For members


French word of the day: Fric

Sometimes in French, all you need is a little fric.

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

Why do I need to know fric?

Because it's one of those common slang expressions that's useful to know.

What does it mean?

Not to be confused with flic (cop), fric is a French slang expression that means 'money' or 'cash'.

Avoir du fric – to have money.


Where the expression comes from is uncertain, but French newspaper Figaro draws a line back to the 15th Century when fricasser was a verb used about form for cooking. Later, fricot was used about a stew of meat and/or veggies that were (over)cooked in a stew.

Le Figaro leaves it at at that, concluding that while fric is a mystery, it's something you need for festive activities – such as enjoying a big stew. Okay then.

And today there's no doubt that fric is all about the money.

Use it like this

C'est €2 pour la machine à café, tu as du fric ? – It's €2 for the coffee machine, do you have cash?

Achêter un appartement à Paris.. il faut du fric pour ça ! – Buying an apartment in Paris.. you need money for that! 

Tu veux venir au casino avec nous ce soir ? Je ne peux pas, je n'ai plus de fric. – Do you want to come to the casino with us tonight? I can't, I'm out of money.


De l'argent – money

Des sous – coins

De la thune – money

Du blé – cash


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

This expression is more than just your last order at the boulangerie.

French Expression of the Day: Tarte à la crème

Why do I need to know tarte à la crème ?

Because if someone uses this phrase to describe you, you should probably be a bit offended.

What does it mean?

Tarte à la crème – pronounced tart ah lah krem – literally refers to a cream filled tart, or a custard tart, in English. However, this expression has more to do than just baking. It is another way of describing something that is boring, predictable or commonplace.

This expression comes straight from Moliere himself. In the 17th century, there was a popular rhyming game called “Corbillon.” The phrase “Je vous passe mon corbillon” (I pass you by corbillon) is said, and then it is followed by “Qu’y met-on?” (What does one put on it?) To keep the rhyme up, people must respond with something ending in an -ON sound.

In the play, “L’Ecole des Femmes” (The School of Wives), one character says the ideal woman would respond to the question with “tarte à la crème” which is obviously the wrong answer. The right answer would be tarte à la citron (lemon tart). Molière did this on purpose to poke fun at the fact that disgruntled fans would send poor actors cream tarts to express their frustration.

It was a way of ridiculing his critics and showing he was unimpressed by their method of showing discontentment at his plays. Over time, the phrase went on to describe things that are commonplace or boring. It is often used to describe entertainment related topics, such as books, movies, or plays.

A synonym for this phrase in French might be banal and in English you might say something is ‘vanilla’ to describe something that is fairly unexciting.

Use it like this

Le film était vraiment tarte à la crème. Je ne recommande pas d’aller le voir au cinéma, vous pouvez attendre de le voir une fois qu’il sera gratuit en ligne. – The movie was really boring. I don’t recommend going to see it at the movies, you can simply wait to see it once it is free online.

Je pense que l’album est tarte à la crème. Elle a pris tellement d’idées d’autres artistes que ce n’est vraiment pas original du tout. – I think the album is predictable. She really took plenty of ideas from other artists and it was not original at all.