Québé-Quoi? 9 French Words I Learned in Québec


Montréal basically put my heart in its hands this Fall.
I don’t know if it was the first trip in a while where I had the opportunity to slow down and enjoy a slower pace, or because I’ve graduated from my “I WANNA MOVE HERE,” phase (the sentence I said everywhere I stepped foot) .
Regardless of the reason, Montréal had me drunk in love with everything about her, sans drinking alcohol. Although, there was plenty of that happening in Le Village. 
In my Montréal adventures, I met some French Canadians whom I not only adored having conversations with, but who taught me a thing or two I’d like to share with you. At least, I’ll share the 60% of what I could understand, because let’s be honest: listening to Québécois French made me feel like I needed to go back to level one on Duolingo. Their accent, and most importantly, their words and expressions, had me saying, “quoi?” half the time.
As a language lover, the confusion ignited my passion for asking questions and getting to the bottom of all of this jargon.

Here are 9 Canadian French words I learned in Montréal:


Pas Pire: Not bad

While Frenchies stick to “pas mal,” Canadian French speakers use the term “pas pire,” which literally translates to “not the worst.” It’s thrown around casually, and usually makes sense in context, but if you say this in France, you’ll probably get stared at (more than usual for attempting to speak French as a foreigner in the first place).

Tantôt: A while ago/In a minute

When I heard tantôt being used, it was in a joking setting. I had mentioned I could do something ridiculous, like climb to the top of a tree with heels on. My Québécois friend responded, with “Ah oui, tantôt.”
In my corner of Canada, “tantôt” means “tout à l’heure” (peu de temps avant, ou après”. It would be common to say “Je l’ai fait tantôt” ( I did it a while ago) but you can also say “Je vais le faire tantôt” (I’ll be doing it in a minute/while). People also say, on leaving “Â tantôt” (see you soon) rather than “Â bientôt”…

Déjeuner: Breakfast

Instead of having a “little breakfast,” or “petit déjeuner,” French Canadians believe in full blown breakfast. If you hear “déjeuner,” they’re talking about breakfast; don’t get confused.

Dîner: Lunch

Despite this obviously looking and sounding like “dinner,” it’s actually how Québécois say lunch. How’s that for a #mindbanger.

Souper: Dinner

We have to take our vocab back a few centuries when we used to use the word “supper” to remember this one. On va souper? We’re going to get dinner? And yes, you can order things besides soup!

Chum: Boyfriend

This ones a little bit easier to remember; at least for me when I flashback to all the crappy boyfriends I’ve had and think of “the Chum Bucket,” and it just clicks. *Cue imagery of Plankton running around with a button that will destroy Bikini Bottom.

Blonde: Girlfriend

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Tsé: Tu sais

Just squish tu sais together and you’ll sound like a French Canadian in no time.

Écoeurant: Sickeningly/disgustingly good

Major problem here: if you say, “”le souper était écoeurant” to a French person, they’ll think you’re telling them dinner was gross and disgusting, as the literal definition of the word is “disgusting.” Using the same exact expression in Québec is usually positive and means “disgustingly good.”
Do you have any more Québécois expressions that we should know about? Comment below!

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