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French word of the day: Kiffer

French word of the day: Kiffer
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This slang expression is so commonly used that most people have forgotten that it really isn't French at all.

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.

Origins

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?

Synonyms

J'adore – I adore/love 

J'aime – I love/like

Être fou de quelque chose – being crazy about something


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