Marvel movies. She won’t even watch DC movies.

Tout le monde dit qu’il a des opinions arrêtées, mais je l’ai trouvé flexible sur certaines choses… comme le choix d’un restaurant. – Everyone says he is uncompromising, but I find him to be flexible on some things, like choosing a restaurant.