French Expression of the Day: J’ai les crocs

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French Expression of the Day: J’ai les crocs
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

No, this doesn't refer to the inexplicably popular plastic sandals.


Why do I need to know j’ai les crocs?

Because you might be confused by your French friend randomly telling you about a type of footwear they own.

What does it mean?

J’ai les crocs – roughly pronounced jay lay crow –  translates precisely to “I have fangs.”

But don't worry, your friend has not become a vampire, this is actually a colloquialism to describe being “very hungry” or “starving.” In English, a similar comparison might be “hungry like a wolf.”


You might pass by advertisements for fast food using this expression to entice you to come buy a delicious burger, or your friend might tell you that they cannot bear to wait in the restaurant’s long line because they are simply too hungry.

Either way, the expression is a popular way to describe hunger, and it can be used figuratively too. Like in English, you can say you are ‘hungry’ for something besides food.

As the French footballer Olivier Giroud recently said, “J’ai les crocs comme à mes 20 ans” (I am just as hungry [for a win] as when I was in my 20s) when referring to his desire to win the World Cup. 

The expression is colloquial and casual but not rude, and it has been particularly popular since the early 2000s. 

Use it like this

Je ne sais pas si je peux faire la queue pendant 30 minutes. Je préférerais aller dans un restaurant où on peut s’asseoir tout de suite parce que j’ai les crocs. – I don’t think I can wait in a 30-minute line. I would prefer to go to a restaurant where we can sit down right away because I’m starving.

J’ai toujours les crocs juste avant le déjeuner. – I am always starving just before lunch time.


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