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French Argot Lesson #2: Five Words To Say “L’Argent”

It is always useful to know the slang for “money” in a foreign language, if only not to get ripped off and to understand when people talk about what is in your wallet…

 So many different ways to say “money” in French! Those greedy French.

 Before we get to those words I would like to mention a French argot specialist. His name is Michel Audiard and even if you probably never heard this name before, you need to know that he is one of France’s pride.

Michel Audiard (Born in 1920, died in 1985) was a famous screenwriter who is known for his acid, humorous, and “argotique” writing. And, if you happened to watch movies written by Michel Audiard, you surely came across  a multitude of French money-related slang.

If you would like to check out one of his movies, I recommend Les tontons flingueurs (translated as ” Crooks in Clover” or “Monsieur Gangster” in English). This movie was made in 1963 and is a melange of gangster movie (yes, France has gangsters, too) and comedy. Probably 90% of the French have seen it at least once: it’s a classic. Now, the colloquial French in it might limit your comprehension at some parts, however with perseverance (and subtitles) you will enjoy it as much as any French person.

 And…one scene is ENTIRELY in English! There it is:

 Anyway…I got carried away. Now is the time for some serious slang.

 You probably know that the standard word for “money” in French is  L’argent. Here are our five alternate (and much cooler) words:

 Le fric (the most commonly used one)

L’oseille (feminine)

L’artiche (masculine – rare but its sound is particularly typical of the argot)

Le blé  (literally this means “wheat” )

Le pognon (comes from the word poignée, “fistful” )

 Hope you enjoyed!