Street French: 5 Cool Phrases for Real-Life

In this issue of Street French, we look at 5 fun and handy expressions used in everyday French life:

  • Franchement
  • Péter un câble
  • Ça craint
  • Avoir la flemme
  • Se marrer

Below, I've detailed each phrase with audio, comments, and some real-life examples.


This means "frankly" or "honestly." It's used to emphasize sincerity in what the person is about to say:

"Franchement, je trouve ça génial!"

Honestly, I think this is awesome!

It's also used to express exasperation or disbelief, like saying "Seriously!" or "Really!", in response to something surprising, absurd, or annoying:

"Non mais franchement! Tu trouves que c'est normal?"

Seriously! Do you think this is normal?

Péter un câble

Literally means "to blow a cable," this is used when someone is losing their temper or going crazy.

"Quand il a vu la facture, il a pété un câble!"

When he saw the bill, he went nuts!

Similar expressions:

"Péter un plomb" (blow a fuse)

"Péter une durite" (blow a gasket)

Ça craint

This means "That sucks" or "That's risky."

"Tu as vu le temps qu'il fait dehors ? Ça craint pour notre pique-nique..."

Have you seen the weather outside? It's bad for our picnic.

"Ça craint" is also used to describe a sketchy place or atmosphere:

"Ça craint ce quartier! Viens, on s'en va!"

This neighborhood is sketchy! Come on, let's go!

Avoir la flemme

This means "to feel lazy" or "can’t be bothered." It's used when someone doesn't feel like doing something because of laziness.

"J'ai la flemme de sortir, on peut juste regarder un film ? "

I feel too lazy to go out, can we just watch a movie?

Se marrer

Slang for laughing, like saying "to have a laugh" or "to crack up."

"On s'est bien marrés au spectacle hier soir."

We had a good laugh last night at the show.

"Pourquoi elle se marre, celle là?"

Why is she laughing, that one?

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