French Expression of the Day: Juste un croc

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French Expression of the Day: Juste un croc
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French expression involves neither the comfortable shoe nor the salt-water cousins of alligators.


Why do I need to know juste un croc?

Because you might want one of these in between lunch and dinner.

What does it mean?

Juste un croc - roughly pronounced say joost uhn croc - is the French way to say ‘just a bite’ or ‘just a snack’ - meaning something to eat, but only a small thing.

As such, if your friend says they want to stop at a fast food joint for juste un croc they’re saying that they want a small bite to eat before continuing.

A synonym might be manger un morceau, which also means to eat a small quantity.

The expression uses the word croc, which officially is the term for ‘the pointed canine teeth of certain mammals, which protrude well beyond neighbouring teeth'. 


Over time, people have begun using croc to refer to human teeth as well, not just those belonging to animals.

As teeth are used for chewing, you’ll see croc employed in a number of hunger/food related expressions in French.

One common example is avoir les crocs which means to be starving or really hungry.

Similarly, the verb croquer means to take a bite out of something. Usually, it is implied that the bite made noise, so perhaps you crunched on a biscuit or carrot.

The most bizarre croquer phrase is 'un croque-mort', which is a slang term for someone who works as an undertaker. It's said to derive from the supposed Medieval tradition of biting a corpse's big toe, to check whether they were really dead before burial.

Use it like this

J’ai pas besoin d'un grand repas, juste un croc avant d'aller à la fête. - I don’t need a full meal, just a bite before going to the party.

Je m'arrêterai à la station-service pour prendre des frites, j'ai pas besoin d'un gros burger, juste un croc. - I am going to stop at the service station for some chips. I don’t need a big burger, just a snack.


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Adrian 2024/01/25 10:44
Ah, this explains the phrase in colloquial English 'A crock of s**t'

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