Money is one of those topics in French where there’s a countless number of slang terms, idioms, and expressions. Unfortunately, just knowing that l’argent means “money” is not going to get you by, especially in conversations with younger native speakers. Fret not though, because this article takes a look at some of the most widely used slang and expressions related to money.
On y va !
Slang and Informal Terms for “Money”
Here’s some of most popular words used instead of l’argent in French, and some examples of how they might be used in context. Most of these terms are used exclusively in the singular form, but some can be used in both the singular and plural. If this is the case, then usually the plural translates as “money” whilst the singular translates as “penny”, often in the sense of “not having a single penny”.
Il a du fric. = He’s loaded.
Ça coûte un fric fou. = That costs a bomb.
J’ai besoin d’un boulot pour faire du fric. = I need a job to earn money.
la thune, les thunes
Ça ne vaut pas une thune. = That’s not worth a penny.
J’ai besoin de thunes. = I need some money.
(Une thune was originally a familiar term for a five-franc coin, but after the introduction of the euro in France, it became a slang term for money in general.)
Elle a beaucoup de pognon. = She has a lot of money.
Il faut que je gagne plus de blé. = I need to earn more money.
(Le blé literally means wheat.)
les ronds, un rond
J’ai pas un rond. = I don’t have a single penny.
Tu peux me prêter de l’oseille ? = Can you lend me some cash?
Il est au pèze. = He is rich.
Le pèze may also be shortened to le pez, for example:
As-tu mon pez ? = Do you have my money?
les sous, un sou
J’ai pas un sou. = I don’t have a single penny.
J’ai pas de sous. = I don’t have any money.
J’ai besoin d’un peu de flouze. = I need a bit of cash.
les biftons, un bifton
Il a plein de biftons. = He has a lot of money.
Un bifton is an informal term meaning a bank note.
Un paquet de biftons. = A wad of cash.
Other Money-Related Slang and Informal Terms
les balles = euros
Les balles used to mean francs, but in recent years, young people have begun to use it to mean euros.
Tu peux me prêter 10 balles ? = Can you lend me 10 euros?
talking about being rich
If you want to say somebody is “loaded”, “minted” or “rolling in it”, you can use the following informal terms and expressions:
friqué = loaded, minted etc.
Example: Sa famille est friquée. = His/her family is loaded.
blindé = loaded, minted etc.
Example: Les gens qui habitent dans ce quartier sont blindés. = People who live in this neighbourhood are loaded.
plein aux as (literally: “full of aces”) = loaded, minted etc.
Example: Notre patronne est plein aux as. = Our boss is minted.
pété de thunes (literally: “farted money”) = loaded, minted etc.
Example: Son mari est pété de thunes. = Her husband is loaded.
(Note: pété de thunes is much more informal than the other terms.)
rouler sur l’or (literally: “to roll on gold”) = to be loaded, to be minted etc.
Example: Il roule sur l’or depuis il a été promu. He’s been rolling in it since he was promoted.
talking about things that are expensive
coûter une blinde = “to cost a fortune”, “to cost an arm an a leg” etc.
Example: Ce collier m’a coûté une blinde. = This necklace cost me a fortune.
coûter les yeux de la tête (literally: “to cost the eyes in your head”) = “to cost a fortune”, “to cost an arm an a leg”
Example: Ces voitures sont incroyables, mais elles coûtent les yeux de la tête. = These cars are amazing, but they cost an arm and a leg.
Note: you might see a few other variations of this expression that use other body parts, such as coûter la peau des fesses. (Literally, “to costs the skin of your behind”.)
ça douille = “that’s pricey”, “that costs a fortune” etc.
Example: La robe est jolie, mais ça douille ! The dress is nice, but it costs a fortune!
talking about having little money
If you want to say that somebody is “broke” or “skint” you can use the following:
fauché = “broke”, “skint” etc. (Faucher means to harvest, so this is linked to blé referring to money but literally meaning “wheat”.)
raide (literally: stiff) = “broke”, “skint” etc.
à sec (literally: “dried up”) = “broke”, “skint” etc.
talking about something being cheap
If you want to talk about something that is cheap, you can say:
pour une bouchée de pain (literally: “for a mouthful of bread”) = “for next to nothing”
J’ai acheté cette télévision pour une bouchée de pain. = I brought this television for next to nothing.
à trois francs six sous. (literally: for three francs six sous) = “dirt-cheap”, “next to nothing”
This idiom is still used in France, but you’re more likely to hear the older generation say it.)
talking about somebody being a cheapskate
If you want to say that somebody is a cheapskate, you can call them
un radin, une radine
un pingre, une pingre
(Here, radin is the more informal term. Un radin probably best translates as “a cheapskate”, whereas un pingre better translates as “a Scrooge”).