How many of these 10 slang French phrases do you know?

And, for anyone called Ken, this is why people may smile when you introduce yourself

Language is constantly changing with new words and terms appearing every year
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There is a lot of argot (slang) in spoken French and especially with young people and it can be difficult to work out the meaning even as a native speaker.

Every year new words become popular and enter mainstream usage – here are a few that have appeared recently.

C’est la hess - It’s a struggle

This is like the equivalent to c’est la galère, meaning it’s a struggle. Similar to a lot of modern slang in French, la hess comes from the Arabic word hessd which means volonté de nuire (desire to cause harm).

For young people, this means to be miserable or to be facing hard times.

Bader - to feel very sad

Bader means to feel very sad or melancholic. The word actually comes from the English “bad trip”, which refers to melancholic or anxious feelings you may experience after taking drugs.

For example, someone might say je bade en écoutant cette chanson.

Avoir le seum - to be really annoyed

Avoir le seum means to be really annoyed or raging.

It comes from the Arabic term sèmm which means venom.

Read also: Pk, bg, mdr: How many of these French text phrases can you work out?

Un charo - a flirty guy/womaniser

Un charo means to be very flirty or a womaniser. It is the equivalent of un coureur de jupons which literally means skirt chaser.

It comes from the word charognard which means scavenger.

Être en PLS - to be in a bad way

This stands for position laterale de securité which is the recovery position.

If you hear a young person complain that they are en plein PLS it means that they do not feel very well.

C’est de la frappe - It’s great

Frapper means to hit or to strike something , so une frappe can often refer to a strike or a hit. However, it is also sometimes used to describe what we might refer to in English as a hooligan.

If you hear it used in the phrase, c’est de la frappe this is the equivalent of c’est super meaning it’s great.

C’est quoi les bails - What’s up? / What’s happening? / What’s new?

In this sense, le bail is used to mean a plan, or a thing so when someone asks c’est quoi les bails it basically means what’s new or what’s been happening?

In standard French, le bail refers to the tenancy lease or agreement.

Une go - a girl

Une go refers to a girl, which comes from the Bambara language spoken in Mali.

Ken - sex

Ken is another way to say sex in French.

In summer when the Barbie movie was released, the French poster caused a stir when it featured a double entendre about Ken the Barbie doll and ken in the French sense of the word.

It read “Elle peut tout faire. Lui c’est juste Ken”. This translates as a double entendre: “She can do it all. Him, he’s just Ken” in reference to the song in the film I’m just Ken, or “Him, it’s just sex”.

Askip - It would seem / apparently

Askip is the teenage equivalent of à ce qu’il parait which means it would seem. It comes from using the phonetic sounds of this phrase.

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