Bisous meaning:👄The many ways to say kiss me in French

Discover the various ways to say “kiss me” and “kisses” in French, from sweet love letters to passionate French kisses. Explore the language of love!

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  

Bisous meaning: Different Ways To Say Kiss In French

The direct translation of “un bisou” in English is “a kiss.” But there are many more nuanced ways of saying kisses in both English and French.

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 similar nuances when discussing kissing in French. 

 Let’s review how to say kiss in French, and French kiss, including ending a conversation or closing a letter or message with “bises” or “bisous.”


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

1) Un Bisou: (Noun: a kiss)

 Bee-Zoo Un Bisou (singular)

 DAY-Bee-Zoo 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.

2) La Bise (Noun: a kiss)

 BeeZ Une Bise (singular)

 DAY-BeeZ 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, (to do the kiss) always means a cheek kiss

If you’re unfamiliar 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 do “la bise,” idiomatically speaking, this could also mean that they will 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.

HOW TO SAY KISS KISS IN FRENCH (For letters and to end a conversation)

  • Bises
  • Bisous:

It’s very common to say “bises or bisous” at the end of a conversation or to write it as a closing in emails, text messages, cards and other correspondence with family, close friends and even work colleagues in certain situations.

It’s a little like saying hugs and kisses or xoxo.

Be careful, though.

BISES and BISOUS have different degrees of intimacy.

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, it will all be explained below. 

Bisous: to end a conversation or message

Signing off on a letter with bisous: kisses in French

Only say or use bisous in correspondence with people you have close relationships with.

You’ll usually say bises to family, friends, or distant relatives you know but are not close with, such as:

A lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, 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 conversation or 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)

Bises: to end a conversation or message

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

You can use 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. 

Here are a few ways you can end a letter or conversion with bises:

  • 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 you do for us.: Une grosse bise à toi, et encore mille mercis pour tout ce que tu a fait pour nous 

Litmus test for using: 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 you are very close with in real life, use “bisous.” 
  • If you would not cheek kiss someone in real life, don’t use “bise” or “bisous.” You should end your conversation or close your letter with something more formal, such as “Sincerely” (Cordialement).

In short, use bise in situations where “Cordialement” would be too formal, and “bisous” would be too intimate.

3) Embrasser (Verb To Kiss): How to say kiss in French


Kisses in French: Woman reaching out for a hug with pursed lips hoping for a kiss

“Embrasser” in French and “embrace” in English look similar but are considered false friends because they have different meanings. 

In French, ’embrasser” is a verb that means to kiss while “bise” and “bisous,” are nouns.

 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 anymore: 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 use the noun “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 a warm and friendly way to say goodbye, and showing affection but not necessarily romantic feelings. 

  • 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 “baiser” as a verb, it’s a Dirty French phrase!

“Baiser” =” f#@ck.”

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


If you use “baiser” as a noun, it’s a harmless kiss. You can use it just as you would use “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

    It’s easy to describe kissing someone with tongue in English because there is a specific word for it – “French kiss,” which can be used as a noun and a verb.

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

    The irony is that there has been no official word in the French language for the act of French kissing for centuries. To describe Kissing with tongue, you had to say a phrase like these: 

    • Un baiser langoureux = A passionate or sensual kiss.
    • Embrasser avec la langue = A kiss with tongue.
    • Baiser avec la langue = A slightly more provocative way to say a kiss with tongue. 

    In everyday French, people often use more casual and colloquial expressions to describe the act of French kissing instead of the more formal expressions like “embrasser avec la langue.”

    Let’s go over a few that have been and still are used in the French language to describe a French kiss throughout time.

    7) Embrasser à la française  (Kiss in the French style)

    The literal translation of “Embrasser à la française” is to kiss someone in the French style; in other words, to French kiss someone. 

    Let me French kiss you: “laissez-moi vous embrasser à la française.”

    8) Rouler une pelle: (To roll a shovel /spade)

    Literally translated, this phrase means “to roll a shovel. “Not the most elegant term, but in casual everyday speak, this is a common way to say French kiss in French. 

    It comes from a French colloquial expression “pélot” from the French verb “peloter,” which means to fondle or grope. ‘Pélot’ eventually transformed into “pelle” to become “rouler une pelle” and the following term “rouler un palot.”

    9) Rouler un palot (a French kiss)

    10) Rouler un patin (To roll a skate)

    Hier soir, ils se sont roulé un patin.

    Another way to say French kiss is ‘to roll a skat’ (roller un patin.)

    The word Patin, which means skate in French, is from the verb “patiner” (to skate.) In 19th-century “to skate” was slang for to group or fondle, but no one knows for sure why. 

    12) Galocher (To French kiss)

    The French term ‘galocher’ has been used as slang to refer to French kissing for a long time, but it wasn’t officially recognized as the verb “to French kiss” until 2014, when it was added to “Le Petit Robert French dictionary. ” 

    So instead of saying, “I want to kiss François with tongue “Je envie d’embrasser François avec la langue” you can say: 

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

    The verb ‘Galocher’ is also used to describe any loud sound made with the feet, such as stomping. It originally referred to any loud sound from walking with galoshes or wooden-soled shoes such as clogs. 

    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

    11) Rouler une galoche (To roll a clog/galosh)

    To roll a clog is another colloquial way of saying to French kiss, and like many of the terms for kiss in French, how or why a clog or galosh became associated with a kiss with tongue is obscure. 

    Last night, they french kissed / Last night they made out: Hier soir, ils se sont roulé une galoche

    13) “Frencher” or “se Frencher” (a French kiss– Quebec French)

    In Quebec, the verb “see Frencher” was adopted from the English term to signify a French kiss

    I have never heard anyone say “Frencher” in France, but I have heard some people in France use the English term “French kiss.”

    Wrapping up the many ways to say kiss in French

    And there you have it—the varied ways of saying kiss and French kiss in French. From the adorable ‘bisous’ to the friendly ‘bises’ and the sensual ‘galocher,’ each brings its unique flavour to the table.

    So, go ahead, sprinkle some ‘bisous’ and ‘bises’ in your conversations, and ask for kisses in French with confidence.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a 'petite commission' at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my links. It helps me buy more wine and cheese. Please read my disclosure for more info.

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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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