Holy Cow! It’s Vache The Great French Superlative

October 6, 2013 6:57 am2 commentsViews: 71

Deep inside France, on the street you might hear someone speaking colloquially and then the word vache and some of it’s other forms might pop-up in the conversation and throw you off the context.

Vache is actually the French word for cow.

Colloquially it can have a few meanings. And none of them really mean cow. The saying that is based in the title Ooh la la. La Vache! is actually a common French saying used in surprise as quoted from a French speaker like saying- Holy cow!

Trois Françaises mortes de rire

Trois Françaises mortes de rire (Photo credit: gildas_f) 3 French people dying of laughter

My favourite use of the word vache is another form used:


This is the superlative, used as in English bloody, really or damned as I found once in a French book. So when people in France would ask me- Comment ça va? (How are You going?). You can reply- Vachement bien! which is Damned good. From experience this often brings a smile to a French speakers face, to learn that you are definitely happy.

With this word vachement now the sky is the limit: You can say someone is vachement fou/folle- damned crazy, vachement bête-stupide- damned stupid, or vachement content- really happy; to name a few.

Vaches en alpage

Cows in the alpes (Photo credit: Mathieu Péborde)

Other colloquial uses for the word vache are tough ( severe) : Il est un peu vache avec ses enfants- He’s a bit tough on his children,
vache folle- mad cow disease, and amour vache- a love hate relationship.

I don’t often get many comments for the things I write down, but I put it out to you that if you can find any other colloquial meaning for the vache please post a comment.

If you are looking for more French slang  just click the link for our other pages, or hover over the French Slang on the menu bar to see our 12 other pages


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