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Six French idioms you will hear in Standing Up, the new trending Netflix show

If you’re into comedy, you probably heard of Standing Up, a new comedy show released by Netflix last week. Set in Paris, the series is about the lives of four young comedians as they chase their dreams of stand-up glory. Let’s take a look at how the characters talk, and learn some idioms they use most throughout the show.

1. ‘Ouf’

Until ten years ago, ouf was mostly used as an interjection, a sigh to express relief.

But nowadays, people say ‘ouf’ to refer to something, or someone unexpected, surprising. Actually, ouf is the verlan (backward slang) for ‘fou’, which means crazy.

You will hear it in the show: ‘C’est ouf’ -> ‘it’s wild’

2. Une vanne

A joke, often with the intent to make fun of someone in an affectionate manner. Since the show is centered around stand up comedians, there is a lot of banter between the protagonists, and a lot of ‘vannes’

You will hear it in the show: ‘c’est juste une vanne’ -> ‘it’s only a joke’

3. S’éclater

’S’éclater’ is slang for having fun. When people are having a good time, you’ll hear them say ‘je m’éclate’, or ‘ça m’éclate’. In the show, the characters also use it in an ironic way, to underline their embarrassment or boredom.

You will hear it in the show: ’t’as l’air de t’éclater’ -> ‘looks like you’re having fun’

4. Relou

Another verlan word: if you switch the two syllables of the word, you get ‘lourd’, for heavy. Relou is a way to talk about something painful, an unexpected problem. It can also be used to mention someone boring or annoying.

You will hear it in the show: ’arrête, t’es relou’ -> ‘’stop, you’re obnoxious’

5. Ça le fait

This untranslatable idiom has been extremely popular over the last ten years. Used as a gimmick to express approval, it’s used to confirm an appointment or agree with someone.

You will hear it in the show: ‘- On se rejoint à midi? - Ça le fait!’ -> Let’s meet at noon? - Let’s do it!’

6. Capter

This verb was long associated with phone or TV signal: its literal meaning is about getting good reception. But in recent years, it’s been used to express your understanding of a situation. When someone ‘capte’ something, they get it. ‘J’ai capté’, its more common form, is the French equivalent of ‘gotcha.’

You will hear it in the show: ‘Je crois que tu captes pas -> ‘I don’t think you get it’

As you watch the show, you’ll probably notice many more idioms. Write them down and see how they are used in other films and TV series you watch to start building up your own idiom list!


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