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French Word of the Day: Teuf

If you do this every weekend, you might find yourself very tired on Monday mornings.

French Word of the Day: Teuf
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know teuf ?

Because you’ll want to know what you’re saying yes to if you are invited to one of these.

What does it mean?

Teuf – roughly pronounced tuhf – is French slang for “party” or “large event.” 

If someone asks you if you would like to ‘faire la teuf’ they are not asking if you are tough in build, and when you go to look up this word in the dictionary you might not find it. This is because teuf is a great example of French verlan, or slang terms whose syllables are pronounced in a reverse order to the word’s original dictation.

As for teuf, it is the verlan version of the word “fête” – which means party or celebration. With the first syllable being “feh” and the second being “tuh,” the informal version simply inverses them.

While you might assume that verlan would only be used by the younger generation – and it is true that words like teuf are common amongst French youth – the inversion of words to create slang has been around for several decades. 

Use it like this

C’était une énorme teuf, et tout le monde était invité. J’étais vraiment triste de le manquer. – It was a huge party and everyone was invited. I was very sad to miss it.

Vous allez faire la teuf ce soir ? Je peux vous rejoindre après avoir terminé mon travail. – Are you guys going to party tonight? I can join after I finish up at work.

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French phrase of the Day: Etre en PLS

This one can actually save someone's life.

French phrase of the Day: Etre en PLS

Why do I need to know être en PLS? 

Because it’s not quite as life-threatening as it sounds.

What does it mean 

Être en PLS or je suis en PLS – roughly pronounced zhe swee en pay el ess – literally means ‘I am in the PLS (Position Latérale de Sécurité)’, which is the medical position you put an unconscious victim in. In English you would usually say ‘the recovery position’.

However it’s real meaning is ‘I am tired’ or ‘I am disappointed in a situation’ or sometimes ‘I have a terrible hangover’ – it’s roughly equivalent to saying in English ‘I’m knackered’, ‘I’m broken’ or ‘I’m destroyed’ – but crucially it’s not used for really serious situations that might genuinely destroy your life. It’s an exaggerated complaint. 

This is a phrase common among young people. ‘En PLS‘ is used in its original form by rescue teams trying to save lives, but has recently entered Gen Z’s vocabulary to emphasise a complaint.

Use it like this 

Après cette réunion, je suis en PLS – I’m knackered [British English] after that meeting

J’ai trop bu hier soir, je suis en PLS – I drank too much last night, I’m broken

J’ai perdu mes clés de voiture, je suis en PLS – I lost my car keys, I’m so pissed off. 

You can also say 

Je suis au fond du gouffre – I am at the bottom of the abyss (another dramatic one, it means being disappointed)

Je suis dans le mal – I’m in trouble

Je ne me sens pas bien – I don’t feel good

Je suis KO – I’m exhausted [from the English sporting term KO – knock out]