One of the best parts of learning a new language is all of the interesting vocabulary you learn. Even though English has millions of words, it is fascinating to learn how different languages communicate different concepts. French is one language that is filled with interesting words. In this blog, we will go over some French words and terms that fascinate us.

Nombrilisme (noun: self-centeredness, self-absorption)

The word “nombril” means bellybutton, so literally translated, this word means “bellybuttonism.” It essentially translates into “self-centeredness,” with a subtext of childishness, pettiness, and a laser-like focus on one’s self. It is equivalent to the English term “navel-gazing” in some respects, though it has a slightly different subtext. It can also be applied to an entire country; i.e. “nombrilisme américain.”

Vachement (adverb: truly)

This word literally translates to “cowly,” but is a synonym for “truly.” Basically, it is a more emphatic “very.” The connection to the cow, or “vache,” has been obscured through years of use, though it makes sense in France, where cheese is practically their national food.

Avoir le cafard (idiom: to be depressed)

French is filled with fascinating idioms. This one, “avoir le cafard,” literally translates to “to have the cockroach,” and is used to describe when you are feeling blue. It isn’t hard to understand why someone with a cockroach might be feeling down!

Chou (noun: cabbage, adjective: cute)

This word is interesting because of its use. While “chou” literally means “cabbage,” it also serves as a term of endearment and synonym for “cute.” Why? Who knows! But it sure is a cute way to call someone cute.

Are you ready to learn more fascinating French words? Sign up for French Classes in Houston with Crossing Borders today!