I was reading a transcript of a podcast and there were several times the speaker ended a sentence with quoi, leaving me a bit confused. Here is an example~

Voilà, ben, la fête, on mange, quoi !

What does quoi mean when used this way?

  • 1
    There are even people who have this as a verbal tic, at the end of many sentences. Jun 15, 2015 at 0:46

4 Answers 4


Il y a une ambiguïté de lecture, hors du contexte : on ne sait si on constate que tout les fêtards sont en train de manger, ou si le locuteur les interpelle pour se mettre à table :

Si ce n'est un moment de satisfaction, c'est une interjection, un tic verbal d'impatience qui cherche à interpeller ses partenaires pour obtenir une réaction, du même niveau littéraire et tout aussi inutile que le 'ben'.

À moins que ce soit un constat de ripaille, ce qui devrait être une interrogation devient une exclamation un tantinet angoissée dévoilant un sujet affamé qui veux prendre le rôle de la maîtresse de maison pour mettre tout le monde à table.

Le quoi ne signifie rien en soi, sinon que le locuteur n'a rien à dire mais qu'il 'cherche la lumière' à se mettre indirectement en valeur : d'une façon très subjective on pourrait 'traduire' par :

S'il est content :

Voilà, c'est la fête et tout le monde mange, comme vous pouvez le voir

S'il a l'estomac dans les talons :

C'est la fête, j'ai faim, moi.


It's very common. The exact meaning tends to vary with the context. And there's not really a single English equivalent.

"Mais quoi?" "What? Why are you looking at me like that? (As if the other person was implying, without saying it, that there's something wrong with you.)

"Ben oui, quoi." "Well... yes!" (Just a slight emphasis of the yes, in this case.)

In doubt, just consider it a slight form of emphasis.

I would say that "quoi" is in the tradition of these small Latin words that were added to a sentence without really changing the meaning. (Latin, here, as in the Latin language of ancient Rome .)

  • Welcome to the site! Interesting! Supporting an answer with references can often go a long way; consider for instance this which provides more use cases to go further with the answer; also, to tailor a more specific answer, sometimes more detail is required from OP i.e. comments. Enjoy! Thanks!
    – user3177
    Jun 15, 2015 at 4:26
  • You could add it is informal speech.
    – None
    May 7, 2017 at 21:07

It seems to me it's used at the end of sentences, phrases or remarks very much like the British upper class used to use the word "what?" as in "Sprightly little filly, what?". It kind of looks for confirmation from the respondee in a rhetorical fashion. "Ca marche bien, quoi?"


"Quoi" (Grr!!) This inane hackeneyed interjection came into use in spoken French, my guess about a generation ago. Is this so? To my ears it sounds silly, especially when overdone as some people do, others less so. Some hardly ever use it, but contrary to Brit use In France Robert I'd say the more cultured the less so it seems. Vos gentilles réponses, corrections seront appréciées.

  • Bienvenue sur French Stack Exchange. Answers benefit from supporting references. Why do you say it sounds silly? Please take a moment to see the tour and help center.
    – livresque
    May 15, 2021 at 22:13

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