la joie de vivre

From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!

Some funny French words

Even though I’ve been here for a while, I have some favorite French words/phrases that still make me giggle. And because of that, these words have been very quick and easy to learn with some rather interesting visuals!

mon petit chouchou: “chou” literally means cabbage, but the phrase is a pet name, like sweetie. When used in the context of school (le chouchou de la classe), it means teacher’s pet. But whenever I think of it, I always picture a cabbage, usually a cute one:


une bagette magique literally means “a magic baguette”, which always makes me giggle because I imagine a piece of bread sparkling with fairy dust. But together it means “magic wand”, like the one you see with fairy godmothers or the the tooth fairy.

une affiche means “a poster”, but it sounds like “a fish” (affiche = “Ah-feesh”). So I always picture a poster of a fish, usually a girly one (it is a feminine noun, after all!):

un poisson means “a fish”, but it sounds and looks more like poison (poisson =”pwah-sown”). The picture that pops up in my mind, then, is usually a dead (poisoned) fish. A useful mnemonic but not such a good appetizer!

une piscine is a pool, but when I pronounce it (“peace-een”) or read it, all I can think of is pee! But that makes the word easier to remember, actually, because that’s what little kids tend to do in pools (piss in la piscine! oh là là…)

blablater: is the verb “to blah blah blah”! But in French, “blah” is “bla”. Je blablate, tu blablates, il blablate…

allez, viens!: literally “go, come”; it’s meaning is something closer to “come on!”. It’s pretty common to hear this in dialog – so much that some one made a spoof off of it! And because of this video, now I smile whenever I hear anyone say it:

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One comment on “Some funny French words

  1. Dawn
    October 21, 2013

    Ha Ha I totally agree with you
    French is a funny language
    I have my french exam tomorrow

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2012 by in French words and tagged .
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