Bisous:👄The many ways to say kiss me in French & French Kiss!

The direct translation of “un bisou” in English is “a kiss.” Let’s go over the most common ones and how to use them, including closing the end of a letter or message with “kisses”.

Different Ways To Say Kiss In French

Do you know how many ways there are to say the word kiss in English?

A lot!

Have you heard of these? 

Smooch, peck, snog, smackeroo, suck face, swap spit, necking, tonsil hockey, make out, and of course everyone’s favourite, French kiss

Each one of these words generally means the same thing but isn’t used in the same way. For instance, you probably wouldn’t say “do you want to swap spit or play tonsil hockey” with someone you just met, would you? 

Given all these nuanced ways of saying Kiss in English, it should be no surprise that there are also similar nuances when discussing kissing in French. 

Spoiler alert, you know how French fries are not called French fries in France; they’re called “les Frites;” a French kiss is not called a French kiss in France either. 

Meaning of Bisous: French kiss and other words that mean kiss in French

Signing off and closing the end of a letter, card or message with a “kiss.”

Before we dig into this list of words and expressions for kissing in French, it’s important to know that it’s very common to write “kisses” in French at the end of letters, emails, cards and other correspondence with family, close friends and some work colleagues. 

Be careful; the two most used sign-offs using “kisses” (bises and bisous) have different degrees of intimacy.

  • Bises: with friends or colleagues you work closely with. And relatives that you are not close with like a cousin or aunt you don’t talk to very often. 
  • Bisous: for very close intimate friends and family. Your parents, siblings, best friends, close friends, etc. 

If used incorrectly, you might give someone the wrong idea. And if you don’t use them for certain people, you might inadvertently make someone feel snubbed.

And lastly, you never want to use kisses (bises or bisous) for formal or professional correspondence, like with your banker. But in some instances, it may be acceptable with co-workers. 

If all this sounds confusing, all will be explained below. 

Signing off on a letter with bisous: kisses in French


1) Un Bisou: (a kiss)

 \Bee-Zoo\ Un Bisou (singular) Des bisous (plural)

Woman wearing a hat pointing to her puckered lips

Bisous is a kiss where lips touch the skin. It’s a very tender way of saying kiss in French.

  • Give me some kisses: Fais-moi des bisous.
  • Can I give you a kiss?: Je peux te faire un bisou?
  • I wanted to kiss you: J’avais envie de te faire un bisou.
  • I’m going to kiss you: Je vais te faire un bisou.

Bisous on letters, messages and correspondence 

 Only use bisous on correspondence with people you have close relationships with.:

A lover, boyfriend or girlfriend, a close friend, close family, brother, sister, parents and children, etc.

If this sounds too intimate for family or friends, don’t worry; it’s not taken in a romantic way, it’s very nuanced.

Having said that, if you don’t close a message with bisous with someone you are romantically involved with, your husband, boyfriend or lover, they may feel snubbed, and you may come off as cold. Brrrrr!

Here are a few ways you can end a letter with bisous:

  •  Gros bisous (big kisses)
  • Doux bisous (soft kisses)
  • Tendres bisous (tender kisses)
  • Plein de bisous (lots of kisses)
  • Mille bisous (a thousand kisses)

2) Le Bise (a kiss)

 \BeeZ\ Une Bise (singular) Des bises (plural)

Although bise means a kiss in French, it usually refers to a cheek kiss, also known as “la bise.” “Faire la bise” always means a cheek kiss

If you’re not familiar with la bise; it’s the French way of greeting someone and saying hello or goodbye to friends and family with two, three, and sometimes four consecutive cheek kisses.

I wrote a comprehensive guide about la bise and how to greet French friends here. It’s a topic that often confuses newcomers to France.

How to faire la bise step by step directions on greeting a French person with a French cheek kiss

Depending on how the word bise is used in a sentence, it has a broader meaning than just a kiss.

For instance, when someone says I’m going to give him “la bise”, idiomatically speaking, this could also mean that you are going to say hello. 

Here are a few examples of what I mean.

  • Shall we cheek kiss? On se fait la bise?
  • I’m going to say hello: Je vais lui faire une bise.
  • Give a kiss to Jean for me: Fais une grosse bise à Jean pour moi.
  • Come and say hello to your aunt!: Viens faire une bise à ta tante!
  • I’ve always hated cheek kissing.: J’ai toujours détesté faire la bise.

Bises on letters, messages and correspondence 

“BISES” is amicable not tender. It’s familiar but more formal than “Bisous, which is more intimate, and tender. 

You’ll usually say bises to family, friends, or distant relatives you know but are not close with, such as a cousin, aunt, great uncle etc. You can also use bises with colleagues with whom you have a close working relationship.

In short, use this to end a message to anyone with whom saying something like “Cordialement” would be too formal, but Bisous is too intimate.

A good litmus test of which on to use: Bises or Bisous:

  • If you would cheek kiss someone in real life, but they are not close, use Bise.
  • If you would cheek kiss someone in real life who you are very close with, use bisous. 
  • If you would not cheek kiss someone in real life, you use neither. You would close your letter with something more formal such as Cordialement. 

