Recently I read a question on how to say I like you in French. None of these answers provided the expression 'je te kiffe', although I'm quite sure it is used very often. Is there a different context for this expression, or is it even out of date? What is its real meaning?
“Kiffer” is a derivative of “kif”, which comes from Arabic meaning “hashish” (or at least something related to hemp, I’m a bit short on serious references), figuratively “sensation of pleasure (due to hasish)”. It usually means to appreciate, to enjoy, to like. I’m not sure it's still in use nowadays, but it was enough in the nineties to warrant its appearance in Le Robert 1, 1993 edition.
In Walloon secondary schools some fifteen to twelve years ago, however, the verb's more usual meaning was simply “to smoke weed”.
In any case, I’ve only encountered it in familiar register.
Sir, that's a very slang term (whatever that actually means) for saying "I appreciate you a lot".
Often used by younger people like teenagers.
Although, this suffers from a lot of prejudices (thus I feel I really shouldn't say more. I don't want to tell prejudices about anyone).
This is often used to imitate / picture / caricature teenagers living in HLMs (wich they can refer to the "téci", verlan of "cité" - look at wikipedia, or "banlieue", the "suburb") who have their own style (which I cannot describe here shortly as easily), sometimes called "caillera" (verlan of "racaille", translated to "scum" by Google trad) (though that word is, IMO, a bit too strong).
In particular, we often see/hear this kind of sentence: « Hé mademoiselle, j'te kiffe ! Tu me files ton 06 ? » which has many, many variants.
I think though it was more often (and commonly) used in the 80s or 90s in general (I mean just the verb "kiffer" in general, like for instance: « J'kiffe grave ce que tu fais »)
I wouldn't advise you to use "je te kiffe", unless you want to say it to a friend who said it to you. When young people say "je te kiffe", it can mean "I like you", either in terms of friendship or slight dating interest.
But it can also mean "I like your personality" or "I like your body", the latter being highly improper when said to a stranger. It's like a cheap "you're nice" or "you're pretty".
You can "kiffe" anything - "je kiffe cette chanson" (I like this song"), "je kiffe ta veste" ("I like your jacket") - but it's teenspeak, and not considered a proper French word.
But in the NTM song "Ma Benz" there is a line,
J'veux juste que tu puisses me kiffer jusqu'à l'aube
so it probably could, in some contexts, have a nastier sense of physically pleasuring someone. Maybe it's just making out (snogging for Brits), but in the context of the song, it might possibly be a new euphemism for having intercourse, or simply be a direct translation to "pleasuring" in a broader generic sense. I'm not even French, let alone live in the téci, so I have no idea.
It's true that the expression "Je te kiffe" is became something slang. But, it's less and less used in order to say that for a girl (or a boy). Actually, you can use this expression for special things you like to do as :
-Tu as aimé la soirée hier soir ?
-Ouais, j'ai trop kiffé !
-Have you enjoyed the party yesterday ?
-Yes, I've liked it !
It can be also used ironically, or in movies (if the movie pretends to be a young spirit movie). But, it's not really used for people, unless you're a teenager under 15 years old, or you don't want to be serious.
However, as I said it's used often for things you like as music, movies, activities, etc.
I hope it's useful.
"kiffer" for us is "to like" but you can't use it all the time.
It used to be used mainly by teenager, but now it's used by more or less everybody. It is a very familiar word/expression.
You can't say that to everyone, you should use it just with friends and family.
As a french girl, I use it all the time. The real word to "to like" is "aimer".
So for example, to say :
I loved the movie i watched last night
It would be :
j'ai aimé le film que j'ai vu hier soir
but I'll say (with all my friend) :
j'ai kiffé le film que j'ai vu hier soir
If you say to someone "je te kiff" it should be for your friends, not the girl you love or really appreciate.
Hope it helped you!
It seems the verb can be used by a child towards her mother. When Jean-Pierre Vial was asked to write a variation on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star he referenced the original name of the tune (as used by Mozart) which is "Ah, vous dirais-je, Maman" and named his variation "Ma Mère, J'Te Kiffe Trop Grave"
Edit - 2020-06-17
Jean-Pierre Vial's response:
I confirm Mourad Qqch's answer above, but I would say it's a youth "popular" rather than "slang" expression, meaning "I love you".