French Adjectives Describing a Person

Valorie Delp
cute blond
Elle est jolie.

Finding French adjectives describing a person can be tricky - especially if you want to avoid words they are overused or trite. Adjectives in general can also pose a problem to French language learners because they must agree in gender and number to the noun that they are describing. The good news is that many adjectives are cognates - you can often guess the meaning because the word is similar in English.

French Adjectives That Describe Physical Appearance

Adjectives that are used to describe physical appearances are generally the most common types of adjectives.

  • attractive - attrayant(e) - ah-tray-ahn/ah-tray-ahnt
  • bald - chauve - shov Note the 'o' is long' as in show
  • beautiful - beau/belle - boe/bell
  • big - grand(e) - grahn/grahnd
  • bloody - sanglant(e) - song-glahn/song-glahnt
  • blonde - blond(e) - blohn/blohnd
  • bony - osseux/osseuse - oh-suh/oh-suz
  • brunnette - brunette - broo-net
  • chubby - pôtelé(e) - poe - tuh-lay - Note the 'o' is long as in show
  • curly - bouclé(e) - boo-klay
  • cute/pretty - jolie - jho-lee - Note that the 'j' is soft and sounds similar to the 'su' combo in measure; the 'o' is long as in show
  • fat - gros(se) - grhah/grahss
  • tall - grand(e) - grahn/grahnd
  • short - petit(e), court(e) (hair) - puhtee/puteet, coohr/coohrt
  • slender - mince - mahns
  • ugly - laid(e) - lay/led

French Adjectives Describing a Person's Personality

Go beyond the normal 'nice' or 'mean' and really try to describe someone in depth with this list of adjectives. Beware of false cognates, but also make note of those words that look similar to their English counterparts. Doing so will help you memorize them more easily.

  • academic - intellectuel(le) - ahn-tuh-lec-twel
  • active - actif/active - ahk teef/ahk-teev
  • affectionate - affectueux/affectueuse ah-fec-too-uh/ah-fec-too-uhz
  • aggressive - agressif/aggressive - ah gress eef/ah-gress-eeve
  • agreeable - agréable - ah-gray-ah-bluh
  • aloof - distant(e) - dee stahn/dee-stahnt
  • amicable - amical(e) - ah-mee-cal
  • approachable - abordable - ah-bohr-dah-bluh
  • bad - méchant(e) - may-shan/may-shant
  • bitter -amer/amère - ah-mehr/ah-mair
  • blunt - brusque - broosk
  • bossy - autoritaire - oh-tohr-ee-tair
  • brave - courageux/courageuse - coor-ah-geuh/coor-ah-geuz Note that the 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in garage.
  • candid - franc/franche - frahn/franc
  • carefree - insouciant(e) - ehn-soo-see-ahn/ehn-soo-see-ahnt
  • careless - négligent(e) - nay-glee-gohn/nay-glee-gohnt Note the second 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in garage.
  • chatty - bavard(e) - bah-vahr/bah vahrd
  • cocky- trop sûr de soi - tro-soor-duh-swah - Note that the 'o' in 'trop' is long like the 'o' in show.
  • competent or capable - compétant(e) - cohm-pay-tahn/cohm-pay-tahnt Note that the 'o' is long as in 'show' and the 'a' sounds like the 'a' in 'father.'
  • conceited - vaniteux/vaniteuse - vahn-ee-tuh/vahn-ee-tuhz
  • despicable - méprisable - may - pree-sah-bluh
  • dumb - bête - bet
  • fashionable - à la mode - ah-lah-mohd
  • funny - drôle - drol - Note that the 'o' is long as in 'show'.
  • generous - généreux/généreuse - gay-nay-ruh/gay-nay-ruhz Note that the 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in 'garage.'
  • gentle - doux/douce - goo/doos
  • impolite - impoli(e) - ahm-poe-lee
  • loving - affectueux/affecteuse - ah-fect-uh/ah-fect-uhz
  • mean - méchant(e) - may-shahnt
  • merciful - miséricordieux/miséricordieuse - mee-sair-ee-cohr-dee-uh/mee-sair-ee-cohr-dee-uhz
  • nice - sympathique - sam-pah-teek
  • obnoxious - odieux/odieuse - oh-dee-uh/oh-dee-uhz
  • obstinate - obstiné(e) - ohb-stee-nay - Note that the 'o' is long as in 'show.'
  • petty - mesquin(e) - mes-kehn/mes-keen
  • quiet - tranquille - trohn-kee-yuh
  • sensitive - sensible - sohn-see-bluh
  • sporty - sportif/sportive - spohr-teef/spohr-teev
  • stodgy - lourd(e) - loor/loord
  • strong - fort(e) - fohr/fort

