11 Synonyms for "Great" in French

If You're Overusing "Tres Bon," Try an Alternative

The Eiffel Tower in Paris seen from underneath
The Eiffel Tower in Paris seen from underneath.

Eksley/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

French has many ways to say "great." Many students use très bon (very good), but bon in French is really just a basic adjective. It means "good" and can seem a bit weak, just like "very good" or "great" would be in English. Using a synonym, instead, will make your French sound much more eloquent.

As we examine the various synonyms for très bon, we will look at two sentences. The first will use the appropriate French "greatand the second will include the synonym. This will allow you to really see the impact it has on your meaning.

Agréable (Nice, Pleasant)

This is a very good synonym for bon since agréable essentially has the same strength as bon.

  • Nous avons passé une très bonne soirée. We had a very good evening.
  • Nous avons passé une soirée très agréable. We had a very pleasant evening.

Chouette (Cool, Pleasant, Friendly, Nice)

Chouette is common slang. It has the same masculine and feminine.

  • Cette fille est très sympathique. This girl is very nice, is great.
  • Cette fille est très chouette. This girl is awesome.

No Très Here

Now we will look at adjectives that are already at the highest degree of their meaning. This means that you cannot use très (very) with them. You could, however, use vraiment (really) which is extremely popular, though it may be a bit overused at times.

Excellent (Excellent)

When something is really, really good, the word "good" simply cannot express that. This is why we have a word like excellent in both French and English.

  • Ce repas était vraiment très bon. This meal was really very good.
  • Ce repas était vraiment excellent. This meal was really excellent.

Formidable (Wonderful)

Watch out for the word formidable as it is a false cognate. Formidable is positive in French, it does not mean terrible as "formidable" does in English.

  • Nous avons vu un très bon spectacle. We saw a very good show.
  • Nous avons vu un spectacle formidable. We saw a wonderful show.

Extraordinaire / Exceptionnel (Exceptional)

In English, "extraordinary" doesn't necessarily mean "great" as it can also mean "out of the ordinary." In French, we would say " hors de l'ordinaire" or, more frequently, "très différent " for that meaning.

  • Nous avons bu un très bon vin. We drank a very good wine.
  • Nous avons bu un vin extraordinaire/ exceptionnel. We drank an exceptional wine

Fantastique (Amazing)

When you're traveling, you will come across many eye-catching places. Yet, are they really just "pretty" or are they "amazing"? Fantastique is a perfect word for such a scenario.

  • Nous avons visité des endroits très beaux. We visited very pretty places.
  • Nous avons visité des endroits fantastiques. We visited amazing places.

Merveilleux (Marvelous)

Merveilleux is much like fantastique in that it takes a mediocre description and adds pizzazz. 

  • Ce massage était vraiment très bon. This massage was really great.
  • Ce massage était vraiment merveilleux. This massage was really marvelous.

Remarquable (Remarkable)

You should have no problem with the French remarquable because it bears a remarkable resemblance to the English.

  • Son travail est très bon. His work is great.
  • Son travail est remarquable. His work is remarkable.

Génial (Brilliant)

There are "great" ideas and there are "brilliant" ideas. When you want to distinguish the two, turn to géniale.

  • Il a eu une très bonne idée. He had a great idea.
  • Il a eu une idée géniale. He had a brilliant idea.

Super (Terrific)

"Super" may be a bit old-fashioned in English, but it is used often in French. It's also invariable, meaning it doesn't change with number and gender.

  • Mes vacances étaient très bonnes. My vacation was great.
  • Mes vacances étaient super. My vacation was terrific.

Note that "les vacances" is plural feminine in French.

Top Cool (Really Cool)

The phrase top cool is popular among a really young French crowd. Don't use it if you are over, say, 20!

  • Je kiffe trop cette meuf. Elle est top cool. I dig this girl. She's really awesome.
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Your Citation
Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "11 Synonyms for "Great" in French." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/how-to-say-great-in-french-1369641. Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. (2020, August 25). 11 Synonyms for "Great" in French. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-say-great-in-french-1369641 Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "11 Synonyms for "Great" in French." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-say-great-in-french-1369641 (accessed March 27, 2023).

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