If you’ve mastered the standard French language, it’s time to incorporate some words en verlan, a form of French slang that plays around with the syllables of a word, in order to sound more like a native speaker. Here are 15 words that are commonly “verlanized” that will help you understand what your French friends are talking about.
Let’s start with the basics. Céfran, [say-frahn] is verlan for Français. To ask if someone is French, you’d say “Il est céfran?”
Tromé, [tro-may] verlan for Métro, is one you’ll definitely hear in everyday conversation. If someone asks you, “Il est ou le tromé?” know that it’s just a cool way to say Métro.
Spice up the standard merci by using its inverse, cimer. [see-may] If your friend does you a solid, say, “T’es trop sympa, cimer!”
Also the French expression for “phew!”, ouf [oof] is verlan for fou, meaning crazy. If you’re pressed up against the window on a crowded metro, you’d say, “Il y a trop de monde, c’est ouf.” Ouf can also mean crazy like crazy good.
Meuf, [muf] verlan for femme, translates to “chick.” If your friend is checking out a woman in a bar, you can ask him, “t’aimes bien cette meuf?” Meuf also works for “girlfriend.”
Reuf, [ruf] comes from frère, meaning brother. You might hear a guy greet his friend with “Quoi de neuf mon reuf?” It doesn’t mean they’re actually brothers, it’s just like saying, “what’s up, dude?”
The word mec becomes keum [kuhm] en verlan. If you met a cute guy at a bar, you’d tell your friend, “ J’ai rencontré un keum hyper-cool hier soir.”
Use teuf, [tuf] verlan for fête, next time you want to thank the host of a party, tell them “ta teuf était géniale!”
Vénère [veh-nair-ay] comes from the word énervé, meaning angry. If someone steals your wallet, you’d say, “Quelqu’un a volé mon portefeuille! Je suis énervé, moi!”
This one is really popular with the younger crowd in France. Chamné [shahm-nay] comes from the word méchant, which you may understand to mean “mean,” but en verlan, it translates to something like “wicked” (in the East Coast sense of the word). If you went to an awesome concert, you’d say “le concert était chanmé!”
Use chelou [shuh-loo], verlan for louche, to describe something or someone that is shady. For example, if you go to a creepy part of town you’d say “je n’aime pas être seul dans cette quartier. C’est louche là-bas.”
Use kainri [ken-ree] when you want to say something is American or looks American. (Kainri is the verlan of the second half of the word “Américain”). When you see a girl going out in a crop top, you can say “elle a un style de kainri.” Or if your French friends have solo cups at a party someone might say “on boit dans des gobelets rouges comme des kainri.”
Here’s another word for party, because the French love their parties. “Tu va à la réssoi?” [ray-swah]
Relou [ruh-loo] is verlan for lourde, meaning heavy. Use it when you want to describe something dense or boring. For example, if your boss keeps repeating the same thing over and over again in a meeting, you’d say “il est tellement relou.”
You may know the slang word flic for police officer. To make the word extra cool and slang-y, use the inverse and say keuf [kuff]. Hypothetically speaking, if you and your friends were up to no good, you’d yell “Vite! Voila les keufs!”
A note about spelling: verlan is technically a made-up language so there are no definite rules about whether you have to add an e to the end of a word to make it feminine or an s to the end of a word to make it plural.