I have been reading an article about flirting in French.. One of the funny things, that I don't believe.. that a man in France uses miaou (the sound of cat) to flirt with a woman ...

Is this true and to what extend ?

  • 2
    The one who wants pussy must talk pussy.
    – Destal
    May 2, 2017 at 22:30
  • That's not true. Where did you read that? A Frenchman may call his girl ma petite chatte ("my pussy/pet") but he won't miaow. At best, and if we want to stay in the animal word we will use the verb roucouler (coo - what pigeons & doves do) which can be used when a man flirts with a woman, but I can't imagine him making the sound of the bird, it's used in a figurative meaning.
    – None
    May 3, 2017 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


I think it was a joke because it something that never happens. The only thing that come close to that is calling your girlfriend "chatton" (kitten) but that's about it.

  • Do any of the other romantic connotations that exist in English translate? For example, one can (crudely) say "Me-ow" to mean that someone is sexy, mew to indicate that one wants sex, or even, in several such situations, if a bit poetically, "purr". Even outside @SimonDéchamps' clever comment, it seems that in English, at least, cats have a symbolic relationship to sex, which probably stems from their reputation in general. Is there nothing of the kind in French?
    – Luke Sawczak
    May 3, 2017 at 16:45
  • Well, "purr" ( ronronner ) is also use in french. Some people have moan who might sounds like purr so sometime we juste refer it like "ooow' you're purring" or something in the same spirit. But it's more in a romantic/cute way than something sexual. But as far as i know, the only thing that come close to say "me-ow" for sexy is to whistle ( but don't do that out in the street or you'll have a bad time). As for the symbolic of cat, they are more associate with easy-going, their short fused temper or their cutness in France.
    – romain
    May 4, 2017 at 7:29
  • I've never heard someone imitating a cat or any other animal in general outside of joke or roleplay. But something which is current is to compare someone with an animal, "oh, you behave like a X" or "you sounds like a Y" and we use this resemblance to refer to someone, whether it's in a sexy, serious or joking way.
    – romain
    May 4, 2017 at 7:35
  • Intéressant. Merci des précisions !
    – Luke Sawczak
    May 4, 2017 at 12:53
  • 1
    Some attribute this fun duet to the Italian Rossini (who did live/die in France) while others say it was an Englishman's work. Regardless, both performers seem to be using the sound to purrrfectly express what they each want, but I'd say that Gaelle is having more luck using it to slow things down a bit than Tom is with using it to achieve his goal. They both, however, do seem to be happy in the end, even purrrrfectly so (sorry, I couldn't resist even this second lame use, much less the first one)! cc: @LukeSawczak
    – Papa Poule
    May 7, 2017 at 22:42

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