These contain some examples of vulgar language.

DownloadDownload mp3 (file size 1,8 MB) - right click and choose 'save target as'
Print Get a print version of this page

When it comes to seduction, the French do have a bit of a reputation. But is it because of their actual conquest? Or simply because they know how to talk about them, whether they're successful or not? Anyway, here is a little glossary you'll be able to learn and practise on French beaches...

Girls
Boys
A Nice-Looking Girl
An Ugly Person
A User's Guide


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

Girls

Une nana, une nénette (*) A girl, a bird.
These words are rather neutral and therefore quite handy.

Une minette (*) This word is an affectionate term for cat, i.e. puss or pussy cat and has a masculine equivalent. Cats are famous for being seductive animals, aren't they?

Une meuf (*v = femme) A woman.

Une gonzesse (**) A woman.

back to the top

Boys

Un mec, un keum (*v = mec) A bloke, a neutral, handy word.

Un gars, un type, un bonhomme (*) A guy, a man.
Funnily enough, there seems to be a lack of vocabulary when it comes to giving boys cool names.

Un minet (**) This word is a masculine equivalent of une minette, an affecionate term for cat, i.e. puss or pussy cat.

back to the top

A Nice-Looking Girl

Un canon (*) An extremely attractive girl or boy.
Seduction is sometimes like war, you have to use your sense of strategy, etc.

Une bombe, un missile (*) An extremely attractive girl. No wonder, some of the vocabulary includes words like these. It all depends on the level of difficulty of the conquest. More or less the equivalent of "a sex bomb".

back to the top

An Ugly Person

Un thon (***) A tuna fish.
Obscure origins but efficient, who would want to seduce a tuna fish?

Un boudin (***) Originally black pudding.
For a long time, this word was mainly used to describe unattractive women. It is now unisex. Also available in verlan un dimbou.

Une mocheté, une personne moche (*) An ugly person.

Un pou (***) Lit. A louse.

back to the top

A User's Guide

Step One
Mater (*) To watch, to check something out.
A very important verb given the fact that this is where everything starts, because seduction is also about how you look at the other person. Verlan for this word téma is also very popular.
Mate cette meuf, c'est un vrai canon ! (*) Watch this woman, she's a real sex bomb!

Step Two
Brancher (*) To seduce... or at least to try.
The original meaning is "to plug in", "to switch on"... After assessing the situation, which consists of mater, to watch out, it's time to take the initiative: brancher i.e try some kind of approach.
Je l'ai branché/e grave (*) I really seduced him/her.

Step Three
Se faire jeter (*) Lit. To be thrown out.
At least when you're blown up you can use a cool expression to tell your friends about your defeat. Even better se faire tèj, verlan for this expression.

Se prendre une veste (*) Lit. To get a jacket.
Same meaning as above. When someone refuses to respond to your declarations, you get to see the jacket (or the back of it) of the person turning around to run away from you... Hence the expression.
Se prendre un râteau (*) Lit. To get a rake. Same meaning as above.

Choper (*) Lit. To grab.
Your attempts will sometimes be rewarded.

Emballer (*) Lit. To wrap up (food, presents, etc.).
Same meaning as above.

Embarquer (*) Lit. To ship, to embark (people or goods).
Same meaning as above.

Step Four
Une capote, (*) une poteca (*v = capote) A hood - a condom.
Being cool shouldn't prevent anyone from being careful and safe.

Un chapeau (*) Lit. A hat. A very nice way to say "a condom".

Un gant (*) Lit. A glove. Same as above.

back to the top


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

More French from BBC Languages
More from BBC Languages

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.