Galocher - French Kiss. The Image Bank / Getty Images


(informal) to French kiss

Il n'a jamais galoché sa copine - He never French kissed his girlfriend.

Dominique et Claude ont passé des heures à se galocher - Dominique and Claude spent hours making out.

A linguistic irony that has existed since World War I has finally been rectified. When soldiers returned to the US with newly acquired knowledge of kissing with tongues, they called this sexy technique the French kiss.
Yet there was no simple French translation; the clunky equivalent has always been along the lines of embrasser avec la langue or even the franglais faire le french kiss. The 2014 edition of Le Petit Robert, published in 2013, has changed all that: the official translation of "to French kiss" is galocher.

If this new word reminds you of galoshes, it's with good reason: une galoche has meant "French kiss" since at least the 70s* but it meant "galosh" or "overshoe" for hundreds of years before that, giving galocher a sort of onomatopoeic connection between the sound that galoshes make on a wet street and that tongues make during a French kiss. The French teen of a friend of mine says that the verb has something of a negative connotation, more along the lines of slobbery kissing or sucking face than the infinitely more elegant "French kiss" or the neutral "to make out."

*It's interesting that such a huge fuss is being made about this word, since galoche meaning "French kiss" appears in the 2005 Le Grand Robert, which dates it back to at least 1976.
The news in France seems to be that the noun is appearing for the first time in the smaller but much more accessible Petit Robert, though no one has actually said this - all the articles make it sound like it's the first time galoche has showed up in any dictionary. In contrast, the English-language media is focusing on the verb, which is indeed a brand-new entry anywhere.

Related lessonsReferences

Ils se font un nom en entrant dans le dico (Le Parisien)

‘French Kiss’ is Finally a Real Word in France (Time Magazine)

Le Grand Robert de la langue française

Pronunciation: [ga luh shay]