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

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

Un Bisou is the direct French translation for a kiss. It’s a descriptive word for a simple act, but there are many more ways to say kiss in French and to ask for a kiss in French. 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 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. 
  • Bisous: for very close intimate friends and family. 

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

KISSES IN FRENCH

1) Un Bisou: (a kiss)

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

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

  • Give me 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.
  • May I kiss you?: Je peux 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 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) Une Bise (a kiss)

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

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

La bise is the French way of saying hello and greeting 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.

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 is 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. 

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)

 \Om-Brass-Ay\

Embrasser is a verb, unlike bise and bisous, which are nouns. You could say that this is a more formal or posh than bisous, but not pretentious.

  • 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 embrasser like you would bise, for friends and relatives with whom you are familiar but not close. 

  • je vous embrasse
  • Je vous embrasse tous

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

**IMPORTANT

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!

VERB: 

“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

NOUN:

“un baiser” =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.

    FRENCH KISS

    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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