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13 shortened words and phrases you will hear in spoken French

The French language loves to shorten words, so here are a few to look out for

You will hear lots of word shortcuts in spoken French Pic: Caftor / Shutterstock

Like in any language, the spoken version of French is very different to how it is written. 

In conversational French, language is much more familiar and often words will be shortened and abbreviated. 

By using the abbreviations, not only will it make you sound more fluent but it often also helps with your delivery of the sentence, by making the phrase as a whole less of a mouthful! 

It should be noted that these abbreviations are very colloquial and really only used in spoken French or in texts with friends or family. Generally they should not be used when exchanging more formal emails or letters, or talking in a formal situation. 

Ça me dég -  ça me dégoûte

Ça me dég is short for ça me dégoûte which is common in spoken French. It translates as ‘that disappoints me’ or ‘that disgusts me’. You can also say je suis dég meaning I am disappointed/disgusted.

This is a bit of a false friend as normally dégoût translates as disgust, however often if you hear people talking of being dégoûté, it means that they are disappointed most of the time. 

En vrai j'étais un peu deg après que les plans pour le weekend aient capotés. (Honestly, I was a little disappointed after the plans for the weekend fell through.)

Véto - vétérinaire

If you hear véto in spoken French, it will likely be in reference to an animal as it is short for vétérinaire which means vet. 

Je veux trouver un nouveau véto plus proche de chez nous. (I want to find a new vet closer to our house.)
Coincidentally, veto in French also means veto in English as in La France a imposé son veto aux Nations Unies (France imposed its veto on the United Nations).

Hosto - hôpital 

This one is perhaps not an obvious abbreviation - hôpital (hospital) becomes hosto.

Il faut aller à l'hosto tout de suite ! (You must go to the hospital straight away!)

Chépa - je sais pas 

In spoken French you will often hear a sound like chépa. This is a shortened version of je sais pas (I don’t know). 

C’est où l'hosto le plus proche, s’il vous plaît? 

-  Chépa. (Where is the nearest hospital please? I don’t know).

D’acc - d’accord

This is one of the most common sounds you will hear in spoken French - d’acc is short for d’accord. This is used all the time as a filler noise. 

Ça marche pour toi si on change l’heure du dîner à 20h ? D'acc, ça marche, pas de problème. (Does it work for you if we change the time for dinner to 20:00? Ok that works, no problem.) 

Comme d’hab - comme d’habitude 

Comme d’hab is short for comme d’habitude which means as per usual. 

Si t’as envie on peut se balader samedi matin comme d’hab ? (If you want we can walk Saturday morning like we normally do?)

Read also: Five French faux-amis that confused me as a French person in the US

Un accro - accroché 

If you hear someone say that they are un accro of something it is short for accroché which translates as addicted or hooked. 

J’essaye d'éviter le chocolat parce que franchement je suis accro. (I try to avoid chocolate because quite frankly I’m an addict.)

Cata - catastrophe 

If everything is going wrong with your day, you can describe it as une vraie cata which is short for catastrophe (a catastrophe). 

Il y a trois ans mon niveau de français était une vraie cata ! (Three years ago my level of French was a real catastrophe.) 

Dispo - disponible 

If someone asks you if you are dispo, it means disponible (available). 

Viens chez moi dès que tu es dispo pour une petite soirée raclette ! (When you’re available you must come to my house for a little raclette party!)

A tout’ - tout à l'heure 

You will hear this when you are parting ways with someone - à tout’ is short for à tout à l’heure (see you later). 

On va se voir au resto ce soir ? Oui, bien sûr, à tout’ ! (Will we see each other at the restaurant this evening? Yes of course, see you later!)

Clim - climatisation

In the summer you will want an apartment or house with la clim. La climatisation is air conditioning, so when you hear discussion of la clim this is what it is referring to. 

Est-ce qu’il y a une clim dans la chambre ? (Is there air conditioning in the room?)

Dégueu - dégueulasse 

If you find something disgusting, you can use gueu which is short for dégueulasse. This is used in familiar spoken French. 

Franchement je le trouve dégueu. (Frankly I find it disgusting.)

Inspi - inspiration 

This one is popular among young people; when you hear talk of une inspi, it refers to une inspiration (an inspiration). 

Je te jure, elle a toujours été ma source d’inspi ! (I’m telling you, she’s always been my source of inspiration!).

Related articles

Grammar points to watch out for in spoken French

10 French words and phrases that are untranslatable in English

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