quebecois slang

42+ Quebecois Slang Words and Phrases

You know what’s le fun (awesome) about the French language?

Each variety of French has its own slang for you to learn and use. And the French variety used in Canada—Quebecois French—has its own supply of slang to draw from.

If you like the idea of throwing fun slang expressions into your conversations, read on for my list of Quebecois slang and tips for learning even more slang.


What Is Quebecois French?

French is one of the two official languages of Canada, alongside English.

While there are French speakers all over Canada, Quebec is the province with the largest number of French speakers, with over 7.6 million people claiming fluency in French there (94.5% of the population).

As such, Quebec has developed its own dialect of French that not only differs in grammar and vocabulary from Standard (Parisian French), but also from other varieties of French within Canada.

Best of all, Quebecois French also has its own fascinating—and highly useful—French slang words and expressions.

A lot of Quebecois slang (and swear words) are rooted in Roman Catholic terminology. This is because of Quebec’s historical religious roots and the role that the Catholic Church played and continues to play in everyday life in the province.

Further, Quebecois slang incorporates a lot of English words due to Quebec’s proximity to English speakers in Canada and the United States.

As a general feature, frequently used phrases are shortened and blended together in Quebecois informal conversation. For example, T’sais   (you know) comes from the phrase tu sais (you know), chuis   (I am) comes from je suis   (I am), and chez pas (I don’t know) comes from je ne suis pas  (I don’t know).

This shortening also happens in Standard French, so in this regard, there’s no difference between Quebecois informal language and Standard French informal language.

The real differences are heard in the differing slang words and phrases!

Quebecois Slang Words and Phrases

Check out the top 42 Quebecois slang words and phrases and join in le fun!

General Conversation

Women holding knit cap

These expressions are used in everyday conversations. They can be employed as filler words or expressions that you can use informally to a friend.

1. Attache ta tuque!  

This phrase literally (and hilariously) translates as “attach your tuque.” For you non-Canadian folk, “tuque” is our word for a beanie or a knitted hat that’s worn in the winter time.

This command has the meaning of “hold on tight!” in English. For example, if you’re driving with a friend and they’re planning on speeding up, they might declare “attache ta tuque!” before hitting the accelerator.

2. Fais-le au plus sacrant!  

This is another command that translates to “do it quickly!”

This expression literally translates to “do it the most slammingly” coming from the Quebec verb sacrer that means “to slam.”

3. Fin… Fine  

This simple word is an adjective in Quebec slang. While literally meaning “fine,” it translates to the word “nice” or “sweet” in English. For example, you may tell a friend that you scored the highest mark on the French test, and they may reply fin! (“sweet!”) showing how impressed they are.

Keep in mind that this word must change depending on the noun that it’s describing. Fin is used to describe masculine words, and fine is used to describe feminine words.

4. C’est le fun!  

I’ve used this expression extensively thus far, and it translates to “it’s awesome!” coming from the English word “fun.”

5. Jaser  

This verb means “to chat,” and it conjugates like a regular first group (-er) verb.

6. Mets-en  

Like fin, this phrase is used as an interjection to mean the affirmative “totally” or “for sure!”

7. Franchement?  

Franchement (frankly) is used like the English expression “really?” expressing disbelief.

Love and Romance

Lovers kissing with baloon

What good is slang without being about to talk about relationships? Don’t worry: we’ll keep it PG!

8. Le chum… La blonde  

These two words correspond to Standard French’s copain or copine. As such, le chum means “boyfriend,” and la blonde means “girlfriend.”

9. Chanter la pomme  

While literally translating to “sing the apple,” it actually means “to chat someone up.” For example, you might say: Je vais chanter la pomme avec ce gars.  (I’m going to chat up that guy) while out at a bar with some friends.

10. Domper quelqu’un  

Borrowing from the English word “dump,” domper means “to dump someone” as in to call off a romantic relationship with someone.

11. La bobette  

At risk of being risqué, la bobette is the Quebecois slang equivalent of les sous-vêtements (underwear) in Standard French.

12. T’es ben chix

There are a couple things happening in this expression.

While it means “you’re hot” on the surface, it’s also incorporating some common informal speech patterns. Namely, t’es comes from the contraction of tu es (you are), and ben is the colloquial, Quebecois way of saying bien (well/pretty).

Origins of the word chix are hard to find, but I assume it comes from chic, making this sentence literally translate to “You’re pretty chic.”

A Night Out

People dancing at club

While you’re out with your friends finding potential lovers, you’ll have to have some slang to describe your experience.

13. Partir sur une balloune  

This literally translates as “to leave on a balloon,” but it means “to party hard” or “to go hard.”

14. Virer une brosse  

In the same vein as the first expression in this section, virer une brosse literally translates to “to throw away a brush,” but it means “to have a night out.”

15. Être paqueté… Être saoul  

These two expressions are used to describe the state of being drunk. The first, être paqueté literally translates as “to be packaged,” while the second, être saoul comes to French from the Latin word saluttus meaning “full.”

For example, if a pal asks you, Qu’est-ce que tu as fait hier soir ?  (what did you do last night?), you might say J’étais paqueté or j’étais saoul . (I was drunk).

16. Avoir mal aux cheveux  

Literally translating as “to have hair ache,” avoir mal aux cheveux means “to be hungover.”

