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French word of the day: Môme

French word of the day: Môme
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If you’ve watched the Academy Award winning movie starring Marion Cotillard you've probably already heard this word, but do you really know what it means?

Why do I need to know môme?

Because it is one of the many ways to describe a child in French.

What does it mean?

Môme is one of the many colloquial terms French has for 'child'.

Though the dictionary of Le Parisien defines it as “a young child between two and five years old”, it is common to use the term from birth to adolescence, although you wouldn't use it in a formal situation.

In the 1960s, the word was also used to designate a mistress or a girlfriend. C’est ta môme would then mean “it’s your girlfriend”. Léo Ferré even made a song about it and Jolie Môme is today considered to be one of his most well-know creations. You're probably better steering clear of this to describe your significant other these days though.

La Môme was also the nickname of French singer Edith Piaf. She was called this because of her petite figure – the result of a tough and often malnourished childhood – meant she could easily pass for a little girl.

Use it like this

J’ai déposé les mômes à l’école – I dropped off the kids at school

Il y a des mômes partout aujourd’hui – There are kids everywhere today

T’es un vrai môme – You’re such a child

Synonyms

Enfant – Child

Bambin – Toddler

Mioche – Kid (informal)

Moutard – Sprog (informal)

Chiard – Literally a “pooper” (vulgar)


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