A Backpacker's Guide to Paris Slang

Speak like a local with these 15 Parisian slang terms

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  • 14 September 2017
  • • 6 min read


Sometimes travelling in a country where people don’t speak the same language as you can be difficult. It can be even worse when they start using slang! But don’t worry, we’ve summed up the top 15 most common slang words used in Paris to help you understand the youths of the French capital. Parisian slang is pretty different to other forms of slang spoken around France...so this may even be handy for some of you French residents planning a trip to the City of Lights...


Oklm, pronounced “Au calme” is used by young people to describe something that they are doing which is cool, calm and fresh. On Instragram, teenagers use the #oklm a lot when they are relaxing. Such as : “Une belle balade ce soir #oklm” meaning “A nice stroll this evening #chilled”.


Chiant (for males) and chiante ( for females) means annoying in English. Relou, another word with the same meaning is also used a lot in French slang. “Relou” comes from the word “Lourd” meaning heavy, as in hard to handle.

These words are used as criticism towards someone. For instance, “T’es relou!”, “T’es chiant(e)!” means “You’re so annoying!”


This expression is a very well known French expression applied when someone doesn’t understand something that you've repeated a numerous amount of times. Then, you can say : “Laisse tomber, c’est pas grave!”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s not important!”. It can also be used when you want to stop an argument “ Laisse tomber l’affaire” as in "let it go”’.


This is an expression used when you are unhappy about something. Again, this sentence is mainly used by a younger generation. If you’re talking to an elder person they will probably have no idea what you’re talking about!

You can use this phrase when talking about something unfortunate that happened to you. For example, say you’re favourite football team lost a match, you can say “J’ai trop le seum, parce que mon équipe de foot a perdu le match hier soir.”


Wesh” is a word that originally came from the rappers who lived in the suburbs in Paris. It’s used when greeting someone, usually family and friends.


Nowadays, BG is very popular. It stands for “beau gosse”  (when talking about a male) and “belle gosse”  (when talking about a female) meaning that the person you’re talking about is good looking.

Keep in mind that Gosse on its own is slang for a child so make sure you add “beau” in front otherwise you will be telling someone they are a child rather than good looking. Awkkwaaard.

Photo credit: Jayantraj Bhagyawant |  @the_travelluster


Bobo is used to talk about an injuryFrench people usually use this word when talking to younger children and referring to minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

It is also used when trying to joke around with someone, such as, “Oh, t’as un bobo?” when someone has a very small injury but acts like they are seriously hurt.


The word “Bouffer” is used a lot in France. Many French people have used this word replacing the word “manger” meaning to eat. Although, “Bouffer” is a word which is used a lot, it isn’t very elegant, therefore, if you’re in a very smart restaurant in Paris, I would recommend sticking to the word “Manger” otherwise you might risk receiving some weird looks!


In France, “Clope” is the slang word for Cigarette, like Ciggy or fag in English. If someone says to you “T’as une clope?” it means they are asking you for a cigarette. You can also use that sentence if you want to ask someone for a cigarette.


“Kiffer” is a slang way of saying that you adore something. The synonym for this word used in English would be “dope”. You can use this word when describing a human, an object, a place, a hobby or even when you’re talking about food!

For example, “Je kiffe le chocolat”, “Je kiffe ton style” meaning “I adore chocolate” and “Your style is dope”.

Be careful though because if you say “ Je te kiffes” it means that you fancy the person you are saying it to!

So, if you hear someone say this to you, don’t threat! It’s a good sign!


Similar to “Chick” and “Dude” in English, “Meuf” and “Mec” are slang words used to describe a girl and boy. “Meuf” being feminine and “Mec” being masculine. People also refer to their girlfriend or boyfriend using these slang words, for instance, “Mon mec” and “Ma meuf”. However, some people use these slang words in a negative way, for example, “Regarde cette meuf” which means “Look at that chick” can be meant in a negative way.

Photo credit: Jayantraj Bhagyawant |  @the_travelluster


If you hear someone in the street scream “C’est ouf” this can be both a good or bad thing. The meaning of the word “Ouf” is when someone is relieved about something, like “Phew” in English. However, the slang word “Ouf” means that something is crazy! Such as : “Regarde le bâtiment, il est ouf!” meaning that the building is awesome, or,  “T’es ouf” which means “you’re crazy” which can be considered more pessimistic.


Another common word used by a younger generation is “Bolos” - and it can be used in different ways. Similar to the word “lame”, "jerk" or "moron" in English, this word is used as an insult towards a person. For example, if someone was blasting their music so loud that you could hear it all night, one would say “T’es un bolos” meaning in English “You’re lame”.


“Baraque” is a slang way of using saying “House”. A similar English word could be “crib”. Say you’re having a drink in a bar and you meet someone and get chatting and they say “Tu veux voir ma baraque?”, it means they are inviting you back to their place!


In France, this word is mostly used when describing a mess, usually someone’s room. “C’est le bordel dans ta chambre” : “You’re room is a mess!”

However, it can also be used when something has happened, say, for example, you had a wild night out, you can say : “C’etait le bordel hier!’ : “Last night was crazy!”

Photo credit: Jayantraj Bhagyawant |  @the_travelluster

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