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The French phrase "J'ai la dalle" explained

On this page, we are going to explain you all the things you have to know about the funny phrase "J'ai la dalle". Including a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. And because we want to help you on your learning journey, we also added some useful things like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonym and more!

French to English

  • Translation : I'm starving

  • Register : Informal - Funny - Slang

Audio pronunciation



  • IPA : / ʒe la dal /

aesthetic french quote avoir la dalle

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What does j'ai la dalle mean?


It literally means:

The expression "J'ai la dalle" is useful to say "I am starving" in informal contexts. The word "dalle" is slang for "hunger".

As you may have noticed, in French we don't use "to be hungry" but "to have hunger" instead. For example, the most basic way to say "I am hungry" is "J'ai faim". (Literally: I have hunger)

How to use it

Whenever you are extremely hungry/starving, you can use rather "J'ai la dalle" or "J'ai les crocs" (Which both mean: "I'm starving"). If you just feel a bit hungry, use instead "J'ai un petit creux" (I am a little hungry). 

Beware that all these expressions are informal, especially "J'ai la dalle". For the formal way to express hunger, use "J'ai faim" (I'm hungry). 


Example in a dialogue with French audio


J'ai la dalle, et toi ?

I'm starving, and you?

Non j'ai trop mangé, mais j'ai soif

No, I ate too much, but I'm thirsty

Comme d'habitude...

As usual...

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parallel texts with slow French audio

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To vocabulary list


Je suis à la bourre