The French idiom "J'ai un petit creux" revealed

Are you ready to learn all the things you need to know about the basic expression “J’ai un petit creux”?

It includes a complete guide of what it is and how you can use it in everyday life with an audio example. Plus, we also sprinkled useful things like slow pronunciation audio, synonyms, dialogue example and more!

By the way, on this page you can find our others expressions tutorials plus the ultimate list of all our French words pages on this page. Happy learning!

Table of Contents

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English translation

How to pronounce

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

  • J’ai → I have
  • un petit → a little
  • creux → hollow

The expression “J’ai un petit creux” is useful to say “I am a little hungry” in informal contexts. The “creux” (hollow) in this expression is a reference to the sensation of void/emptiness in our stomach when we are hungry.

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

Whenever you start to feel this annoying emptiness in your stomach, you can use “J’ai un petit creux” (I am a little hungry). But when you are extremely hungry/starving, other expressions are more suitable, for example: “J’ai la dalle” or “J’ai les crocs” (Which both basically mean: “I’m starving“).

Beware that all these expressions are informal. For the formal way to express this feeling, use “J’ai faim” (I’m hungry). 


  • J’ai faim. (“I am hungry“)
  • J’ai les crocs. (“Literally: I have the fangs → I’m super hungry“)
  • Je suis affamé. (“I am starving“)
  • J’ai la dalle. (“I’m starving“)

Example with audio dialogue

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

” J’ai un petit creux, et toi ? “
” I am a little hungry, 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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