The French phrase "J'ai la dalle" explained

On this page, we are going to show you all the things you have to know about the funny French sentence “J’ai la dalle”.

Are included a detailed explanation of what it is and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. Together with the useful things we sprinkled like dialogue example, synonyms, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Oh and before I forget, you can also find more sentences explained like this one on this page plus the directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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French to English

Audio pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does j'ai la dalle mean?


It literally means:

  • J’ai → I have
  • la → the
  • dalle → hunger (slang)

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). 


  • J’ai les crocs. (“Literally: I have the fangs → I’m super hungry“)
  • Je suis affamé. (“I am starving“)
  • J’ai faim. (“I am hungry“)
  • J’ai un petit creux. (“I am a little hungry“)

Everyday life dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” 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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