Coming from the word ‘l’envers’, (the reverse), Verlan is a well-known form of French slang which involves reversing the syllables. Many words of verlan are used quite regularly in everyday French, and not just by the kids!

Here are a few popular words used often in verlan

chelou (louche) – shady, dodgy
meuf (femme) – woman, wife
ouf (fou) – crazy
relou (lourd) – heavy
reum (mère) – mother
reup (père) – father
reuf (frère) – brother)
teuf (fête) – party
cimer (merci) – thank You
zarbi (bizarre) – strange
Céfran (Français – French)
tromé (métro) – metro)
zonmé (maison) – house).

Verlan was used amongst prisoners to communicate without the guards catching on to their meaning, often related to sex, drugs and rock’n roll.

As rap became popular in the 70s,  it quickly entered into popular usage in the suburbs and by the 80s had been popularised by films, ads and music and was being used nationally by the younger generation.

Some verlan words, such as meuf, have become so much part of popular usage that they have been included in the Petit Larousse dictionary.

Verlan

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