Cajun words and sayings


Here are a few Cajun words and sayings you may hear when visiting Louisiana extracted from here.

Allons [Al lohn]: Let’s go.

Ça c’est bon (Sa say bohn): That’s good.

Ça va (Sa va): That’s enough.

C’est tout (Say too): That’s all.

Cher [sha]: A term of endearment usually used with women, similar to ‘dear’ or ‘sweetheart.’ “Would you like another cup of coffee, cher?”

Chevrette (she-vret): Shrimp

Cocodril (ko-ko-dree): Alligator

Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon): A rich, spicy tomato-based soup or stew made with fish fillets, onions, and sometimes mixed vegetables.

Envie [ahn-vee] A longing or hunger to do or eat something. Other Southerners might use the word ‘hankering’ where a Cajun would use ‘envie.’ “I’ve got an envie for some boudin.”

Fais do do [fay doe doe]: A Cajun dance party. (Also, an expression adults use when they want children to go to sleep.) “Will we see you at the fais do do?”

Filé (fee-lay): Ground sassafras leaves used to season, among other things, gumbo.

Gris gris [gree-gree] To put a curse on someone. Frequently used in jest, not in reference to actual black magic. “Grandma got so mad when I ate her pie, she put a gris gris on me.”

Honte [hont]: Embarrassed or ashamed. “I drank too much and fell into the bayou. Boy, was I honte!”

Joie de vivre [Jhwa da veev]: Joy of living.

Lagniappe [Lahn yop]: Something extra.

Laissez les bons temps rouler [Lay say lay bohn tohn roo lay]: Let the good times roll. With more than 400 festivals each year, this saying embraces the fun-loving nature of Louisiana.

Minou [më nü’] noun Cat. “Get that minou off the table! It’s time for dinner.”

Pauve ti bete [Pove tee bet]: Poor little thing.

Pirogue [pee-row]: A Cajun canoe.

Tit (masculine) or tite (feminine) [tee or teet]: The Cajun equivalent of ‘junior,’ but placed before the name rather than after. “I had dinner with John and his son Tit John.”

Veiller [vay-yay]: To talk with friends. Cajun equivalent of “to shoot the breeze.” “She was vellier with all her friends on the porch”