Shortening Words in French
Do you want to speak like a real French native?
Shorten words. There’s nothing more French than this!
Abbreviations are obtained via three processes.
1. REMOVING THE END OF A WORD
- Appartement becomes Appart
- Baccalauréat becomes Bac ✅
- Cinéma becomes Ciné
- Climatisation becomes Clim
- Colocation becomes Coloc
- Gymnastique becomes Gym ✅
- Ophtalmologue becomes Ophtalmo
- Métropolitain becomes Métro ✅
- Restaurant becomes Restau
- La sécurité sociale becomes La Sécu (FUN FACT: We are so attached to our social security system that this term became a proper noun with a capital S!)
- Tramway becomes Tram ✅
▶ Not necessarily colloquial. The terms followed by ✅ became so common that they even replaced the complete word in our everyday life. You can use them with anyone without sounding casual at all.
Saying/writing something like “J’ai pris le métropolitain pour aller passer les épreuves du baccalauréat“ would sound rather unnatural, if not snobbish.
2. TRUNCATING A WORD AND CHANGING SOME LETTERS
- Apéritif becomes Apéro
- Dictionnaire becomes Dico
- Digestif becomes Digeo [dijo]
- Hôpital becomes Hosto
- Matériel becomes Matos
- Médicament becomes Médoc
- Propriétaire becomes Proprio
- Vétérinaire becomes Véto
▶ Always colloquial. You would use these words when speaking with friends, colleagues or relatives.
3. KEEPING ONLY THE SECOND PART OF A WORD, SOMETIMES BY CHANGING SPELLING
- Problème becomes Blème
- Musique becomes Zik
▶️ Same as above. Always colloquial.
Many more examples exist. Abbreviations are almost part of our identity, so don’t hesitate to use them with your French interlocutors!