8 of our favourite French words of the day

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8 of our favourite French words of the day

From the French for portmanteau, to cute words for dogs and a confusing word, another you assume you know and another still that’s pretty obvious, here's a roundup of some of our favourite French words and expressions of the day.


Every weekday, The Local publishes a French word or phrase of the day. The emphasis is on slang, colloquialisms and occasional swearing. Our aim is to introduce readers to the words and phrases that they probably won’t learn in French class, but they definitely will hear during the course of everyday life in France.

We've been publishing a daily word since 2018, so by now we have a fairly hefty back catalogue - you can find it HERE. Members of The Local can also sign up to our Word of the Day mailing list and get each day's word or phrase delivered straight to your mailbox.

Here are some of our recent favourites; 



You’d think the French for a portmanteau word - one created by mixing up two other words, such as Brexit, or bromance - would be portmanteau. It is after all, a portmanteau word and French. But it’s not - in French it is known as a 'suitcase word' or mot-valise.

Read all about the portmanteau word that is French for portmanteau, here


Toutou does not have anything to do with ballet, and though it might look like ‘everything, everything’ (tous tous), it is actually the French diminutive for dog - in English we might say 'doggie'.

Unlike ‘doggie’, you can also use toutou for other purposes, as we explain.


Obvie may be useful for this year’s bac students as they prepare for their upcoming philosophy exam, as it describes something that is self-evident, whose meaning and understanding is clear.

It’s obvious, if you think about it, but be careful not to fall into the 'obvious' French trap . . .


Pronouncing this word is, perhaps, slightly less obvious - though it is perfectly poetic. Appropriately for a word that challenges French and foreign spellers alike, it means confusion. Specifically it means confusion, disorder or a complicated and unwanted situation that’s difficult to understand. Like the state of your teenager’s bedroom…

Find out more, including how to say embrouillamini, here.


And, don't assume that you know what this means, either - because it's a sneaky 'false friend' - the verb assumer looks and sounds like the English 'assume', but it means something quite different - to 'admit' or 'accept' something, depending on context.

Learn more, here.



Bravery takes many forms - not least in French, where it can also mean ‘good luck’, or ‘hope [specific thing] goes well”.

You’ll likely hear it said before exams, a dentist's appointment or as you take your lottery ticket - or simply as a synonym for 'hope it goes well', if for example you're off for a session in the gym, as a shortened form of bon courage.

Read more here.


Intox is a diminutive of the word intoxication, which means what you’d expect with respect to drink and drugs. But it is more often used these days to describe the spreading of biased or misleading information and falsehoods packaged as fact. Because of its etymological links to the word intoxication, it reveals how ‘fake news’ can poison minds in a poetic - and very French - manner.

Get the info on intox here.


There’s a French word for a group of brothers (fratrie), and a French word for a group of sisters (sororie). And there’s a word for a group made up of brothers AND sisters. This is it.

Find out more about adelphie here


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