word of day For Members

French word of the day: Toc

The Local
The Local - ne[email protected] • 3 Sep, 2020 Updated Thu 3 Sep 2020 10:49 CEST
French word of the day: Toc

At the same time an interjection, an abbreviation and a noun, this is a (very) versatile word you’ll hear in a variety of different contexts.


Why do I need to know toc?

Because it’s a word with so many meanings that it can quickly become tricky.  

What does it mean?

Pronounced like in “tik tok” but without the tik, toc can be used under many circumstances.

TOC (when written in capital letters) stands for trouble obsessionel compulsif , which is French for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Though we you happen to hear in a conversation c’est du toc, (most likely a comment targeting a piece of jewellery or a bag), it has nothing to do with a mental condition but rather with the quality of the product the person is referring too. Technically, she is colloquially calling whatever you have on you “fake”.

When used two times, toc-toc is more of an onomatopoeia, miming the sound of a knock on the door. For example if your door is open but the person who wants to enter the room would like you to acknowledge her presence she would say toc-toc before stepping inside. It's the French version of “knock-knock”.

READ ALSO: The 8 noises that make you French



Same if you want to make a “knock-knock who’s there?” joke, use toc-toc, qui est là? when told in French.

Another singularity of toc is that it can become a verb.

If someone tells you quelqu’un a toqué à la porte it means “someone knocked on the door”. Be aware that written that way it can also mean other things depending on the context.

Spelled differently but pronounced the same, une toque is a chef’s hat whereas un toqué is either a person said to be nuts or very much in love with someone (both are informal).

Finally, just like bim, toc is an interjection that emphasises the fact that you have been proven right, generally while arguing with somebody else. An “Et toc!” is the equivalent of a “take that” or a “there who have it”.

Use it like this

J’ai des TOCs - I have OCD

Ta bague c’est du toc non ? - Your ring is fake, right?

Et toc ! Je te l’avais bien dit  - There, I told you so!

Toc-toc, est-ce que je peux entrer ? - Knock-knock, may I come in?

Paul est toqué de Jeanne - Paul is deeply in love with Jeanne

Paul est toqué - Paul is a bit crazy


Bim ! - In your face!

Frapper  - To knock

Pacotille (as in des bijoux de pacotille) - Cheap   


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also