Get prepared to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the funny phrase “C’est chelou”.
Including a detailed explanation of what it is and how you can use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. As well as the cool stuff we sprinkled like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!
The literal meaning is:
This French expression is coming from the word “Louche” (Suspicious) which got twisted through a slang mechanism called “verlan“. So the word’s syllables are reversed: Lou-che → Che-lou.
But what is even more interesting here, it’s that in people’s mind, the meaning of these two words ended up being different. “Louche” means “Shady / Suspicious” while “Chelou” means just “Weird“.
So now, “C’est chelou” is something we use in informal contexts to say “It’s weird” without necessarily implying that there is something shady.
Use it exactly like you would use “It’s weird” in English, except that it’s much more familiar and not suited for formal environments. If you want something more formal, you can say: “C’est étrange” (It’s strange) or another variation listed on the “Synonyms” section below.
One example: you tell a friend that you made the same dream 5 days in a row, so you add at the end of your sentence: “C’est chelou non ?” (It’s weird right?). And your friend would answer: “Oui, c’est chelou !” (Yes, it’s weird!)
To highlight how weird this is, you can add “Grave” before “Chelou“. For example: “C’est grave chelou !” (It’s so weird!)