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I've heard that the response "ça va" can be replaced with "ça baigne" (lit. "that bathes") in casual contexts. Is this a common greeting among friends, or something that simply exists but isn't commonly used? How does it feel compared to ça va?

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    "Ça va" is the more common way and less informal than the others (still it is not the most polite way, especially as a question "ça va ?"). "Ça baigne" would be understood by everyone I suppose. There is "ça roule" too, and "ça gaze". – Destal Jun 11 '17 at 10:33
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    Note that it is a shortcut for "Ça baigne dans l'huile" which means "Tout va parfaitement bien". – jcm69 Jun 11 '17 at 13:06
  • my feeling is that it is less used than, say, 10 years ago. – radouxju Jun 12 '17 at 7:23
  • In the same order of idea, the not specially very clever but somehow funny movie "Brice de Nice" introduced the expression "Ça farte ?", with the meaning "Ça va ?". I can't say the expression really took off. The french verb "Farter" consists in applying a kind of wax to improve the gliding characteristics of surfboards & skis. See here : youtube.com/watch?v=dhZ_kkVzx18 – FredGe Jun 12 '17 at 10:15
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We can find the origin of the word in an article by l'Internaute :

Sens : Tout fonctionne bien. Origine : Cette expression date du XXe siècle et prend ses origines sur les établis de bricolage. En effet, lorsqu'un mécanisme est rempli d'huile, il fonctionne bien et tout va pour le mieux. Ainsi, par extension, la formulation est employée dans le langage familier pour dire que tout va bien, que tout est sous contrôle.

"Ca baigne" is indeed familiar and used with friends and family. As radouxju said, it was mostly used about 10 years ago and it is hardly used nowadays, even if it's probably still used by youngsters. "Ça va" could be used with basically anybody in a non-professionnal scenario. You would use "Comment allez-vous ?" in that case.

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    'yougsters' ? No, actually, probably no one under at least 30-40 would use it. – Nathan Coustenoble Jun 13 '17 at 8:23

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