Learning the body parts in French is incredibly useful, from the doctor’s office to giving someone a compliment. In this post, we’ll explore vocabulary for all of the different parts of the body in French, from the head (la tête) to the toes (les orteilles).
Remember that all nouns have gender in French, which means that body parts also have their own gender, no matter the gender of the person they’re attached to. We’ve included the definite articles to show the gender of each French body part, or indicated m or f for masculine or feminine. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert looking to expand your vocabulary, let’s dive in!
Basic body parts in French
Like the song “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” there are some body parts that you’ll reference quite often. Here’s a list of the basics.
|hair||les cheveux (m)|
|eyes||les yeux (m)|
Body parts in French by region of the body
Now that we’ve covered the basics you’re likely to use often, let’s take a look at some more advanced vocabulary of the body parts in French, categorized by region of the body. In the next sections we’ll include the basics that you saw above, alongside more specialized vocabulary that you can use to add more detail.
Starting at the top, let’s look at some more advanced vocabulary for talking about the head in French! Fun fact: your nose (nez) and ears (oreilles) continue to grow throughout your lifetime, which is why older people may have larger noses than younger people.
|eyes||les yeux (m)|
|hair||les cheveux (m)|
|teeth||les dents (f)|
Next up, the torso! As the trunk of the human body, the torso is the part of the body where the limbs are attached. It also houses most of the body’s major organs, but we’ll get to the limbs and organs in the next sections.
|navel, belly button||le nombril|
|nipple||le mamelon, le teton|
|spine||la colonne vertébrale|
Limbs extend from the torso and have various functions. Fun fact: the longest bone in the human body is the femur (le fémur), located in the thigh. Let’s take a look at the words for these useful body parts in French!
|toe||l’orteil (m), le doigt de pied|
|toenail||l’ongle de pied (m)|
Internal Body Parts
The vital organs that keep us alive all have their own special functions. Learn these words in case you need to talk to a medical professional or want to use a body-based metaphor, which are often related to organs.
|lungs||les poumons (m)|
|intestines||les intestins (m)|
Miscellaneous body parts
Some body parts don’t fit into the categories we’ve seen so far. Let’s take a look at these various other body parts in French.
Idioms with body parts in French
Idioms, or phrases that have a non-literal meaning, often use body parts to express a certain idea. Let’s take a look at some French idioms that use body part vocabulary.
|French idiom||Literal translation||Meaning|
|avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre||to have eyes bigger than the stomach||to take more food than one can eat|
|avoir les dents longues||to have long teeth||to be very ambitious|
|avoir le bras long||to have a long arm||to have a lot of influence|
|avoir un cœur d’artichaut||to have the heart of an artichoke||to fall in love easily|
|avoir la main verte||to have a green hand||to be good at gardening, to have a green thumb|
|casser les pieds à quelqu’un||to break someone’s feet||to annoy or bother someone|
|se lever du pied gauche||to get up on the left foot||to wake up in a bad mood|
|se ronger les sangs||to gnaw on one’s blood||to worry excessively|
|se creuser la tête||to dig one’s head||to think deeply, to rack one’s brain|
|mettre la main à la pâte||to put one’s hand in the dough||to get involved in a task|
|avoir les oreilles qui sifflent||to have whistling ears||to suspect that someone is talking about you|
|avoir la tête dans les étoiles||to have one’s head in the stars||to be daydreaming, to have one’s head in the clouds|
Conclusion: Body parts in French
Now that we’ve covered 101 various body parts in French, encompassing the major regions of the body, you’re ready to put them to use!
You can use these vocabulary words to help describe someone’s physical traits, or even your own. Or maybe you want to pay someone a compliment, whether they’re a member of your family, your sweetheart, or the one you love.
You can also adopt some idioms using body parts in French to enhance and vary your communication while sounding like a seasoned native speaker!