Here are a few ways you can end a letter with bisous:

  • Goodbye and kisses to all: Au revoir et bises à tous
  • Big kiss: Grosse bise
  • Big kisses: Grosses bises
  • Good buy and give my love to everyone: Au revoir et grosses bises à tous
  • A big kiss to you, and a thousand thank yous for all that you do for us.: Une grosse bise à toi, et encore mille mercis pour tout ce que tu a fait pour nous 

3) Embrasser (to kiss)


Woman reaching out for a hug with pursed lips hoping for a kiss

Embrasser is a verb that means To Kiss, unlike bise and bisous, which are nouns and mean A Kiss and Kisses. You could say that the French verb “embrasser” is more formal or posh than bise and bisous, but not pretentious. 

Watch out! Embrasser DOES not mean “To Hug”. The French verb “embrasser” is a French false friend in English. False friends are words that are identical or sounds similar but mean something entirely different.  French false friends are usually words that have been borrowed from the French language but their use has been distorted over the years in English. The french word for a hug or to embrace in your arms is calin, serrer (dans les bras), prendre dans les bras.

  • Do you want to kiss me? : Veut-tu m’embrasser?
  • I want to kiss you! j’ai envie de t’embrasser!
  • My wife doesn’t want to kiss me anymore.: Ma femme ne veut plus m’embrasser.
  • If I kiss you, I’m afraid I’ll fall in love with you.: Si je vous embrasse, j’ai peur de tomber amoureuse.
  • Everyone loves to kiss: Tout le monde aime embrasser!
  • They don’t kiss one another any more: Ils ne s’embrassent plus

Embrasser on letters, messages and correspondence 

 In correspondence, use the French verb “embrasser” at the end of a letter like you would bise, for friends and relatives with whom you are familiar but not close. Although embrasser means to kiss, when used at the end of a letter it’s just a nice way to say goodbye. 

  • je vous embrasse:  (I kiss you)
  • Je vous embrasse tous (I kiss you all)
  • je t’embrasse chaleureusement (this is equivalent to saying “warm regards” but the literal translation is “warm kiss“)

4) Un Baiser: (watch out when you say this kiss)


pushy, naughty, dirty guy accidently saying something dirty to a woman


Watch out when using baiser because it has two different meanings in French.

If you use it as a verb, it’s a Dirty French phrase!


“Baiser” =” f#@ck.”

  • Can I f#@ck you?: Je peux te baiser?

If you use it as a noun, it’s a harmless kiss and the one you should use just as you would bisous or bises


“un baiser” = a kiss.

  •  Can I give you a kiss?: Je peux to donner un baiser

Here are other embarrassing mistakes you should avoid in French.

Other ways to use baiser

Hand kiss:

Le baise main

To blow a kiss:

envoyer un baiser –

5) Un Bécot: (A smooch or a peck)

Bécoter : To smooch(verb)

  • Give grandma a kiss: fais un bécot à mamie
  • Did you see the lovers kissing on the public bench? : As-tu vu les amoureux se bécotent sur un banc public
  • Why did you leave without giving me a peck?  Pour quoi t’es parti sans me faire un bécot

6) Un Bec: (A peck or kiss -Quebecois French)

Julie gave him a big kiss: Julie lui a donné un gros bec.


    Two people romantically French kissing one another while holding sparklers in their hands

    In English, it’s easy to describe kissing someone with tongue because there’s a word for it which is both a noun and a verb; French kiss.

    • Verb: I French kissed him
    • Noun: I gave him a French kiss

    The irony is for centuries; there has been no single word in the French language for the act of French kissing. 

    You had to say something crazy long like:

    • Faire un baiser profond avec la langue
    • Kiss deeply with the tongue.

    It’s a mouthful, so there are many slang words for French kiss and French kissing, just to avoid long phrases like this.

    7) Frencher or se Frencher (a French kiss– Quebec French)

    I have never heard anyone say this in France, but it’s the term used in Quebec. 

    8) Un patin (a French kiss)

    Rouler un patin: “to roll a skate”

    9) Une Pelle (a French kiss)

    Rouler une pelle: “to roll a shovel”

    10) Un Palot (a French kiss)

    Rouler une palot

    11) Une Galoche (a French kiss)

    Rouler une galoche

    12) Galocher (To French kiss)

    Up until 2014, there was no officially recognized French verb for the act of French kissing. People had to use slang terms and phrases like the ones I listed above, or really long descriptive phrases. 

    In 2014 “Galocher” was officially recognized and was added to Le Petit Robert French dictionary. 

    I want to French kiss François = j’ai envie de galocher François

    How to conjugage Galocher: To French kiss

    • je galoche: I French kiss
    • tu galoches : You French kiss
    • il/elle:on galoche: He:she French kisses
    • nous galochons: We French kiss
    • vous galochez: You French kiss
    • Ils:elles galochent: They French kiss

    The verb Galocher isn’t a new word. The original meaning of Galocher is “the noise made while walking with galoche shoes. “Les Galoches” are any leather shoes with a wooden sole and may come from Latin Gallicus — Gaulish shoe. It’s where the English word Galoshes comes from. 

    Words changing meaning over time is a normal process in any language called semantic change. For instance, did you know the word “cute” originally meant sharp or quick-witted and was made by shortening the word “acute”?

    “The word “nice” originally meant a stupid, ignorant or foolish person. And unsurprisingly, a “spinster” used to be a woman who spun yarn or thread.

    So there you have it.

    Go forth and ask for kisses in French with confidence.

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    Annie André

    Annie André

    About the author

    I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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