Nine of our favourite French Words of the Day

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Nine of our favourite French Words of the Day

From a Spanish-sounding word to a shiny one, a swear word you can say in front of the children and the backhanded compliment that’s definitely not good to hear in French - here are some of our favourite French words and phrases 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:


No, we haven't done a Spanish Word of the Day by mistake, but this French word is commonly used and can easily confuse foreigners - as it means ‘yes’, but in a very specific and limited way.

Find out more, here.


English speakers of a certain disposition may consider this something of a backhanded compliment. A French speaker will not. Under any circumstance. 

We explain, here.


This casual French word is rarely taught in schools, but it’s frequently used, probably because just about everybody has to do it. 

Learn how to give it a workout here.

Crotte de bique

A family-friendly farmyard swear word when you want to say conneries, or merde, but you can’t because there are children around. 

Find out what it means, here.


Another playground favourite, this one. Good for when someone has ramped up the emotions all the way up to 11.

Find out more here.

Coûter un bras

Phrase inflation is a thing, who knew? This one is very similar to an English saying about the cost of certain things - but involves fewer body parts…

Check it out here.


A proper ‘dad’ word, this. 


As we explain, here

Un pavé dans la mare

Got explosive gossip? Want to set the scene with a dramatic opening shot, before telling a story that sends shockwaves through your audience?

We’ve got you covered…


The shiny response to the greeting question ça va? Just don’t get it mixed up with another word…

For a full explanation, click here.

And finally… some extra homework. French daily Le Parisien published a grammar quiz recently, aimed at native French speakers, to find out if they could find the grammar mistakes in everyday language that most people would not think twice about.


So, we thought that you could have a go, too.


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