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Four French words to fill gaps in vocabulary that mean 'the thing'

You do not learn how to say thing, thingy or thingumybob at school - we have the words to use when the name escapes you

French words for ‘thing’ or ‘thingy’ can be used to fill gaps in vocabularly in most situations Pic: Khakimullin Aleksandr

Beginners and advanced French speakers alike forget the names of objects, especially if they are describing a technical item.

Just like in English, there are workarounds.

The magic words to save your conversation flow are:

Le truc

Le machin

La chose

Le bidule

What they all essentially mean is ‘the thing’ or ‘the thingy’ and so can be used to fill gaps in vocabularly in most situations.

And just for fun, here are some more common slang words to keep an ear out for:

La baraque - meaning home - a bit like joint or gaff

Bouffer - to eat

Un mec - a bloke

Une meuf - femme or woman, can be pejorative

Chiant - annoying or frustrating

Un bobo - a little scratch or cut

Le fric or le blé - money

Je me casse - I’m off, I’m out of here

N’importe quoi - whatever!

Just remember some of the slang is not for polite company!

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