French Vocabulary Guide: Parts of the Body

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Learning the words for different body parts may not be the first thing you learn in French, but knowing them is essential. If you become ill or injured while traveling overseas, you'll need to be able to describe your symptoms to a doctor. Or perhaps you are telling friends about a fancy party you went to and you want to describe how the guests looked. You can see why beefing up your French vocabulary for parts of the body can come in handy.

Test Your Vocabulary

Learn how to say the parts of the body in French, and click the links to hear each word pronounced.

le corps body
les cheveux hair
la tête head
le visage face
un œil
les yeux
le nez nose
la joue cheek
la bouche mouth
la lèvre lip
la dent tooth
une oreille ear
le cou neck
la poitrine chest
un estomac stomach
le bras arm
une épaule shoulder
le coude elbow
le poignet wrist
la main hand
le doigt finger
un ongle fingernail
le pouce thumb
le dos back
la jambe leg
le genou knee
la cheville ankle
le pied foot
un orteil toe

Vocabulary Tip

The possessive adjective is almost never used with body parts in French. You rarely say things like "my leg" or "his hair." Instead, the French use reflexive verbs to show possession with body parts. For example:

Je me suis cassé la jambe. > I broke my leg (literally, I broke the leg of myself)

Il s'est lavé les cheveux. > He washed his hair (literally, He washed the hair of himself).

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Team, ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary Guide: Parts of the Body." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). French Vocabulary Guide: Parts of the Body. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Vocabulary Guide: Parts of the Body." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).