Basic Anatomy: The Parts of the Body in French

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Basic Anatomy: The Parts of the Body in French

One of the most rewarding aspects of learning French is the ability to communicate effectively with fluent French speakers. This includes discussing various subjects, and one area that is particularly valuable in this sense is the human body. Knowing the names of the parts of the body in French is useful not only for shopping sprees or for a doctor’s consult. French is widely considered one of the most romantic languages ever, so giving compliments in French will also have much to do with le corps (“the body”). Are you a romantic? Then you have all the more reasons to learn some basic anatomy in French.

Whether you’re planning a trip to a French-speaking country or you’re just building your basic vocabulary in French, learning to name the body parts will always be a … handy skill. Make sure you read until the end so you don’t miss the example sentences that will help you start practicing right away.

Why learn the body parts in French?

Whether you’re a student, a traveler, or simply someone who enjoys learning new languages, knowing the names of body parts in French can be quite helpful. This knowledge enables you to discuss health issues, describe injuries, or simply engage in everyday conversation. Additionally, knowing these basic anatomy words can be beneficial when visiting a doctor, engaging in sports or physical activities, or even shopping for clothes in a French-speaking country. After all, Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world.

The main parts of the body in French

  • (the) head — (la) tête
  • (the) neck — (le) cou
  • (the) chest — (la) poitrine
  • (the) arm — (le) bra
  • (the) finger — (le) doigt
  • (the) foot — (le) pied
  • (the) face — (le) visage
  • (the) eyes — (les) yeux (singular: l’oeil)
  • (the) hand — (le) main
  • (the) nose — (le) nez
  • (the) mouth — (la) bouche
  • (the) leg — (la) jambe
  • (the) knee — (le) genou

Are you all ears? Great! Let’s learn how to pronounce some of these main body parts in French:

Face parts in French

Now that you know the basics, let’s focus on the face. The face is not only a window to our feelings but also our image in the world. People are more likely to remember faces than names. Besides, face parts are usually the subject of many compliments.

  • (the) face — (le) visage
  • (the) hair — (les) cheveux
  • (the) forehead — (le) front
  • (the) cheek — (la) joue
  • (the) ear — l’oreille
  • (the) eyes — (les) yeux (singular: l’oeil)
  • (the) eyelashes — (les) cils
  • (the) eyebrows — (les) sourcils
  • (the) nose — (le) nez
  • (the) mouth — (la) bouche
  • (the) lips — (les) lèvres
  • (the) tongue — (la) langue
  • (the) teeth — (les) dents
  • (the) chin — (le) menton

Other parts of the body in French

Do you want to learn more? We’ve got your back. We’ve covered the main body parts, but there are still some left that could be handy in everyday conversations. Here are some of the most important upper and lower body parts.

Upper body

(the) shoulders(les) épaules
(the) back(le) dos
(the) stomach(le) ventre
(the) forearml’avant-bras
(the) elbow(le) coude
(the) thumb(le) pouce
(the) wrist(le) poignet
(the) belly button(le) nombril
(the) palm(la) paume
(the) fingernaill’ongle

Lower body

(the) thigh(la) cuisse
(the) calf(le) mollet
(the) ankle(le) cheville
(the) toes(les) orteils
(the) heel(le) talon
(the) hip(la) hanche

Talking about the body in French

Let’s put some context around these words. Here are some examples of how to talk about the body in French.

  • Ses bras sont athlétiques. (His arms are athletic.)
  • Elle dessine la bouche et les yeux. (She is drawing the mouth and the eyes.)
  • La tête est la partie supérieure du corps humain. (The head is the upper part of the human body.)
  • Les mains ont cinq doigts chacune. (The hands have five fingers each.)
  • J’ai mal à la tête après une longue journée de travail. (My head hurts after a long day of work.)
  • Je me brosse les dents deux fois par jour pour garder ma bouche propre. (I brush my teeth twice a day to keep my mouth clean.)
  • Je m’étire les jambes après être resté assis longtemps. (I stretch my legs after sitting for a long time.)
  • Tu as de beaux yeux. (You have beautiful eyes.)
  • J’adore la façon dont tes cheveux encadrent ton visage. (I love the way your hair frames your face.)

As you can see, there are a few things you need to remember when talking about body parts in French:

  • the word for “tongue” is la langue, which also means language;
  • to express having pain, you need to use the expression “avoir mal à” + body part name;
  • the word for “hair” (les cheveux) is always plural;
  • articles always proceed the names of the body parts.

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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

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