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French expression of the day: Faire la meuf/le mec

If you think someone is being overly confident, this bit of slang may come in handy.

French expression of the day: Faire la meuf/le mec
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know faire la meuf/le mec?

Because it's a common expression that doesn't really make sense unless you know what it means.

What does it mean?

Meuf is verlan for femme. Verlan, as you might know, is French argot constructed by reversing the order of syllables in a word.

Mec means ‘guy’. This slang expression is used to say that someone is showing off, or flaunting themselves.

You may often hear it as (ne) fais pas ta meuf – stop behaving like a woman – but “woman” here is more than just “female human”, it implies boasting or acting cocky.

There's not really a great English equivalent, but when you hear this in a French context, you will know what it means.

It is usually used with le/la but it may also be used with the possessive ton/ta  faire ta meuf or faire ton mec.

Use it like this

Fais pas ta meuf – Stop showing off

Il fait trop le mec – He’s such a show-off

Fais pas le mec avec moi ! – Don’t get cocky with me!

Elle fait trop la meuf cool alors que pas du tout ! – She's pretending to be cool but she's not at all!


Se la péter – to show off

Se vanter – to brag

Se prendre pour un ouf – Thinking you are amazing



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For members


French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

This might look like a mix of Spanish and French, but it is definitely not Franish.

French Expression of the Day: Mettre le holà

Why do I need to know mettre le holà?

Because you might need to do this if your friends go from laughing with you to laughing at you. 

What does it mean?

Mettre le holà – pronounced meh-truh luh oh-la – literally means to put the ‘holà’ on something. You might be thinking this must be some clever mix of Spanish and French, but ‘holà’ actually has nothing to do with the Spanish greeting. 

This expression is a way to say that’s enough – or to ‘put the brakes on something.’

If a situation appears to be agitated, and you feel the need to intervene in order to help calm things down, then this might be the expression you would use. Another way of saying it in English might be to ‘put the kibosh on it.’

While the origins of ‘kibosh’ appear to be unknown, ‘holà’ goes back to the 14th century in France. Back then, people would shout “Ho! Qui va là?” (Oh, who goes there?) as an interjection to call someone out or challenge them. 

Over time this transformed into the simple holà, which you might hear on the streets, particularly if you engage in some risky jaywalking. 

A French synonym for this expression is ‘freiner’ – which literally means ‘to break’ or ‘put the brakes on,’ and can be used figuratively as well as literally. 

Use it like this

Tu aurais dû mettre le holà tout de suite. Cette conversation a duré bien trop longtemps, et il était si offensif. – You should have put a stop to that immediately. That conversation went on for too long, and he was so offensive. 

J’ai essayé de mettre le holà à la blague sur ma mère, mais ils étaient sans pitié. – I tried to put a stop to the joke about my mother, but they were merciless.