French Words Starting With A, B and C

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French words starting with A, B, and C
ThoughtCo / Chelsea Damraksa​

Build your French vocabulary by studying common French words starting with letters A, B and C. Listen to the pronunciation of these words and practice using them in context.

French Words That Start With A

A the letter A
abaisser to pull/push down, to lower
abandonné (adj) - abandoned, disused; relaxed
abattre to pull down; to slaughter; to weaken
un abcès abscess
À bientôt See you soon
s'abonner à to subscribe, to buy a season ticket
aborder to reach; approach; start-up, take on
aboutir to succeed; to end up
abracadabrant (adj) - incredible, preposterous
un abri shelter, refuge
abrutir to exhaust, to deaden one's mind
absent (adj) - absent, lacking, missing
Acadie Acadia
accablant (adj) - exhausting, oppressive, overwhelming
un accélérateur gas pedal
les accessoires (m) accessories
accro (inf adj) - hooked, addicted
une accroche lead-in, catchphrase, headline
l'acharnement (m) fierceness, fury, determination
les achats (m) shopping
à côté de next to
un acteur actor
actif (adj) - active
l'actif (m) assets, credits
une actrice actress
actualité (f) current events, news
l'addition (f) check/bill
Adélaïde Adelaide
Adèle Adela
À demain See you tomorrow
Adieu Farewell
un(e) ado (inf) - teenager
Adrien Adrian
Adrienne Adriana
à droite right
un aeroport (m) airport
affadir to make tasteless, dull, uninteresting, colorless
une affiche poster
afficher to post, display, flaunt
affubler to wear something bizarre (as if to disguise)
Africain(e) African
Agathe Agatha
Agnès Agnes
à gauche left
l'agneau (m) lamb
une agrafe staple
une agrafeuse stapler
agréable nice, pleasant, pleasing
agréger to aggregate, incorporate
ah bon (interj) - oh really? (not "oh good")
Aidez-moi ! Help!
Aimé (loved)
Aimée Amy, (loved)
à la carte side order (not part of le menu)
Alain Alan, Allen
alambiqué (adj) - convoluted, involved, obsure
À la prochaine Until next time
à la rigueur (adv) - or even, if need be
Alexandre Alexander
Alexandrie Alexandria
Alfred Alfred
Algérien(ne) Algerian
Alice Alice
Alix Alex
alléchant (adj) - mouth-watering, tempting, enticing
allergique à ... allergic to...
une alliance wedding ring
Allô ? Hello?
alourdir to weigh/load down, to make heavy
Alphonse Alfonso
un amant lover
une amante lover
un amateur amateur, lover of
Amélie Amelia
améliorer to improve
Américain(e) American
un(e) ami(e) friend
amical (adj) - friendly
les amis the friends
amitié (f) friendship, liking, kindness
l'amour love
une ampleur fullness, liberalness, opulence; scale, extent
un ananas pineapple
Anastasie Anastasia
les anchois anchovies
les anciens élèves former students
André Andrew
Andrée Andrea
anéantir to annihilate, destroy; to overwhelm, overcome
une anesthésie locale local anesthesia
Anglais(e), l'anglais English
anglo-saxon (adj) - of or relating to British civilization
une anicroche (inf) - hitch, snag, problem
animer to lead, conduct; drive, encourage; liven up
animé (adj) - busy, lively, animated
Anne Ann
l'anniversaire de mariage wedding anniversary
un annuaire phone book
anonymat (m) anonymity
un anorak ski jacket
Antoine Anthony
Antoinette Antoinette
août August
à peine (adv) - hardly, barely
un apéritif cocktail
à point medium-rare
un appart (fam) - apartment, flat
un appel en P.C.V. collect call
appeler to call
apprivoiser to tame, domesticate, make more sociable
appui (m) support
après être venu after having come
l'arabe Arabic
l'argenterie (f) silverware
une armoire closet
arnaquer (fam) - to swindle, rip off; to nab, arrest
arracher to lift, tear out/off, pull up/out; to snatch
un arrêt stop
arrière (m) back, stern
en arrière behind, backward
les arrivées Arrivals
un arrondissement district; rounding, swelling
arroser to water, spray, (inf) - to drink to
Arthur Arthur
un artichaut artichoke
un(e) artiste artist
Asiatique Asian
les asperges (f) asparagus
assez fairly
assez utile fairly useful
une assiette plate
assoupir to make drowsy
s'assoupir to doze off
assuré (adj) - confident
astreindre to compel, force
à ta santé cheers
atavique (adj) - atavistic, hereditary
à temps partiel (adv, adj) - part-time
à tes souhaits bless you (after a sneeze)
un atout asset, trump card
À tout à l'heure See you soon
un attentat murder attempt, attack
attention ! (interj) - Warning! Watch out!
une aubergine eggplant
Audrey Audrey
au fait by the way; informed of; Get to the point!
Auguste Augustus
Augustin Augustus
auparavant (adv) - beforehand, previously
au pif as a rough guess, at random
Aurore (dawn)
autant (adv) - as much/many, so much/many
une auto car
une autoroute highway
l'auto-stop (m) hitchhiking
auprès de (prep) - next to, compared with, in the view of
Au revoir Good-bye
Au secours ! Help!
au téléphone on the phone
Australien(ne) Australian
l'autobus bus
automne autumn
avant hier the day before yesterday
avec elle with her
avenant (adj) - pleasant, welcoming
un aventurier adventurer
avéré (adj) - known, recognized
s'avérer to turn out (that)
l'avion plane
un avocat, une avocate lawyer (barrister)
avoir to have
avoir faim to be hungry
avoir soif to be thirsty
à vos souhaits bless you (after a sneeze)
à votre santé cheers
avouer to avow, confess, admit
avril April

