French Love Language: L'Amour et l'Amitié

Express yourself in the language of love

Romance in Paris
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

If French is the language of love, what better language is there with which to express your love? Here are some key French words and phrases related to love, friendship, and special occasions. Click on the link to hear the word or phrase pronounced.

Love amour
Love at first sight le coup de foudre
friendship amitié
I love you Je t'aime
I love you too Moi aussi, je t'aime
I adore you Je t'adore
Will you marry me? Veux-tu m'épouser?
to kiss embrasser
to french kiss galocher (learn more)
to date sortir avec
to fall in love (with) tomber amoureux (de) (not "tomber en amour")
to get engaged se fiancer à (or avec)
to get married se marier avec
engagement les fiançailles
marriage le mariage
wedding les noces, le mariage
wedding anniversary l'anniversaire de mariage
honeymoon la lune de miel
St. Valentine's Day (card) (une carte de) la Saint-Valentin
present un cadeau
flowers des fleurs
candy des bonbons
clothes des vêtements
perfume du parfum
jewelry des bijoux
engagement ring une bague de fiançailles
wedding ring une alliance
husband un mari, un époux
wife une femme, une épouse
fiance un fiancé, une fiancée*
lover un amant, une amante
boyfriend un copain
girlfriend une copine
friend un ami, une amie*
dear, sweetheart chéri, chérie*

* Same pronunciation for masculine and feminine version.

French Terms of Endearment (Termes d'Affection)

French has all kinds of interesting terms of endearment, including a rather odd assortment of barnyard animals. Check out this list of French terms of endearment to use with your loved ones (both romantic and familial). For the most part, these all mean something along the lines of "sweetie," "darling," or "poppet," so we've provided the literal translations as well as a few notes (in parentheses).

My love mon amour
My angel mon ange
My baby mon bébé
My beautiful (informal) ma belle
My dear mon cher, ma chère
My dearie mon chéri, ma chérie
My cutie mon mignon
My Half ma moitié
My little guy / girl mon petit / ma petite
My doll ma poupée
My heart mon cœur
My little girl (informal, old-fashioned) ma fifille
My big guy / girl mon grand / ma grande
My Jesus (when talking to a child) mon jésus
My treasure mon trésor
My (fruit) core (when talking to a child) mon trognon

Ma mie literally "my female friend," but used to mean "my dear/love."

This is a somewhat old-fashioned term contracted from mon amie > m'amie > ma mie. Note that mie also refers to the soft part of bread — the opposite of the crust.

Affectionate French Terms Related to Animals

Learn some playful French word for your loved ones.

My doe ma biche
My little doe ma bichette
My quail (informal) ma caille
My duck mon canard
My kitten mon chaton
My cat (familiar) ma chatte
My pig mon cochon
My egg mon coco
My hen (informal) ma cocotte
My rabbit mon lapin
My otter ma loutre
My wolf mon loup
My pussycat (informal) mon mimi
My pussycat mon minet / ma minette
My kitty mon minou
My hen ma poule
My chicken mon poulet
My pullet (informal) ma poulette
My chick (informal) mon poussin
My flea (informal) ma puce

Love Words Related to Food

My cabbage, my pastry (informal) mon chou
My favorite, blue-eyed boy/girl, pet* (informal) mon chouchou
My dropping (also refers to a small, round goat cheese) ma crotte
My barley sugar mon sucre d'orge

*as in "teacher's pet"  

Notes About Modifiers

  • The word petit (little) can be added in front of most of these: mon petit chouma petite chatte, etc.
  • The phrase en sucre (made of sugar) can be added to the end of some: mon trésor en sucremon cœur en sucre, etc.

Note that the possessive adjectives mon and ma (my) have to agree with the gender of the term of endearment—not your own gender nor necessarily that of the person you're talking to/about. Generally speaking, masculine terms of endearment can be used for men and women, while feminine terms of endearment can only be used for women.

Perfect Your Pronunciation: How to Say "I Love You" in French

They say that French is the language of love, so you'd better know how to say I love you! These step-by-step instructions will teach you how to say I love you in French.

Here's How

  1. Find the person you love.
  2. Say his or her name.
  3. Say je t'aime:
    • j in je is pronounced [zh] like the g in mirage
    • e is pronounced like the oo in good
    • t'aime is pronounced [tem] to rhyme with them.
  4. Optional: Follow with "my darling":
    • To a woman = ma chérie, pronounced [ma shay ree].
    • To a man = mon chéri, pronounced [mo(n) shay ree]. The (n) is nasal.
    • You can also choose a different French term of endearment
  5. Optional: To respond to someone who says "I love you," say Moi aussi, je t'aime (I love you too).
    • moi is pronounced "mwa."
    • aussi is pronounced "oh see."
  6. You can listen to sound files of these terms on my page of French love language

What You Need

  • A few minutes of practice
  • A romantic location
  • Your beloved
  • (optional) candles, flowers, bonbons, soft music, an engagement ring...

English Expressions Using "Love"

The English word "love" is found in many different expressions. Here's how to translate these phrases into French.

love affair (literal) une liaison
love affair (figurative) une passion
love at first sight le coup de foudre
love child un enfant d'amour
un enfant illégitime
un enfant naturel
love feast une agape
un banquet
love game (tennis) un jeu blanc
love handles poignées d'amour
love-hate relationship un rapport amour-haine
love-in-a-mist (plant) la nigelle de Damas
love-knot les lacs d'amour
love letter une lettre d'amour
un billet-doux
love-lies-bleeding (plant) amarante queue-de-renard
love life la vie amoureuse
ses amours
love match un mariage d'amour
love nest un nid d'amour
un nid d'amoureux
love of one's life le grand amour
love potion un philtre d'amour
love scene une scène d'amour
love seat une causeuse
love story une histoire d'amour
love (in tennis) zéro, rien
love token un gage d'amour
love triangle un triangle amoureux
loved ones êtres chers
lovestruck éperdument amoureux
brotherly love amour fraternel
casual love affair un amour de rencontre
courtly love amour courtois
declaration of love une déclaration d'amour
first love son premier amour
free love amour libre
in love (with) amoureux (de)
labor of love une tâche accomplie pour le plaisir
madly in love fou d'amour
my love (term of endearment) mon amour
physical love amour physique
platonic love amour platonique
puppy love amour juvénile
true love le grand amour
for the love of God pour l'amour de Dieu
He loves me, he loves me not Il m'aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément,
à la folie, pas du tout
How's your love life? Comment vont tes amours ?
I'd love to! Avec plaisir !
Volontiers !
It can't be had for love nor money. C'est introuvable.
On ne peut se le procurer à aucun prix.
Lucky at cards, unlucky in love Heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour
not for love nor money
I wouldn't do it for love nor money.
pour rien au monde
Je ne le ferais pour rien au monde.
Someone up there loves me. C'est mon jour de veine.
There's no love lost between them. Entre eux, ce n'est pas le grand amour.
Ils ne peuvent pas se sentir.
to do something for the love of it faire qqchose pour l'amour de l'art
to do something out of love for faire qqchose par l'amour pour
to do something with loving care faire qqchose avec amour
to fall in love (with) tomber amoureux (de)
to live on love alone vivre / se nourrir d'amour et d'eau fraîche
to love aimer
to make love faire l'amour