French Lessons: Funny Words

by Jackie D on March 17, 2017

Today’s lesson is brief: I keep a note in my phone of all the little funny French words I’ve come across so far. I see them on signs or hear them in passing, or discover them while Google-translating a coworker’s e-mail. They all make me smile.

La poubelle: trash (I still think it’s so funny that the word for trash is straight-up gorgeous)

Pourboire: a tip (literally translates to: “for drinking,” because I guess in France people are honest about what tips are used for)

Trombone: paperclip (because paperclips look like little trombones)

Avocat: lawyer/avocado (these are the same word! what!)

Coucou: this is a greeting/term of endearment that my coworkers often use in e-mails, and I find it absolutely adorable

Cauchemars: nightmares (I learned this word during a conversation with a coworker, and it came up during an exercise in French class and I was like, “oh! Nightmares!” and my teacher looked at me like, you have the reading level of a six year old but you know what the French word for nightmares is?)

Etoile de mer: starfish (literally: star of the sea)

Guimauve: marshmallow 

Depaysement: describes the feeling of being in another country (full disclosure: I saw this one on Instagram when I was having a bad day and straight up cried on the metro)

Bague (a ring) and vague (a wave): because I always mix them up. Constantly telling girls I like their waves

Rire: to laugh (my favorite word in any language)


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