French Gestures and Body Language

Being able to interpret French gestures will enhance your understanding of the French people and their language.

by Albin Vidal

Spoken or written language is only one element of numerous facets of human communication.

Body language also plays an important role in communication, and although it does not use words nor particular sounds in a language (tongue), it often differs from a country to another.

For example, by counting on the fingers, an American often begins with the index finger, whereas French begins with the thumb ( thumb ) to indicate the same number - "1".

The Italians and the French people are famous for their extensive use of the hands in this domain...

Here is a small guide which will allow you to decode this real language (tongue) of French gestures and non-verbal signs!

Ras le bol

Ras le bol!

En avoir ras le bol
En avoir marre

To be fed up with / I have had it!


I’m fed up with learning French!
J’en ai ras le bol d’apprendre le francais!

I'm fed up with the children today! They've been naughty!
J'en ai marre de ces enfants. Ils ont etaient méchants.

Quelle barbe!

Quelle barbe!

Qu’est ce qu’il est rasoir!
How boring he is! He’s so boring!


He told me about his winter holidays in France. He’s so boring!
Il m’a raconté ses vacances d’hiver en France. Quelle barbe!

She was complaining all day long! Was she boring!
Elle s'est plaint toute la journée. Qu'est-ce qu'elle a été barbante!

Note: le rasoir has two meanings in French. 1. razor - which is the original meaning and 2. to be boring.

mon oeil!

Mon oeil!

Mon oeil!

My eye! (literally)
It’s not true! Yeah right….. as if!


He’s learning French ? Yeah right….. as if!
Il apprend le francais? Mon oeil!

alors la!

Alors la!

Alors la!
So be it!


So be it! It’s not my fault!
Alors la! Je ne suis pour rien !

Au poil!

Au poil!

Au poil! Super! Fantastique!
Great! Fantastic!

Living in the French Riviera, it’s Great!
Vivre dans le sud de la france, c’est au poil!

va te faire foutre!

Va te faire foutre!

Go and get stuffed!
Va te faire foutre!


You have robbed my wallet ! Go and get stuffed !
Tu m’a volé mon porte-monnaie! Va te faire foutre!





Aie...Aie...Aie!! j'ai perdu mon colier de perles.
Tsk...Tsk...Tsk!!I have lost my pearl necklace!

Note: For the french gesture of Aie...Aie.. you should shake your hand like if there is water on it.

mais qu'est ce que tu racontes!

Mais qu'est ce que tu racontes?

Mais qu'est ce que tu racontes?
But what are you talking about?


Cette histoire est invraisemblable! Mais qu'est ce que tu me racontes?
This story is implausible ! But what are you talking about?

You now know the French Gestures, check out more free lessons on Grammar

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