Tour de France

Sports in French: 250 Words and Phrases To Get You in the Game

France is no stranger to sports fanatics and great athletic teams, boasting the ever famous Paris Saint-Germain soccer team among others for its soccer-crazed citizens and also home to the renowned Tour de France.

But let’s face it: people talk about sports more than they play them. So join in.

If you’re into sports, the following French sports vocabulary will be an ace/home run/goal for you.


Types of Sports

Luckily for you, most French words for sports are extremely similar to their English counterparts, so you should be able to memorize this first list pretty quickly!

French nounEnglish translation
Le baseball Baseball
Le basket-ball Basketball
Le football / le foot Football/soccer
La danse Dance
La gymnastique Gymnastics
Le tennis Tennis
La natation Swimming
La plongée Diving
Le golf Golf
Le rugby Rugby
Le football américain American football
Le hockey Hockey
Le patinage artistique Figure skating
Le volley-ball Volleyball
La boxe Boxing
La lutte Wrestling
Le cyclisme Cycling
La course Track
La voile Sailing
Le surf Surfing
Le handball Handball
L'escrime Fencing
Le judo Judo
Le karaté Karate
Le haltérophilie Weightlifting
Le tennis de table Table tennis
Le hockey sur gazon Field hockey
L'athlétisme Athletics
Le canoë Canoeing
Le tir à l'arc Archery
Le badminton Badminton
Le squash Squash
Le hockey sur glace Ice hockey
Le triathlon Triathlon
La planche à voile Windsurfing
La plongée sous-marine Scuba diving
L'aviron Rowing
Le ski acrobatique Freestyle skiing
Le skateboard Skateboarding
Le roller Rollerblading
Le softball Softball
La course automobile Car racing
Le moto-cross Motocross
Le fitness Fitness
La randonnée Hiking
Le camping Camping
La pétanque Boules
Le billard Billiards
Le golf miniature Miniature golf
Le saut à la perche Pole vault
La voltige Aerobatics
Le wing-suit Wing-suit
La natation synchronisée Synchronized swimming
Le tir sportif Shooting sport
Le stand-up paddle Stand-up paddleboarding
Le taekwondo Taekwondo
Le kickbox Kickboxing
L'autodéfense Self-defense
La nage en eau libre Open water swimming
Le vélo tout terrain Mountain biking
Le karting Go-karting
Le frisbee Frisbee
Le saut en hauteur High jump
Le saut en longueur Long jump
La course de relais Relay race

The People in Sports

french sports vocabulary

Without these people, sports would cease to exist, so learning the following vocabulary is a must. Pay special attention to the words that change their spelling depending on gender.

French nounEnglish translation
Les spectateurs The spectators
Le public The crowd
Le supporteur/La supportrice Fan
Le joueur/La joueuse Player
Le coach The coach
L'équipe The team
Le coéquipier/La coéquipière Teammate
Le danseur/La danseuse Dancer
Les adversaires Opponents
Le rival/La rivale Rival
Les athlètes Athletes
Le cycliste Cyclist
Le nageur/La nageuse Swimmer
Un champion/Une championne A champion
Un annonceur sportif A sports announcer
La défense The defense
L'attaque The offense
Le gardien/La gardienne The goalie
Le capitaine de l'équipe The team captain
Le lanceur/La lanceuse The pitcher
L'arbitre The referee
Le vainqueur The winner
Le basketteur/La basketteuse Basketball player

People in American Football

French nounEnglish translation
Le quarterback The quarterback
La ligne offensive Offensive line
La ligne défensive Defensive line
Le receveur Wide receiver
Le running back Running back
Le receveur rapproché Tight end
Le secondeur Linebacker
Le cornerback Cornerback
Le safety Safety

People in Soccer

French nounEnglish translation
Le footballeur Football player/footballer
Le gardien de but Goalkeeper
Le défenseur Defender
Le latéral Full-back
Le libéro Sweeper
Le défenseur central Center-back
Le milieu de terrain Midfielder
Le milieu défensif Defensive midfielder
Le milieu offensif Attacking midfielder
L'ailier Winger
L'attaquant Forward
L'avant-centre Center forward
Le buteur Striker

Athletic Actions

french sports vocabulary

Verbs are very important not only for sports but also for everyday life. The following list is made up of the essential and most commonly used French action words in sports.

