French has actually many type of “why don’t we have a word for that?” words and also even even more that are simply ordinary beautiful. Here’s a short list of my 9 favorite French words.

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To be dépaysé (adj.) — “decountrified” — is to be out of your facet, to break or readjust your habits, to be disoriented. The noun dépaysement have the right to be analyzed as society shock, disorientation or adjust of scene. Dépayser have the right to likewise be used reflexively. For example, by using se dépayser,  you can decountrify yourself or break your habits. While you don’t literally need to leave your country to leave your comfort zone, this word argues a fundamental relationship in between your habits and your culture. It may be the extremely antidote to this following word —

2. Nombrilisme (Noun) – Self-Centeredness, Egoism, Self-Absorption

Nombril is navel or belly switch, so this word is literally “bellybuttonism” and approximately equates as self-centeredness, egoism, self-absorption, and so on It is petty and detail-oriented, concentrating on a single problem to the exclusion of all else, a certain kind of childishness. English additionally has actually “navel-gazing” by the means, yet nombrilisme appears to capture so much more by elevating it to the standing of a doctrine. It’s an -ism after all!


And it doesn’t soptimal at the individual bellybutton; it can describe a collective, national navel-gazing, a tendency to relate everything ago to one’s very own nation, like nombrilisme américain or nombrilisme français. If you want to learn a foreign language you’re going to need to speak gazing at your navel – get out tbelow and also decountrify yourself!

3. Vachement (Adverb) – Very, Truly

When we examine those icons that lie at the exceptionally heart of French society and also identification, there is one that we cannot ignore: the cow – la vache. An animal so necessary to this nation of cheese and cream that it has transcfinished description and association to become an adverb, which have the right to be applied to simply around any kind of verb or adjective for emphasis.


The word is vachement, which literally equates to “cowly”, implies incredibly, exceptionally, truly – in other words a more colorful and emphatic très. Listen for it and you will hear it constantly! Yet, French speakers don’t seem to realize they are saying cowly. Vachement is component of the fabric of day-to-day expression, its connection to la vache seemingly obscured, a testament to the supreme ubiquity completed by the cow in France. It is all things and also no points.

4. Chauve-souris (Noun) – Bat

Chauve means bald and souris means computer mouse, so a chauve-souris (bat) is literally a “bald mouse.” And while I have the right to rather understand also the association, it seems favor its absence of hair is one of the more mundane traits that distinguish the bat from the mouse. What about trip, for example?! Shouldn’t it be a souris volante (flying-mouse, which is comparable to the Germale, Fledermaus)? Maybe the perchild who provided the bat its French name encountered it for the initially time while it was sleeping. But also then, you’d think “upside-down mouse” would come to mind before “bald computer mouse.” This is, at any type of price, an extremely stvariety mouse – vachement bizarre.


5. Avoir le cafard (Idiom) – To Be Depressed

Are you feeling blue? Dvery own in the dumps? Well my frifinish, it sounds choose you’ve got the cockroach. Avoir le cafard literally indicates “to have actually the cockroach.” And really, who wouldn’t be feeling a tiny down if they were stuck with among those things?


6. Chou (Noun) – Cabbage; (Adj.) – Cute

The noun chou implies cabbage, and also a organize of various other vegetables once combined through particular various other words: chou de Bruxelles (Brussels sprout), chou chinois (bok choy), chou-fleur (cauliflower), chou-rave (kohlrabi) and the list goes on. But cabbage in the French language transcends the mere culinary. It can be a term of endearment for a boy (mon petit chou = my little bit cabbage), a baby (bout de chou = piece of cabbage) or for a significant various other (je t’aime, mon chou ! = I love you, my cabbage!). As an adjective it deserve to suppose adorable, lovely, cute, or sweet (store that in mind the next time you are working out those flirting muscles):

Tu m’as apporté des fleurs ?! Comme tu es chou !(English: You lugged me flowers?! How cabbage of you!)Regarde ce bébé-là, comme il est (vachement) chou !?(English: Look at that baby, isn’t he just (cowly) cabbage!?)


7. Ronronner (Verb) – To Purr

The verb ronronner is not just wonderful exercise for your French r-gargling, however by pronouncing it appropriately you will certainly currently be doing the thing it describes: purring (choose a cat) or humming (choose an engine).


8. Coccinelle (Noun) – Ladybug/Ladybird

This word is simply ordinary fun to say. It springs forth from the soft palate and also bounces back before slithering out via the teeth, only to liquefy earlier across the whole palate. It takes your mouth on a one-word journey throughout 5 consonants and also 3 vowels that are alternatingly sharp, bright, bouncy, and also liquid. And to what creature is bestowed the honor of this ecstatic word? Why it’s none other than the humble ladybug to the Americans, ladybird to the British. And whether you understand it as ladybug or ladybird, I think we can all agree that this is a pretty unimaginative means to describe a polka-dotted flying point. Francophones: 1, Anglophones: 0


9. Dépanneur (Noun) – Repair Human being (European French); Corner Store (Québécois French)

And finally, a shoutout to my friends in Québec. A list of all the remarkable words and also expressions to be discovered in Québécois French will need to wait for the next article. In the meantime, I leave you through dépanneur, by far not the most interesting or entertaining French-Canadian word, but a favorite for personal reasons. In traditional French, a panne is a failure or faiattract of an equipment. The verb dépanner means to solve, repair, mend, yet takes on the wider interpretation of to aid out or to pertained to the rescue. A dépanneur (in typical French) is by expansion a repair perchild or a mechanic.

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The Québécois take this principle to its logical conclusion: a dépanneur is the edge store wbelow you buy your booze and also chips. A frequent panne that I enrespond to is lack of beer and chips. In Montréal, the dépanneur was constantly tright here to help.