French Words That Start With B

B letter B
un baba cool (inf) - hippy
le babeurre buttermilk
le bac le baccalauréat; ferry, tub, trough, vat
bâcler to botch, scamp, throw together
badiner to banter, jest
des bagages luggage
la bagarre fight, brawl
bagarrer (inf) - to fight, clash, argue
bagatelle trinket
une bagnole (inf) - car
une bague ring
une bague de fiançailles engagement ring
une baguette French bread, baton, chopstick
un bahut sideboard; (inf) - school, taxi, truck
une baignoire bathtub
un bain bathtub
le bain moussant bubble bath
baiser to kiss; (vulgar slang) - to outdo, to be had; to have sex
balader (inf) - to trail around, to take for a walk
un balai broom, brush
balbutier to stammer, babble
le balcon balcony
balèze brawny, strapping
une balise beacon, buoy, sign
les balivernes (f) nonsense
une balle bullet, ball, shot
une banane banana
un banc a bench, seat; shoal/school (of fish)
bancaire (adj) bank
bandant (fam adj) - sexy, interesting
une bande band, strip, bandage, line, group; (inf) - a bunch of, pack of
la banlieue suburbs, outskirts
la banque bank
la baraque shed, hut, stand, stall; (inf) - a shack, digs, dump
le baratin (inf) - sweet talk, chatter
une barbiche goatee
barrer to bar, block, close, cross out
une barrette barrette
des bas (m) stockings
la base (demaquillage) foundation
le basket basketball
le baume démêlant conditioner
bavarder to chat, chatter; (inf) - to blab
baver to dribble, to leak; (fam) - to have a hard time
baveux (adj) - dribbly, slobbery, runny, blurry
une bavure smudge, smear, hitch, flaw
béant (adj) gaping, wide-open
beau (adj) - handsome
beau (adj) - nice out
beaucoup very much, many, a lot
un beauf (fam) - brother-in-law; a small-minded person
Beaujolais nouveau  
bec beak, bill, nib
bée (in bouche bée) open-mouthed
bégayer to stammer, stutter
un béguin (inf) - crush, fancy, also a bonnet
Belge Belgian
belle (adj) - pretty
bénévole (adj) - volunteer, unpaid
un bénévole volunteer
bénir to bless, to thank God for
Benjamin Benjamin
le benjamin the youngest child, youngest son
Benoît Benedict
une béquille crutch, kick-stand, (nautical) prop, shore
bercer to rock, cradle
la berezina disaster
berk (inf exclamation) - yuck!
Bernard Bernard
berner to fool, hoax, dupe
Bertrand Bertrand, Bertram
la besogne work, task, job
(avoir) besoin de to need
une bestiole bug, creepy crawler
bête (adj) - stupid, silly, foolish
une bête

animal, insect, creature

une bêtise stupidity, mistake, blunder, silly thing, nonsense
le béton concrete
le beurre butter
une bévue blunder
un bibelot trinket, knick-knack, curio
un biberon baby bottle
bicher (inf) - to be pleased with oneself
bichonner to pamper
une bicyclette bicycle
bidon can, tin, flask
bidonner (fam) to split one's sides laughing
bidule (inf) contraption, whatsit; what's-his-name

