I have heard the following dialogue in the TV series Unité 42:

  • J'arrive pas y croire. Bob...
  • C'est chaud.

Context: A team of murder investigators are talking about Bob, his fellow investigator who was recently charged with drug manufacturing and was arrested.

"chaud" doesn't make any sense as "hot" in this context, so I assume it is slang. The English subtitles say "It's crazy", but I can't find this meaning in https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/chaud/14942. Is that a usual meaning of "chaud" ?

2 Answers 2


You can indeed find this usage in colloquial French, especially among young people. It is a fairly recent usage, so I bet Larousse has not taken it in yet.

Depending on the context, the meaning can be "that's tough" (I guess that is the meaning in your example) or "that's difficult".

  • 2
    I wouldn't characterize it as specific to young people. I'm pretty sure it was already common in the late 20th century. Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 8:18
  • 2
    Then let's say "among the young at heart"... I cannot picture myself above 50 someone using this spontaneously, or they could be rated as "un vieux qui essaie de parler le djeun's".
    – Greg
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 8:35
  • 1
    "that's messed up" would also work here Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 9:06
  • @Gilles'SOnousesthostile' I concur. The expression has been recorded at least in 1992 (Cœur de banlieue: Codes, rites, et langages, David Lepoutre). I might be wrong but I believe I was already using it before that date.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 14:32
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    Cela veut dire alors "c'est rude !" ou "c'est un sacré choc !".
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 7:35

"C'est chaud" can be used in a couple similar ways in slang. For a more detailed explanation, see Johan Tekfak from Français Authentique's explanation.

  1. If a situation is difficult, you could say "c'est chaud." Example: "Y'a tellement de gens dans ce bus, c'est chaud pour trouver une place."

  2. Describing a tense, dangerous or chaotic situation. Example: "Les mecs sont en train de se taper dessus à coup de barre de fer, c'est chaud!"

  3. If you're shocked and want to express how upsetting something is, you could also use it. Example: "Martine a eu un accident de voiture hier? Ah ouais c'est chaud quand même!"

  • 1
    I would add the slightly different meaning, to describe a tense, dangerous or chaotic situation. Ex: les mecs sont en train de se taper dessus à coup de barre de fer, c'est chaud!.
    – XouDo
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 11:04
  • Great suggestion, XouDo! Edited to reflect the additional meaning. Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 13:13
  • Donc ici ce serait le troisième cas ? Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 19:44

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