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DATING

11 of the best phrases to flirt in French

Is France’s romantic vibe making you want to learn more about flirting? A good way to start is to get familiar with the key phrases to use when it comes to this ancient art. Here’s a round-up of the basics. 

French couple kissing at the Metro
Need help with the language of love? Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

As flirting generally takes place in an informal situation, the following phrases are mostly quite colloquial, and we’ve used them all with the familiar tu form of you.

If you’re in a situation where the formal vous is required, then we would suggest that flirting is probably not appropriate (unless you’re into role play of course, but that’s a whole other article).

Draguer – to flirt. If you fancy trying your hand at the French dating scene, draguer is the perfect word, it means flirting with or hitting on someone.

You can decide to be upfront about it and say it directly to the person you fancy. Oui je te drague – Yes, I’m hitting on you.

But you can also use it to gossip: Ce mec drague toutes les nanas au bureau ! – This guy flirts with all the girls at the office! 

Find out more about that phrase here

Chiner – to hit on. The younger generation use it all the time when it comes to chatting someone up or hitting on them. Tu le chines? – Are you hitting on him?

But be careful, this word is also commonly used when you go bargain hunting for old furniture or second-hand goods at a Brocante  (a vintage or second hand market) so don’t assume that everyone at the market is flirting with you.

Find out more about that phrase here

Faire la cour – to woo. This is a pretty dated phrase but you may still hear it, and not only if you’re watching a historical movie.

Il lui fait la cour depuis des mois – He’s been wooing her for months. 

Aborder – to approach. This can be used in several contexts to mean an approach or to broach a subject, but in a romantic sense it means making your first approach to the object of your affections.

You can use this word when it comes to talking to someone for the first time, whether it is online or in real life.

Je n’ose pas l’aborder – I’m afraid of approaching her. 

Le ou la faire craquer – to fall for someone. Craquer means to ‘give in’ so you’ll use this idiomatic phrase when you’ve managed to seduce someone or when you have been seduced.

Elle me fait trop craquer – I’ve really fallen for her.

Voici mes conseils pour le faire craquer –  Here’s my advice to snag him.  

En pincer pour to like. Pincer means ‘to pinch’ but this idiomatic phrase is used when you are really fond of someone.

J’en pince pour toi – I really like you. 

Décrocher un premier rendez-vous – To get a first date. It’s not always easy but when it happens you may want to share the news.

J’ai enfin décroché un premier rendez-vous avec elle ! – I finally got a first date with her!

Se le ou se la taper – to have sex with someone. Taper means to ‘hit’. But the phrase se le ou se la taper is an informal way to gossip about sexual relationships. It’s a more slangy and slightly ruder alternative to the classic coucher – to sleep with someone.

Tu crois qu’il se l’est tapée ? – Do you think he had sex with her? Si seulement je pouvais me le taper ! If only I could take him to bed!

Pécho – making out. Pécho is verlan (reversing the order of syllables in a word) of choper which means ‘to grab’ or ‘catch’. This phrase can mean different things (find out more here), and one of them is ‘making out’ or ‘hooking up’.

On s’est pécho – We made out.

Smacker – to kiss (without the tongue). Although ‘to smack’ actually means slapping someone in English, in French it can be used to describe ‘un smack’, a kiss where only the lips touched (as opposed to the French kiss) and the verb ‘smacker’ derives from it. Il m’a smacké ! – He kissed me!

Séduire – to seduce. The ultimate goal is to seduce someone when you’re flirting. Séduire is now slightly old-fashioned and it’s often used in a more metaphorical sense such as consumers or voters being ‘seduced’ by a brand or a politician, but you can also use it in a romantic situation.

Elle cherche à me séduire – She’s trying to seduce me. 

Here are some key phrases to ask someone out: 

Prendre un verre – To have a drink. 

Ça te dit d’aller prendre un verre ? – Would you fancy having a drink?

Boire un coup – Grab a drink (informal) 

Tu veux qu’on aille boire un coup ? – Do you want to go get a drink? 

Tu veux boire quoi ? – What do want to drink?

Manger un bout – grabbing something to eat. Here’s an informal way to ask somebody to have dinner with you. On va manger un bout ? – Let’s go eat something?

Here are some phrases to ask for someone’s number:

Je peux prendre ton 06 ? – In France, cell phone numbers start with 06, so it’s an informal way to ask someone his or her number.  

C’est quoi ton numéro ? – What’s your number?

Je peux avoir ton numéro de portable ? – Can I get your cell phone number?

If you feel like tackling online dating in France, check out our guide

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LEARNING FRENCH

8 of our favourite French Words of the Day

This month’s countdown of our favourite French words and phrases features the most useful word ever in the French language, a pastry-based cultural thing, and one word that could lead to a generational misunderstanding.

8 of our favourite French Words of the Day

Every weekday The Local publishes a French word or phrase of the day. We try to focus on colloquialisms, slang, sayings (and a bit of swearing) – you know, the type of French you won’t learn in the classroom, but will hear all the time in the street.

This daily habit means we have a very extensive back catalogue – find it here – and we’ve picked out eight of our recent favourites.

Un truc

Quite simply, this great multi-tasking words that can stand in as a placeholder for just about any noun you may have temporarily forgotten is arguably the most useful single syllable in French…

Don’t believe us? Read more here.

Ça te dit

This handy expression – one you’re most likely to hear when making social plans –  doesn’t mean anything and means everything at the same time… Think ‘do you feel like it?’ or ‘do you want to?’, or ‘what do you think?’.

Lean more here

Pantois

Did you know that French has a word that literally means lost for words? This is it – and you’ll probably hear it a lot this summer.

We explain here.

Front républicain

A phrase we’re hearing a lot in France at the moment, with an election looming, as figures from across the political spectrum join forces to keep parties such as the far-right Rassemblement National from the corridors of power. 

Find out more here.

READ ALSO 10 essential French phrases to help you understand France’s snap election

Ici on dit chocolatine

Only in French could centuries of regional culture wars be distilled into four words about delicious pastry – and an unofficial slogan for south-western pride. 

You have to read all about it to believe it. 

Faire du lèche-vitrine

France’s officially mandated summer sales are fast approaching – and you’re salivating at the prospect of some bargains. Enter the French phrase for window shopping, which literally translates as ‘to do the window licking’. 

Find out more, here.

Nana

Our quest to have this word added to the list of linguistic ‘false friends’ between French and English starts here. While English-speakers would associate this word with their sainted grandmothers, in French it’s a slang term for girlfriend or girl.

Read more here.

Clap de fin

And finally… A phrase from the 1980s, born of cinema and TV, is used to signal an approaching or just-passed deadline – in English, you might say ‘the grand finale’ or ‘the end of the road’ or ‘the final curtain’.

Get to the end of it all, here.

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