Curious about how to talk about your body in French? Learning about the body is an important skill to have whether you’re on your journey to fluency in French, or even if you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking region.
When it comes to the body, there are more things to know than just how to say the names of the body parts. How do you say “headache,” in French? How do you say, “My heart aches,” when something sad happens? These are some of the things we’ll be covering in this article.
The body in French
Breaking the body down into sections, you can begin to learn the names of the body parts in French. This is a great time to pull out some flashcards so you can quiz yourself later on! I’ll be including the masculine and feminine articles before the French vocabulary words so that you can include them in your studies.
Another fun way to learn the different parts of the body in French is to draw a person on a large piece of paper and create your own labels. If you’re more of a visual learner, this can be very helpful.
The body in French is called “le corps.” It sounds very similar to “corpse” in English which means “dead body”. It’s not the nicest of ways to remember it, but it’s definitely the easiest!
So what does our “corps” contain?
- Skin: La peau
- Muscle: Le muscle
- Blood: Le sang
- Torso: Le torse
- Organ: L’organe
- Back: Le dos
- Spine: La colonne vertébrale
- Bone: L’os
- Shoulder: L’épaule
- Chest: La poitrine
- Arm: Le bras
- Waist: La taille
- Pelvis: Le bassin
- Leg: La jambe
The head in French
The head in French is “la tête“.
I always remember that tête has a circumflex accent (ê) because it looks like a little hat (which is something you wear on your head).
- A head ache = le mal à la tête
- To say “I have a headache” = J’ai mal à la tête
Other body parts on your tête:
- Hair: Les cheveux
- Brain: Le cerveau
- Skull: Le crâne
- Face: Le visage
- Forehead: Le front
- Ear: L’oreille
- Eye (Singular): L’oeil
- Eyes (plural): Les yeux
- Eyelid: La paupière
- Eyebrow: Le sourcil
- Eyelash: Le cil
- Nose: Le nez
- Nostril: La narine
- Cheek: La joue
- Mouth: La bouche
- Lips: Les lèvres
- Teeth: Les dents
- Tongue: La langue
- Chin: Le menton
- Jaw: La machoire
- Moustache: La moustache
- Beard: La barbe
- Freckles: Les taches de rousseur
- Throat: La gorge
- Neck: Le cou
And what if you have a nose bleed? That’s a “saignement de nez.”
Does your uncle have a long beard? That’s a “longue barbe,” very similar to the words in English.
Here are some ways to remember these words:
- Our tongue helps us speak different languages, and the tongue in French is “la langue” which sounds like language.
- In English, the skull is also called the cranium. The skull in French sounds similar – “Le crâne.”
- The forehead is at the front of the head and the forehead in French is “le front.”
The hair in French
There are so many different things you can do with your hair, so why not learn how to say it in French!
Is your hair long? Then you have cheveux longs. Is your hair short? Then you have cheveux courts.
If you know your colors in French, then you can talk about your hair color.
- I have black hair: J’ai les cheveux noirs
- I have red hair: J’ai les cheveux roux
- I have blonde hair: J’ai les cheveux blonds
Or what about texture?
- I have straight hair: J’ai les cheveux lisses
- I have curly hair: J’ai les cheveux bouclés
- I have kinky hair: J’ai les cheveux crépus
- I have wavy hair: J’ai les cheveux ondulés
- I have greasy hair: J’ai les cheveux gras
Do you want to cut your hair? Je veux couper mes cheveux. Do you want to dye your hair? Je veux teindre mes cheveux.
The face in French
The face, or “le visage,” has many expressions. When describing other people, we often refer to how they were feeling. How can we tell how they are feeling? By their face, of course! Here are some common phrases when describing someone’s face in French.
- A sad face: Un visage triste
- A happy face: Un visage heureux
- A mad face: Un visage fou
- A surprised face: Un visage surpris
- A goofy face: Un visage maladroit
- A pretty face: Un joli visage
- An ugly face: Un visage laid
The arms in French
As you learned before, the arms in French are “les bras.” At the top of our arms are the shoulders, or “les épaules,” and at the end of our arms are the hands, or “les mains.”
What else are on our bras et mains?
- Elbow: Le coude
- Wrist: Le poignet
- Knuckle: La jointure
- Finger: Le doigt
- Thumb: Le pouce
- Fingernail: L’ongle
- Palm: La paume
- Fist: Le poing
What are some of the things we can do with our bras et mains?
We can hug (embrasser), hold (tenir), clap (taper) and pet (câliner).
The legs in French
Let’s move down the body to the legs, or les jambes in French.
Our legs allow us to run (courir), jump (sauter), kick (donner un coup), and walk (marcher).
- Thigh: La cuisse
- Butt: Les fesses
- Hips: Les hanches
- Knee: Le genou
- Calf: Le mollet
- Ankle: La cheville
- Foot: Le pied
- Toes: Les orteils
- Big toe: Le gros orteil
- Toenail: L’ongle
- Heel: Le talon
Body systems in French
Our body has many systems, or systèmes corporels in French. What makes up these systèmes corporels? Our organs, of course! Below you can find the main body organs in French, or les organes du corps, and some of the body systems that keep us alive and functioning!
- Heart: Le cœur
- Lungs: Les poumons
- Liver: Le foie
- Kidney: Le rein
- Stomach: L’estomac
- Intestine: L’intestin
- Respiratory system: Système respiratoire
- Digestive system: Système digestif
- Skeletal system: Système squelettique
- Circulatory system: Système circulatoire
- Endocrine system: Système endocrinien
- Reproductive system: Système reproducteur
- Nervous system: système nerveux
The heart in French
The heart in French, or “le cœur” is used a lot in French sayings and idioms. Some include:
- My heart aches for you: Mon cœur souffre pour vous
- I love you with all of my heart: Je t’aime de tout mon cœur
- To have the heart of an artichoke: Avoir un coeur d’artichaut (In French, this means to fall in love quickly and easily, or to be very sensitive and emotional.)
Learn with worksheets, games and music
Sometimes, flashcards just don’t cut it. You may need more resources to memorize the different body parts in French. This is where memory games and other interactive materials come in.
First, download these worksheets and fill up the crossword and word search puzzles. Then, play this French body part quiz where you have to guess the name of the body part in French, based on the English translation. Still need some help? Then watch this video about French body parts for a good explanation that includes drawings. Wrap it up by singing along to this great song to learn body parts in French.