French has numerous “why don’t we have actually a word because that that?” words and also even much more that are simply plain beautiful. This is a quick list of my 9 favorite French words.

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To it is in dépaysé (adj.) — “decountrified” — is come be the end of your element, to break or change your habits, to be disoriented. The noun dépaysement can be interpreted as culture shock, disorientation or adjust of scene. Dépayser can also be provided reflexively. For example, by using se dépayser,  you deserve to decountrify you yourself or break her habits. While you nothing literally have to leave your nation to leave your comfort zone, this word says a basic relationship in between your habits and your culture. It may be the really antidote to this following word —

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

Nombril is navel or ship button, so this native is precise “bellybuttonism” and roughly translates as self-centeredness, egoism, self-absorption, etc. It is petty and detail-oriented, concentrating top top a solitary issue come the exemption of every else, a particular kind the childishness. English additionally has “navel-gazing” by the way, however nombrilisme seems to capture so much an ext by elevating it to the status of a doctrine. It’s an -ism after ~ all!


And the doesn’t protect against at the individual bellybutton; it can refer come a collective, national navel-gazing, a tendency to called everything earlier to one’s own country, like nombrilisme américain or nombrilisme français. If you want to learn a international language you’re walk to have to stop gazing at her navel – acquire out there and also decountrify yourself!

3. Vachement (Adverb) – Very, Truly

When we research those symbols that lie in ~ the very heart that French society and identity, there is one that we cannot ignore: the cow – la vache. An pet so necessary to this nation of cheese and also cream the it has actually transcended description and also association to become an adverb, which have the right to be used to just around any verb or adjective because that emphasis.


The word is vachement, i beg your pardon literally translates to “cowly”, means very, extremely, truly – in other words a more colorful and emphatic très. Listen for it and also you will certainly hear it constantly! Yet, French speaker don’t it seems to be ~ to establish they are saying cowly. Vachement is part of the towel of everyday expression, its connection to la vache seemingly obscured, a testimony to the supreme ubiquity accomplished by the cow in France. It is all things and also no things.

4. Chauve-souris (Noun) – Bat

Chauve means bald and souris means mouse, therefore a chauve-souris (bat) is accurate a “bald mouse.” and while I deserve to somewhat understand the association, that seems choose its absence of hair is just one of the more mundane properties that distinguish the bat indigenous the mouse. What about flight, for example?! do not do it it be a souris volante (flying-mouse, which is similar to the German, Fledermaus)? possibly the person who gave the bat that French name encountered it because that the an initial time while it to be sleeping. Yet even then, you’d think “upside-down mouse” would come to mind before “bald mouse.” This is, at any kind of rate, a very strange computer mouse – vachement bizarre.


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

Are you feeling blue? down in the dumps? well my friend, the sounds favor you’ve acquired the cockroach. Avoir le cafard literally method “to have actually the cockroach.” and also really, who wouldn’t be emotion a tiny down if they were stuck with one of those things?


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

The noun chou method cabbage, and also a organize of various other vegetables when linked with certain other words: chou de Bruxelles (Brussels sprout), chou chinois (bok choy), chou-fleur (cauliflower), chou-rave (kohlrabi) and also the perform goes on. Yet cabbage in the French language transcends the only culinary. It deserve to be a term of endearment because that a kid (mon petit chou = my little cabbage), a infant (bout de chou = piece of cabbage) or because that a far-ranging other (je t’aime, mon chou ! = i love you, my cabbage!). Together an adjective it can mean adorable, lovely, cute, or sweet (keep the in mind the next time you room working out those flirting muscles):

Tu m’as apporté des fleurs ?! Comme tu es chou !(English: You brought me flowers?! how cabbage of you!)Regarde ce bébé-là, comme il est (vachement) chou !?(English: look at that baby, no he simply (cowly) cabbage!?)


7. Ronronner (Verb) – to Purr

The verb ronronner is no only wonderful practice for her French r-gargling, but by pronounce it properly you will already be doing the thing it describes: purring (like a cat) or humming (like an engine).


8. Coccinelle (Noun) – Ladybug/Ladybird

This word is simply plain fun to say. The springs soon from the soft palate and bounces ago before slithering out v the teeth, just to liquefy back throughout the whole palate. That takes her mouth on a one-word journey across five consonants and also three collection that room alternatingly sharp, bright, bouncy, and also fluid. And to what creature is bestowed the honor of this ecstatic word? Why the none various other than the humble ladybug to the Americans, ladybird to the British. And also whether you know it together ladybug or ladybird, ns think we deserve to all agree the this is a quite unimaginative method to refer to a polka-dotted paris thing. Francophones: 1, Anglophones: 0


9. Dépanneur (Noun) – Repair human being (European French); corner Store (Québécois French)

And finally, a shoutout to mine friends in Québec. A perform of all the impressive words and also expressions come be uncovered in Québécois French will have to wait because that the next article. In the meantime, ns leave you through dépanneur, by far not the most amazing or to chat French-Canadian word, however a favourite for an individual reasons. In standard French, a panne is a breakdown or failure of a machine. The verb dépanner means to fix, repair, mend, but takes on the wider meaning the to assist out or to pertained to the rescue. A dépanneur (in typical French) is by expansion a repair human or a mechanic.

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The Québécois take this idea come its logical conclusion: a dépanneur is the corner store whereby you buy her booze and also chips. A frequent panne that i encounter is absence of beer and also chips. In Montréal, the dépanneur was always there come help.