1. L'esprit d'escalier

That irritating moment when you come up with the perfect witty comeback but only too late is known as ’staircase wit’, reportedly coined by 18th-century philosopher Diderot who found he could only think of suitable retorts after walking away from an argument, literally down the stairs.

2. Dépaysement

Meaning: The feeling of dépaysement that arises from not being in your home country, in essence ‘un-country-ing’, is what might be described as similar to homesickness but refers more to the strangeness and disorientation of feeling foreign and encountering new things in another country, like a ‘fish out of water’.

3. L'appel du vide

Meaning: 'The call of the void', as this expression is literally translated but feel like a traveller's word, but in fact refers to intrinsic urge to jump from high places.

4. La douleur exquise

Meaning: The ‘exquisite pain’ that one feels from unrequited love.

5. Flâner

Meaning: The art of wandering a city’s streets with no goal or final destination but for the pleasure of soaking up the ambience.

6. les retrouvailles

Meaning: The happiness of meeting someone after a very long time.

7. Yaourt

‘To yoghurt’ may be the literal translation but it's a word that refers to the act of talking in another language – and not very well – or using fake words. Its common usage is to refer to something that appears an imitation or insincere, such as someone pretending to know the words of a song. If you see a native French fudging their way through an English tune, it would be an attempt 'to sing through yogurt', or chanter en yaourt.

8. Hurluberlu

Meaning: An oddball or eccentric person

9. Crapoter

If you fake puff or don’t take a lungful of a cigarette, that would be the literal translation of ‘crapoter’ – but you would use it to refer to a pretender or fake person.

10. Nostalgie de la boue

Nostalgie de la boue literally translates to “longing for the mud” and was coined by Émile Augier, a French dramatist and poet. This expression can be used to refer to various situations, but generally it’s used to refer to people who desire something base or something lower than what they’re accustomed to.

11. Bon vivant

Meaning: A way to describe someone who enjoys the finer things in life.

12. Ras-le-bol

The term ras-le-bol literally translates to “bowl full of it” and it's generally used to emphasize frustration and agitation, kind of like when you’ve had enough of something and you’re now reaching the point where you can’t take any more.

13. Jolie Laide

Jolie laidedirectly translates to “pretty ugly” in English and it's a term for unconventional beauties. It conveys the uniqueness of someone’s beauty, something atypical that challenges or isn’t aligned with conventional beauty standards.

14. être à l'ouest

Meaning: literally "being west", meaning a daydreamer or someone who is spaced out.

15. Bricoleur

Meaning: A handyman who makes use of whatever materials are available to him to create a construction (kind of like a DIYer if that world would exist).

Follow me for more language articles: 

EliceBerlynn
EliceBerlynn
@EliceBerlynn