French Adjectives Describing a Person's State of Being or Actions

Whether you are being ridiculous or petty - these adjectives focus on descriptive words that may fit you or your friends in a given situation (as opposed to a general personality trait). Don't let that fool you though since adjectives generally correspond from English to French.

  • absurd - absurd(e) - ahb-soor/ahb-soord
  • abusive - grossier/grossière - grohs-see-ay/grohs-see-air Note that the 'o' is long as in 'show.'
  • alert - alert(e) - ah-lehr/ah-lehrt
  • ambiguous - ambigu/ambiguë - ahm-bee-goo
  • amenable - obligeant(e) - oh-blee-ghay-ahn/oh-blee-ghay-ahnt Note that the 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in garage.
  • amorous - amoureux/amoureuse - ah-moo-ruh/ah-moo-ruhz
  • angry - fâché(e) or en colère -fah-shay or ohn-coh-lair
  • anonymous - anonyme - ah-no-neem
  • anxious - anxieux/anxieuse - ahn-ksee-uh/ahn-ksee-uhz
  • apprehensive - inquiet/inquiète - ahn-kee-ay/ahn-kee-et
  • available - disponible - dee-spohn-ee-bluh
  • awkward - maladroit(e) - mah-lah-dwah/mah-la-dwaht
  • bilingual - bilingue - bee-lahng Note that the 'a' sounds like the 'a' in 'father.'
  • busy - occupé(e) - oh-coo-pay
  • compassionate - compatissant(e) - cohm-pah-tee-sahn/cohm-pah-tee-sahnt
  • content - satisfait(e) - sah-tees-fay/sah-tees-fet
  • corny - éculé(e) - ay-coo-lay
  • corrupt - corrompu(e) - coohr-rohm-poo
  • devious - retors - ruh-tohr
  • envious - envieux/envieuse - ohn-vee-uh/ohn-vee-uhz
  • evil - malfaisant(e) - mahl-feh-sahn/mahl-feh-sahnt
  • frail - frêle - frell
  • furious - furieux/furieuse - foor-ee-uh/foor-ee-uhz
  • happy - heureux/heureuse - uh-ruh/uh-ruhz
  • healthy - sain(e) - sehn Note that this is hte pronunciation for saine. To prounce its male counterpart 'sain' - make the same sound but do not articulate the 'n'.
  • hungry - affamé(e) - ah-fah-may
  • indecisive - indécis(e) - ehn-day-see/ehn-day-seez
  • insane - fou/folle - foo/fohll
  • lonely - solitaire - soh-lee-taire
  • miserable - malheureux/malheureuse - mah-luh-ruh/mah-luh-ruhz
  • nervous - nerveux/nerveuse - nehr-vuh/nehr-vuhz
  • pensive - songeur/songeuse - sohn-guhr/sohn-guhz Note the 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in 'garage.'
  • reasonable - raisonable - reh-sohn-nah-bluh
  • restless - agité(e) - ah-gee-tay Note that the 'g' is soft like the second 'g' in garage.
  • shameless - éhonté(e) - ay-ohn-tay

More on French Adjectives

Learning adjectives should go along with learning other points of grammar and sentence structure in the French language.

French Adjectives Describing a Person