A very common remark in English is simply weird, or that's weird, to express that something is generally unexpected. What's the most common way of expressing this in French?

I don't want to just look up the translation for "weird" and come up with words like étrange or bizarre, because that may not be the way this idea (of something being expected) is most commonly expressed in French, just as only is more often translated by ne...que than by seulement.

Although I seem to recall seeing c'est bizarre fairly often.

  • The term is bizarre in French. No doubt about it. Very common. Very used. Very cliché in both English and French. Peu commun, hors du commun is used for unusual, too. I am an English speaker who lived in France for 16 years, I am an interpreter and studied at a French university. I say this then to show personal experience of the language in an everyday and day-in and day-out sort of way. This is not a dictionary thing for me at all. One relies on what one has interiorized of the language. But that will surely draw fire....:) So be it.
    – Lambie
    Apr 2, 2016 at 22:38
  • 2
    Lol Lambie you don't need to justify your credentials on FL&U. If people think you're mistaken, they'll say so, and adding credentials won't stop them. Believe me, when someone makes an incorrect assertion about la langue française around here, you can rest assured several other people will point this out. Apr 3, 2016 at 1:05
  • Oh, I know, it is most holy, sacred and divine. It was for the OP and also to make a point: some knowledge cannot be proven through books. How to you "know" that avoir faim is to be hungry? Hm? But of course, you get a point! The only way one can know certain things is to have experienced them. So that was my point. Aussi bizarre que ça puisse paraître. And I know that English mistakes from French speakers don't count either....:)
    – Lambie
    Apr 3, 2016 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


C'est bizarre or c'est étrange are generally the two most used expressions to describe that something is weird. I wouldn't say that one of those is way more used than the other. For instance, to say :

The door is open ? That's weird.

You would usually say :

La porte est ouverte ? C'est bizarre.

La porte est ouverte ? C'est étrange.

Sometimes people will turn it in the idea of something "suspicious" : c'est louche. You can sometimes hear the slang version of this expression : c'est chelou.

You may also hear instead that "it is not normal" : ce n'est pas normal.

La porte est ouverte ? Ce n'est pas normal.

It does apply to the idea of something unusual. You may also hear c'est inhabituel (literally "it's unusual") or ce n'est pas commun ("this is not common").


Possibilités (dans un ordre décroissant d'usage):

  • bizarre
  • étrange
  • anormal (ou pas normal comme suggéré par Isuka)
  • curieux
  • spécial
  • étonnant
  • spèce (forme familière de spécial)
  • chelou (louche en nouveau verlan)
  • baroque (de plus en plus utilisé pour apporter un peu de style)
  • saugrenu

Beaucoup plus de synonyme sur le CNRTL (selon le contexte).

  • On écrit plutôt "space" que "spèce". J'ajouterais aussi "zarbi", voire "zarb" que ne référence pas le CNRTL...
    – jlliagre
    Apr 3, 2016 at 9:17

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