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  • Laura Vuillemin

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!

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