good, moral, right, healthy

bien cuit well done
bien étrange quite strange
la bière beer
le bifteck steak
les bijoux (m) jewelry
un bikini bikini
le bilan assessment, results, balance sheet
un billet ticket; bill, note (money)
un billet aller-retour round trip ticket
un billet simple one-way ticket
biologique (adj) - biological, organic
bis grayish-brown; (music) repeat; (address) ½, a
le biscuit cookie
(année) bissextile leap (year)
le bizutage (school slang) hazing, ragging
blafard pale, pallid, wan
une blague a joke, trick, blunder
blanc white
la blanchisserie laundromat
un blason coat of arms, heraldry
un bled (inf, even slang) - village, dump, godforsaken place
blesser to wound, hurt, injure; to offend
bleu blue, rare
bleu clair light blue
bleu foncé dark blue
bloc block, unit, group, pad (of paper)
blond (adj) - blond
un blouson jacket
bluffer (inf) - to bluff, try it on, fool
un bobo (inf, baby language) - boo boo, owie, wound
une bobonne (inf and somewhat archaic) - missus, dearie
boire to drink
le bois wood
une boisson drink
une boîte box, can; (inf) - nightclub; job, office; school
boiter to limp, to wobble, to be shaky
un bol bowl
bon good
ah bon (interj) - oh really? (not "oh good")
bon appétit ! enjoy your meal
les bonbons (m) candy
Bonjour Hello
Bonne nuit Goodnight
Bonsoir Good evening
un bordel (fam) - mess, chaos; (literal) - brothel
borné (adj) - narrow-minded, limited
bosser (inf) - to work, slog, to perform hard labor
des bottes (f) boots
le bottin directory, phonebook, Yellow Pages
bouc billy goat, goatee
la bouche mouth
une bouchée mouthful
boucher to cork, plug, block
un boucher butcher
la boucherie butcher shop
bouchon cork, stopper, plug, cap; traffic jam
bouclé (adj) - curly
une boucle d'oreille earring
un bouclier shield
bouder to sulk, keep away from
boudiné (adj) - bursting out of
la boue mud
bouffer to be full, have volume, (fam) - to wolf-down, gobble
bougrement (inf) terribly, really, very
bouillant (adj) boiling, scalding, fiery, hotheaded
un boulanger
une boulangère
la boulangerie bakery
boulot (adj) - chubby, tubby
le boulot (informal) - work, the daily grind
boum (interj) - Boom!, Bang!
un boum bang, tremendous success
une boum party
un bouquin (inf) - book
bourré (adj) - stuffed, packed; (fam) - drunk, plastered
un bourreau torturer
une bourrique donkey; (inf) - blockhead, pigheaded person
la bourse scholarship, grant; second-hand sale
bousculer to jostle, bump into; to hurry, pressure; to liven up
la boustifaille (fam) - grub, nosh, chow
une bouteille bottle
une boutique hors taxes duty-free
un bouton de manchette cufflink
un boxer-short boxer shorts
un bracelet bracelet
un bracelet à breloques charm bracelet
brancher to plugin, connect, link up
branler to shake, waggle; to be shaky, loose, unsteady
braquer to point, aim, turn the steering wheel
le bras arm

to stir, mix, knead, shuffle; to brew

bravitude fullness of bravery
brebis ewe
bref (adv) - in short, to make a long story short
Brésilien(ne) Brazilian
un brevet diploma, certificate, patent
le bricolage home improvement, tinkering, DIY; rush/makeshift job
Brigitte Bridget
un brin blade, sprig, yarn, a bit
briser to break, smash; ruin, wreck; tire out
une broche brooch
bronzé (adj) - tan
la brosse à cheveux hairbrush
la brosse à dents toothbrush
se brosser to brush
se brosser les cheveux to brush one's hair
se brosser les dents to brush one's teeth
brouter to graze, to nibble; (slang) to be annoying
bruiner to drizzle
brûlures burn, burning sensation
brun (adj) - brown (hair, eyes)
brut (adj) - uncut, rough, crude, raw
bu drank
la bûche log
bûcher to slog away at, to swot up; (Canada) to fell, cut down
le bureau office, study
le bureau de change money exchange
buriner to engrave, chisel
un but goal, aim, purpose, destination
buter to stumble; (fam) - to bump off, kill