French verbEnglish translation
Courir To run
Faire To do
Jouer To play
Marcher To walk
Bondir To leap
Sauter To jump
Nager To swim
Plonger To dive
Donner un coup de pied To kick
Lancer / Jeter To throw
Attraper To catch
Pousser To push
Tirer To pull
Frapper To hit
Marquer To score
Donner un coup de poing To punch
Gagner To win
Perdre To lose
Faire du patin à glace/du patinage To ice skate
Acclamer To cheer
Applaudir To applaud
Faire un flip To flip
S'étirer To stretch
Danser To dance
Bouger To move
Se battre To compete
Pousser To push
Plaquer To tackle
Passer To pass
S'affronter To fight
Compter les points To keep score
Chronométrer To time
Faire de l'exercice To exercise
Nager le crawl To swim freestyle
Nager la brasse To swim breaststroke
Nager le dos To swim backstroke
Nager le papillon To swim butterfly stroke

Equipment, Locations and Things

french sports vocabulary

Certain equipment and places are necessary for each sport. Here are some items and locations needed for the most popular sports.

French termEnglish translation
Le vélo Bicycle
La raquette Racket
La batte de baseball Baseball bat
Le filet Net
Le palet Puck
L'uniforme Uniform
Les patins à glace Ice skates
La balle Ball
Le tableau d'affichage The scoreboard
La piscine The pool
Le terrain The field
Le gymnase The gym
Le stade The stadium
La patinoire The ice rink
L'étape The stage
La piste The trail
Le sac à dos Backpack
Les chaussures de randonnée Hiking shoes/boots
La carte topographique Topographic map
La boussole Compass
Les jumelles Binoculars
Le pique-nique Picnic
Le refuge Shelter
Le balisage Trail marking
Le dénivelé Elevation gain
Le sommet Summit
Le col Mountain pass
La cascade Waterfall
La vue panoramique Panoramic view
La faune Wildlife
La flore Flora
La rivière River

Ski Equipment and Locations

French termEnglish translation
Les skis Skis
Les bâtons Ski poles
Les chaussures de ski Ski boots
Le casque Helmet
Les lunettes de ski Ski goggles
La veste de ski Ski jacket
Le pantalon de ski Ski pants
La station de ski Ski resort
La remontée mécanique Ski lift
La piste Slope
La neige Snow
La neige fraîche Fresh snow
La poudreuse Powder snow
La descente Descent
Le virage Turn
Le parc à neige Snowpark

Swim Equipment and Locations

French nounEnglish translation
Les palmes Fins
Les lunettes de natation Goggles
Le bonnet de bain Swim cap
Le maillot de bain Swimsuit
La ligne d'eau Lane
Le départ Start
La planche Kickboard
Le chronomètre Stopwatch

Cycling Equipment and Locations

Le vélo de route Road bike
Le VTT (vélo tout-terrain) Mountain bike
Le maillot de cyclisme Cycling jersey
Le cuissard Cycling shorts
Les gants de cyclisme Cycling gloves
Les lunettes de cyclisme Cycling glasses
Le bidon d'eau/La gourde Water bottle
La roue Wheel
Les freins Brakes
Le peloton Group of cyclists
La course cycliste Cycling race

Talking About Matches

french sports vocabulary

How’s the game going? Where are we? Who’s winning? This vocabulary will help you keep up.

French termEnglish translation
Le score The score
La mi-temps Halftime
Les prolongations Overtime
Le quart temps The quarter
La manche An inning
Un match nul A tie
Le jeu The game
La compétition The competition
La course The race
Le match The match

Trophies and Tournaments

french sports vocabulary

Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, you’ve probably watched some of the big games below.

French termEnglish translation
Un trophée A trophy
Le prix The prize or award
La médaille The medal
Le championnat The championship
Coupe du monde World Cup
Série mondiale World Series
Les Jeux Olympiques The Olympics
Le fair-play Sportsmanship

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Common Sports Sayings

Spectators cheering

French sentenceEnglish translation
Allez, on se donne à fond ! Let's give it our all!
C'est un match serré. It's a close game.
On est les champions ! We are the champions!
Il a marqué un but incroyable ! He scored an incredible goal!
Elle a réalisé un record personnel. She achieved a personal record.
Nous avons remporté la victoire ! We achieved victory!
Il a effectué une superbe passe décisive. He made a superb decisive pass.
C'est un match nul. It's a tie.
Elle a été disqualifiée pour faute. She was disqualified for a fault.
L'équipe a fait preuve d'une grande cohésion. The team demonstrated great cohesion.
On y croit jusqu'au bout ! We believe until the end!
Il a réalisé une performance exceptionnelle. He achieved an exceptional performance.
Il a remporté la médaille d'or. He won the gold medal.
Elle a réussi un tir parfait. She made a perfect shot.
On a besoin d'un coup de pouce. We need a boost/help.
C'est un moment historique dans le sport. It's a historic moment in sports.
Il a été nommé le meilleur joueur du tournoi. He was named the tournament's best player.
Le public est en délire ! The crowd is going wild!


The above list should get you well on your way to being able to discuss and watch (or maybe even play) sports in French.

Keep practicing your vocabulary and who knows, you may just find yourself seated at the 2024 Olympics in Paris!

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