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French Gestures ~ Les gestes français

Understanding and using French gestures

If you've ever been to France or watched French movies, you've undoubtedly seen French people performing some familiar gestures as well as a few unfamiliar ones. While some gestures are vulgar, others are as innocuous as shaking or nodding one's head.

In any case, it is as essential to understand this French "sign language" as it is any vocabulary. These pages include photos, explanations, and register ratings for 45 gestures.

Top 10 French gestures
Among the dozens of gestures and facial expressions in these lessons, there are ten that really stand out.

French gestures by register
(what is register?)
Note that some gestures have different names and are thus listed more than once.

Normal Informal Familiar
Use with anyone Use only with people you tutoie  Use only with close friends
A peu près Alors, là Aïe, aïe
Baiser la main Au poil Barrons-nous
C'est fini Bises Bisque !
Chut Bof Camembert
J'ai du nez Bouche cousue Ça pue
On a sommeil C'est nul C'est pas donné
Parfait Comme-ci, comme-ça Clapet
Pardon Délicieux Coup dans le nez
Répétez Faire la bise / le bisou Du fric
Se serrer la main Faire la moue Ferme-la !
Silence Gallic shrug Il est cinglé
Téléphone Je le jure Je m'en fous
Se tourner les pouces J'en ai ras le bol Mon œil !
Un, deux, trois S'en jeter un derrière la cravate On se tire
  Magnifique Pied de nez
  Motus et bouche cousue Que dalle !
La moue Quelle barbe !
Nul Verre dans le nez
On boit
Passer sous le nez
Poil dans la main
Qu'est-ce qu'il chante, là ? Vulgar - Offensive
Ras-le-bol Use with extreme care
Rien Le bras d'honneur
Shrug Cocu
Sous le nez Va te faire foutre


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