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French Word of the Day: Chouchou

French Word of the Day: Chouchou
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
It is about time that we included this adorable sounding word into our Word of the Day series.

Why do I need to know chouchou? 

Because it has versatile meanings and sounds nice. 

What does it mean?

Chouchou, pronounced “shou-shou”, has a variety of uses. 

The first is as a childish term of endearment to imply that someone is the favourite person in the group – to this end, it is often used in a school setting, typically to say that someone is a teacher’s pet.

If the person in question is a girl or woman, you should use the word chouchoute instead. The masculine or mixed plural is chouchoux and the feminine plural is chouchoutes

In a more serious context, you can use it to mean that someone is the ‘darling’ or the favourite of a particular political group or movement.

As a verb, you can use chouchouter to mean “to spoil” or “to pamper”. 

Chouchou is also the word for a hairband or scrunchy that could be used to hold a pony tail or a bun together. 

There is also a kind of sugarcoated peanut in France – a traditional sweet – which are known as chouchous

Use it like this

C’est le chouchou de la maîtresse – It is the teacher’s pet 

De chouchou à cancre du gouvernement, la descente aux enfers de Jean-Michel Blanquer – From the darling to the dunce of government, the descent into hell of Jean-Michel Blanquer (a critical news headline concerning France’s education minister).

Je veux te chouchouter – I want to spoil you 

J’ai besoin d’un chouchou pour maintenir ma queue-de-cheval – I need a scrunchy to hold my ponytail in place 

Synonyms 

Another way to describe someone as being the favourite is as la coqueluche (although the primary meaning of this word is the contagious disease whooping cough).

Carla Bruni était la coqueluche des médias – Carla Bruni was a favourite of the media. 

You can also used the following adjectives to describe someone as the favourite: favori, préféré, privilégie 

A rude alternative to chouchou, to insultingly describe someone as showing sycophantic behaviour to become the favourite of someone in authority in lèche-cul – “arse licker”. 


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