These contain some examples of vulgar language.

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The French like eating, but they also love to drink, particularly alcoholic drinks. For centuries they have been producing wine, beer, spirits... and many poets, writers, and artists were famous for writing masterpieces under the influence of alcohol.
For instance Alfred de Musset, a 19th-century poet, wrote: Qu'importe le flacon, pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse, nevermind the bottle, as long as you're intoxicated. All of this contributed to make alcohol a very popular social habit.
Things are now changing in France, a country where alcoholism was still a cause for concern not so long ago. So, when you travel through France and sample delicious wines and spirits, it's always worth remembering the slogan Boire ou conduire, il faut choisir, drink or drive, it's your choice. Santé!

Let's go for a drink

(* = familiar, ** = very familiar, *** = vulgar, v = Verlan (back-slang), Lit. = literally)


Boire ou conduire, il faut choisir Drink or drive, it's your choice.

La picole (*) Booze.
It gives picoler, the verb, and picoleur, picoleuse, the user.

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Apéro (*) Short for apéritif.

Un jaune (*) Lit. a yellow.
Used to refer to the famous French aniseed-flavoured aperitif.
Ricard or Pastis are two different names that refer to the aniseed-flavoured aperitif.

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Un demi (*) Lit. A half. Half a pint of beer.

Une mousse (*) Lit. A froth. A beer.

Une blonde (*) Lit. A glass of ale.

Une brune (*) A brown ale.

Une rousse (*) A ginger beer.

Une pression (*) A draught beer.

Une roteuse (**) A beer (or bottle of champagne). Lit. something that makes you roter, belch. French beer is quite bubbly, as a matter of fact. Hence this expression, not exactly elegant but rather explicit.

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Le pinard, le picrate, le jaja, la bibine (*) Wine of poor quality, cheap wine. All of these are old slang words, but still very popular nowadays. Unfortunately, disgusting wine is also available in France.

La gnôle, gnole, gniole (*) Hard stuff, seriously hard stuff. Pronounced "nee-all". Refers to all kinds of spirit made from fruit, often produced by farmers, both legally and illegally. Has to be tried once in a lifetime - for tough livers only. An expression that describes it well is Ça déchire la tête, lit. "It tears your head off".

La flotte (*) Water. Lit. The fleet. The French sometimes drink water with their Pastis.

Château La Pompe Humorous way to say water Château is usually the name of French wines and la pompe is a pump (uses as a water pump).

Château Robinet The same as above. Robinet is a tap.

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Let's go for a drink

Boire un verre, un godet, un coup, un pot (*) When the French go for a drink, they don't refer to what they're drinking, but rather what they drink from, ie the glass, jar, jug, etc.

Tu viens boire un coup avec moi ? (*) Fancy coming for a drink with me?

On va s'en jeter un ? (*) Lit. Shall we go and pour ourselves one?
On va s'en jeter un derrière la cravate ? (*). Lit. Shall we go and pour ourselves one behind the tie? A bit long. Also, not everyone wears a tie.

C'est où la "rue de la soif" ? (*) Lit. Where is the thirst street? Looking for a street full of bars.

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Je suis bourré, rond, pété, défoncé (*) I'm smashed, drunk, pissed. Too late, you did have that one drink too many. The previous expression could have saved you and helped you retain your dignity.

Je suis fait! (*) Lit. I'm made. I'm drunk.

J'ai les dents du fond qui baignent! (*) Lit. My back teeth are soaking. Quite descriptive, this expression can be used when you are just about to have one drink too many. A funny way to decline an offer for another round when you haven't finished your previous drink.

J'ai la gueule de bois (*) I have a hangover. Lit. I have the wooden head. Very old expression. It's been, is and will be used and understood by all: the side effects of alcohol never change!

Alcolo (*) Short for alcoholic.

Pochtron (*) Means drunk or alcoholic. Pochtronne for women.

Rade (*) A typical French bar, popular and cheap.

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Argument Class Drinking Family
Food Friends Going out Health
Interjections Money Moods Music
Play up/Play down Politics Professions Pulling

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