In fact, I’ve never thought of a hangover this way before, but it’s surprisingly accurate.

17. Être sous raide  

This expression literally translates to “to be under-rigid,” perhaps referring to the idea that one isn’t in tip-top form after a night of drinking. This expression also means “to be hungover.”

Insults and Swears

Man sneering

We all get into verbal altercations sometimes, and while I don’t condone strong language, at least these expressions will get your bases covered.

18. Calice de Crisse!  

Literally translating as “Chalice of Christ” and coming from Quebec’s religious roots, this expressions means “damn it!”

19. Tabarnak!  

Also meaning “damn it!” this literally translates to “tabernacle!”

I don’t get it either.

20. Osti!  

This also means “damn it!” but it literally translates to the sacramental bread eaten during Catholic masses.

21. Un ostie d’innocent  

Linked to the previous word, this noun means “an idiot.”

22. Être niaiseux… Être poche  

These expressions mean “to be stupid.”

23. Ferme ta gueule!  

This expression is especially vulgar, and it means “shut up!”, with gueule being a crass way of saying “mouth.”

24. J’ai mon voyage  

During an argument, you might yell, j’ai mon voyage! to show that you’re done with the conversation. It means “I’ve had enough,” but it literally translates to “I have my trip.”

25. Je m’en sacre  

This one literally translates to “I curse myself from it,” coming from the Quebecois meaning of the verb sacrer (to curse). It’s used to mean “I don’t give a damn.”

26. Tu me gosses

Gosser means “to gobble,” and while this sentence literally translates to “you’re gobbling me,” it means “you’re annoying me.”

Emotions and States of Being

Two people smiling

The next time you’re not feeling your best, remember these Quebecois slang terms to describe your mood.

27. Avoir le feu au cul  

Literally translating as “to have fire in one’s butt,” this expression means “to be angry.” Keep in mind that the word cul is a rather vulgar word to refer to one’s behind.

28. Crever de faim  

Crever is another verb that means “to die” or “to croak,” and this expression means “to be starving to death.” For example, perhaps you’ve been waiting at a restaurant for your food so long that you tell your friends Je vais crever de faim! (I’m starving!).

29. Avoir l’estomac dans les talons  

Literally translating as “to have one’s stomach in one’s heels,” this expression also means “to be starving.”

30. Cogner des clous  

Literally translating to “to bang nails,” this expression means to be so tired that you’re fighting against sleep.

31. Se pogner le cul  

This expression means “to be lazy,” literally translating as “to grab one’s butt.”

32. Toaster des deux bords  

Toaster comes from the English verb “to toast bread.” This expression literally translates as “to toast both sides,” and it means “to be really tired.” It’s akin to the English expression “to burn the candle at both ends.”

Idioms and Sayings

Hands holding potatoes

As with Standard French, there are a number of idioms and sayings that are used in Quebecois slang.

33. Lache pas la patate  

This sentence means “don’t give up!” but it literally translates as “don’t release the potato!”

34. Avoir des vers dans le cul  

Another expression that uses the French word cul, this expression means “to have worms in one’s butt.”

In English, we’d say that someone has ants in their pants to express the same thing.

35. C’est de valeur!  

While this expression literally translates as “it’s of value,” the actual meaning is quite the opposite sentiment. Let’s say a friend lost their job or broke up with their lover. You might respond with this expression to mean “what a pity!”

36. Il fait frette  

What list about Quebec would be complete without talking about the cold weather? Il fait frette means “it’s freezing” or “it’s frigid.”

37. J’ai la langue à terre  

This expression literally translates to “I have my tongue on the ground,” and it has two meanings depending on context. It can mean either “I’m very hungry” or “I’m very tired.”

38. Être vite sur ses patins  

Another stereotypical Canadian phrase, this expression literally means “to be quick on one’s skates.” It refers to being exceptionally clever or intelligent. It can sometimes be used sarcastically, especially among Quebecois youth who might use it ironically.

39. Avoir les shakes  

A very literal expression taken from English, this expression translates to “to have the shakes” and means “to be scared.”

40. Aller aux vues  

Coming from the verb voir (to see), aller aux vues means “to go to the movies” where vues refers to the movies being shown (i.e. being “seen”).

41. Caller l’orignal  

While this expression means “to vomit,” it curiously translates to “to imitate a moose.” Perhaps the Quebecois people believe that the sound of vomiting sounds like the call of moose?

42. L’enterrement de crapaud

As grim as its literal translation (“the burial of the toad”), this expression describes something awful. For example, if an acquaintance has lost a loved one, you might say: C’est l’enterrement de crapaud (That’s awful).

Where to Hear More Quebecois Slang

  • Quebecois TV shows are great places to hear Quebecois slang. I suggest the sitcom Les Bougons,” a satirical show about poor people and society that reminds me of the American and British versions of “Shameless.”

    I also suggest Trop,” a sitcom about two sisters navigating life as young adults. Both are available through Ici (Here), a television station and streaming service and CBC’s French equivalent.

  • You can also check out some well-known Quebecois YouTubers such as Thomas Gauthier, Gaboom Films or Amélie Barbeau. All three create humorous videos that use a lot of Quebecois slang.

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Franchement? Is this really the end of our Quebecois slang list? Well, at least you can join in le fun and add some cool expressions to your Quebecois French!

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