French Words That Start With C

C the letter C
ça (indefinite demonstrative pronoun) that, it
une cabine téléphonique phone booth
Ça bouge ? How's it going?
le caca poo poo, feces
une cacahouète peanut, monkey nut
un cache-nez muffler
un cachet tablet, pill; stamp, seal, postmark; style, character
un cadeau present
le cadet youngest child, youngest son
cadre frame, container, box, setting, framework, manager
le café coffee
un cahier notebook
un caissier, unecaissière cashier
une calculatrice calculator
un caleçon underwear
le calendrier calendar
caler to wedge, lock; to prop up;
(inf) - to fill up (with food); to give in/up
se caler to plant/settle oneself
calfeutrer to fill, to stop up, to stop drafts
se calfeutrer to shut oneself away, to make oneself snug
un calque tracing, carbon copy, spitting image, loan translation
Canadien(ne) Canadian
le canal dentaire root canal
un canapé couch
cancaner to gossip, to quack
la canicule

scorching heat, heatwave

la canine canine tooth
cantonner to station, quarter, confine
un cap (geography) - cape, point, headland
Capucine (nasturtium)
carburer (fam) - to go, to be
une carie cavity
un carnet de chèques checkbook
Caroline Caroline
la carotte carrot
Ça roule ? How's it going?
un carrefour crossroads, junction, intersection, forum (lit and fig)
la carte map, menu
la carte d'embarquement
un carton box

(inf) - to smash into, to do really well/poorly

se casser to break; (inf) - to work at; (fam) - to split, take off
casseur rioter; (fam) burglar; scrap dealer
Catherine Catherine, Katherine
un cauchemar nightmare
causer to cause, (inf) to chat
Ça va Fine
Ça va ? How are you?
Ça va bien I'm doing well
Ça va mal Not well
Cécile Cecilia
une ceinture belt, cummerbund
le céleri celery
censé (adj) - supposed to
cent 100
une cerise cherry
certes (formal adv) - certainly, admittedly, of course
cesser to cease, stop, bring to an end
C'est It is
c'est-à-dire that is
C'est à votre goût ? Is everything ok?
C'est ... à l'appareil. ... is calling.
C'est de la part de .... ... is calling.
C'est de la part dequi ? Who is calling?
C'est formidable ! It's great!
C'est incroyable ! It's incredible!
C'est quoi
C'est terminé
C'était magnifique ! It was wonderful!
cette phrase
une chaîne stéréo stereo
une chaise chair
un châle shawl
chaleureux (adj) - warm, hearty
la chambre bedroom
un champ field, area (literally and figuratively)
le champignon mushroom
le chantier building site, job site, depot; (inf) - shambles, mess
Chapeau ! (interj) - Well done! Congrats!
un chapeau hat, introductory paragraph
le charabia (inf) - gibberish, gobbledygook
la charcuterie pork butcher
charger to load, overload; to put in charge of
Charles Charles
Charlot Charlie
Charlotte Charlotte
charnière (adj) - turning (point), transitional, linking
un charpentier carpenter
charrier to cart along, carry; (inf) - to kid; (fam) - to go too far
la chasse hunting
châtain (adj) - brown (hair)
Chateua neuf du pape
châtier to refine, perfect; (religion) - to chasten, mortify; (literary) - to punish
chatouiller to tickle
chaud (adj) - hot
chaud froid
chausser to put shoes on, to fit
des chaussettes (f) socks
des chaussures (f) shoes
des chaussures à hauts talons (f) high-heeled shoes
un(e) chef cook
une chemise shirt; file folder
une chemise de nuit nightgown
un chemisier blouse
chéri(e) dear, sweetheart
le chevet head of the bed, bedside
les cheveux hair
une cheville ankle; dowel, peg, hook
chevronné (adj) - seasoned, experienced
chez (prep) - at the home/office of; in the work/mind of; among
chez elle at her house
chez moi at my house
une chiffe spineless or weak person; (archaic) - rag, old cloth
Chinois(e), le chinois Chinese
un chiot puppy
le chocolat chocolate
le chocolat chaud hot chocolate
le chômage unemployment

