French Verlan – The Complete Guide

One of the most common forms of French slang is known as verlan. There isn’t really an exact equivalent to this type of slang in English, but don’t worry, it’s still fairly easy to understand.

Simply put, to transform a French word into verlan you typically reverse or rearrange its syllables so that it forms a new word. In fact, the word verlan is a “verlaned” version of the word l’envers. It isn’t done with every word and sometimes extra letters have to be added so that the word can be easily pronounced. The definition of the word often doesn’t change, but of course seeing as this is typically used as slang the word becomes a lot more informal.





 

The origins of verlan are a little obscure and many people have different theories as to where and when it comes from. Whatever the case is, it was invented as a way to obscure the meaning of the words being “verlaned”. In today’s day and age however verlan is used mostly by French youth as a form of casual slang and is often used in hip-hop and rap music.

It’s important to understand that you can’t typically create your own verlan words and that it’s best to just use the ones that you have already seen or heard. Even if you have no desire to use verlan words in conversations with people, it’s a good idea to be able to recognize them when you come across them.

Let’s take a look at some common verlan words that you may come accross.

 

Céfran – français (EN – French) 

Want to see céfran in action ? – Click Here 

(Check in the title)

 

Tromé – métro (EN – Subway, tube, metro)

Want to see tromé in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Cimer – merci (EN – Thanks, Thank You)

Want to see cimer in action? – Click Here

(Check the highlighted text)

 

Ouf – fou (EN – Crazy, Insane)

Want to see ouf used in action? Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Oim – Moi (EN – Me)

Want to see oim used in action? – Click Here

(Listen for it at 1:44)

 

Meuf – femme (EN – Woman, Wife)

Want to see meuf used in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Reuf / Reufré / Refrè  – Frère (EN – Brother)

Want to see reuf in action? – Click Here 

(Check the song title)

Want to see reufré in action? – Click Here

(Check in the body text of the article)

Want to see refrè in action? – Click Here 

(Check the song title)

 

Reum – Mère (EN – Mother)

Want to see reum in action? – Click Here

(Check in the video title)

 

Keum – Mec (EN – Guy, boyfriend)

Want to see keum in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Chanmé – Méchant (EN – Mean, Nasty, Wicked) (Chanmé can have a good meaning like the word “wicked” in the sentence “that concert was wicked!”)

Want to see chanmé in action? – Click Here

(Check in the body text)

 

Relou – lourd (EN – Heavy)

Want to see relou in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Vegra – grave (EN – Serious)

Want to see vegra in action? – Click Here

(Check in the body text)

 

Genar / Gentar / Genhar – argent (EN – Money)

Want to see gen-ar in action? – Click Here

(Check the highlighted text)

Want to see gent-ar in action? – Click Here

(Check the song title)

Want to see genhar in action? – Click Here

(Check in the body text)

 

Teubé / tubé – bête (EN – Stupid, Idiotic)

Want to see teubé in action? – Click Here or Here

(Check in the title for both articles)

 

Ripou – pourri (EN – Rotten)

Want to see ripou in action?Click Here (ripou when used for the police means corrupt)

(Check in the title)

 

Renoi – noir (EN – Black)

Want to see renoir in action?Click Here

(Check in the title of the article and the video)

 

Zar-bi – bizarre (EN – Bizarre)

Want to see zarbi in action? – Click Here

(Check in the body text)

 

Zyva – vas-y (EN – Go on, Go Ahead)

Want to see zyva in action? – Click Here

(Check the example sentence)

 

Énerver – vénèr (EN – Irritate, Annoy)

Want to see vénèr in action?Click Here

(Check the title of the article)

 

Teuf – fête (EN – Party, Celebration) 

Want to see teuf in action? – Click Here

(Check the title of the article)

 

Chelou – louche (EN – Shifty, Shady)

Want to see louche in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title of the article)

 

Kainri – américain (EN – American)

Want to see kainri in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Réssoi – soirée (EN – Evening, Party)

Want to see réssoi in action? – Click Here

(Check in the first paragraph)

 

Flic – keuf (EN – Cop, Police)

Want to see keuf in action? – Click Here

(Check in the title)

 

Ti-per – Petit (EN – Small, Short)

Want to see ti-per in action? – Click Here

(Listen for it at the 00:21 mark) 

 

When all is said and done if you never want to use verlan words you never have to. However, if you’re goal is to understand native-French speakers then you’ll want to make sure you learn as much French verlan as possible.

The list here is just a taste of some of the verlan words you come across when learning French. You’ll no doubt come across more as you continue your French journey.

What verlan words are your favorite? Which ones have you seen or learned that aren’t mentioned here? Comment below and tell us about them.