10 Great Formal French Words to Amaze Your French Friends

Here are some very common French words that are used in everyday speech and which you can express in a more formal way, giving a touch of “sophistication” to your language.

The truth is that you may become fed up with using the same words all the time. With these words you will bring your knowledge of French to the next level and surprise your French friends.

Even if you are a beginner, you will learn here some basic but essential French vocabulary that you will certainly find useful in everyday conversations. You come back later to learn their more advanced synonymes. 

Common French Words

with their Formal Synonyms

Basic French Word

Sophisticated French Synonym

Part of speech

English

Context

1. obsession

hantise

noun (fem)

obsession, obsessive fear

Avoir la hantise de la mort.

2. fatiguer

éreinter

verb

to exhaust, to wear somebody out

Ce chef d’entreprise éreinte tous ses employés.

3. extrêmement fatigué

exténué, éreinté

adjective

exhausted, worn out

Monter en haut de la Tour Eiffel m'a exténué.

4. drôle

hilarant

adjective

hilarious

Ce qui s’est passé était hilarant !

5. déplacé

incongrue

adjective

incongruous, out of place

Sa réponse a été complètement incongrue !

6. paresseux

indolent

adjective

indolent, lazy

Il est trop indolent pour réussir dans la vie.

7. ennuyeux

fastidieux

adjective

tedious, boring

Apprendre une leçon par coeur est très fastidieux.

8. voler

dérober

verb

to steal, to rob

On lui a dérobé son portefeuille.

9. cher

onéreux

adjective

expensive

C’est un achat très onéreux.

10. choquer

abasourdir

verb

to stun, to dumbfound

La nouvelle de son décès nous a abasourdis.

 

Exercises

Exercise 1:

 

Additional Exercises 

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