(fam) - to pinch, nick, steal; to catch

choquer to shock, appall, offend; to shake-up
le chou cabbage, also a term of endearment
chouette (inf adj) - cute, smashing, nice
une chouette owl
le chou-fleur cauliflower
chouïa (informal) tiny bit, smidgin
Christine Christine
Christophe Christopher
chuchoter to whisper, murmur
chute fall, waterfall, collapse/downfall, loss
une cible target, goal, purpose
ci-joint (adv in correspondence) - enclosed, attached
le cinéma movie theater
le cinoche (inf) - the pictures, movies
cinq 5
cinquante 50
circuler to go, move
citer to quote, cite; to use as an example; summon (law)
un citron lemon
le citron pressé lemonade
un citron vert lime
Claire Claire, Clara
classe touriste
un classeur binder, filing cabinet
Claude Claude, Claudia
Claudine Claudia
un clébard (inf, pejorative) - mutt, hound, dog
la clef (or clé) key; spanner, wrench; (music) - peg, clef
Clémence (clemency)
le clignotant turn signal
clocher to be defective, to have something wrong
un clocher steeple
clou nail, stud, boil, highlight/star attraction
coiffer to do someone's hair
se coiffer to do one's own hair, to put something on one's head
coincé (adj) - stuck; (inf) - unable to act; hung up, inhibited
la colère (fit of) anger, rage
un colis parcel, package
un collant pantyhose, tights
un collège high school
coller to stick, glue; (inf) - to shove; (pej) - to give; to fail, catch out
un collier necklace
coltiner to carry, lug around
Combien coûte ... ? How much does ... cost?
une combinaison slip
comble (adj) - full, packed
le comble height (figurative); last straw; roof trussing/timbers
commander to order
comme ci, comme ça So-so
comment how
Comment ? What?
Comment allez-vous ? How are you?
Comment cela s'écrit How do you spell that?
Comment ça va ? How are you?
Comment dit-on ... en français ? How do you say ___ in French?
Comment est-il ? What's he like?
Comment t'appelles-tu ? What's your name?
Comment vas-tu ? How are you?
Comment vous appelez-vous ? What's your name?
le commissariat police station
une commode dresser
complet no vacancy
composer un numéro to dial a number
un comprimé (medicine) pill, tablet
un compte count, amount; account
un compte-chèques checking account / cheque account
le concombre cucumber
un conducteur driver
conduire to drive
la confiserie candy store
la confiture jam
confondre to confuse, mix up; astound
conformément (adv) in accordance (with), according (to), in order to conform with/match
confortable (adj) - comfortable *But not for people, use à l'aisé
confus (adj) - embarrassed, ashamed
le congé holiday, vacation, leave; (job) notice
conjoint (adj) - joint, linked, related
un/e conjoint/e spouse
connaître la musique
un connard (familiar) - idiot, jerk, schmuck
consacrer to devote, dedicate; establish, sanction
Constance Constance
constater to note, notice, record, certify
une contrepartie

compensation, exchange

contrôle de sécurité
convoiter to covet, lust after
cool (inf) - cool
un copain (inf) - mate, buddy, boyfriend
une copine girlfriend
une coqueluche (figurative) darling, sweetheart, idol
une coquille shell (literally and figuratively)
coquin (adj) - mischievous, malicious; risqué, racy
un(e) coquin a mischievous or malicious child
le corps body
une corvée

chore, drudgery; military duty; (in Canada) - volunteer work

cossu (adj) well-off, opulent
un costard (inf) - man's suit
costaud (inf adj) - sturdy, strong
un costaud strong man, something strong (e.g., alcohol, house)
un costume suit
côtoyer to be next to, rub shoulders with; to move alongside; (fig) - to be close to
le cou neck
le coude elbow
couler to flow, run
les couleurs colors
le couloir hall
coup de feu
courageux (adj) - brave
le courriel email
le courrier arrivé inbox
le courrier départ outbox
un cours course
court (adj) - short
un cousin male cousin
une cousine female cousin
un couteau knife
une craie chalk
un crapaud toad; flaw (in a gem); (inf) - brat, child
crapoter (inf) - to smoke without inhaling, ~ to puff
une cravate tie
un crayon pencil
la crème cream
la crème à raser shaving cream
la crème brûlée custard
la crème caramel flan
la crème fraîche very thick cream
la crème hydratante moisturizer
un créneau parallel parking space; gap, niche, slot
un creux hollow, hole; slack period
crevé (adj) - punctured, burst; (fam) - exhausted
criant (adj) - blatant, striking, shocking
crise cardiaque
crisper to tense, to get on someone's nerves
le croissant croissant
une cuillère spoon
une cuillère à soupe tablespoon
une cuillère à thé teaspoon
la cuisine kitchen, cooking
une cuisinière stove
culotté (inf adj) - cheeky, sassy
la cupidité greed

une cuve

vat, tank
le cyclisme biking
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "French Words Starting With A, B and C." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). French Words Starting With A, B and C. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Words Starting With A, B and C." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).