Flench Glossary of Baby Talk: toutou, doudou, bidou, bobo...

Toutou (c) Kristin Espinasse
The tourist office employees are animal lovers... or else they're tired of drink requests! Photo taken in the town of Sarrians (Vaucluse). 

toutou (too-too) noun, masculine

    : doggie

Need help with French conjugation? Check out the French verb wheel

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE ... by Kristin Espinasse

I can tell you first-hand that, apart from tourists, the French town of Sarrians caters to rug rats, thieves, and cats.

Rug rats--rather "rug rat-ease"--being our topic for today, we'll skip the cat caper... though it is tempting to paint the scene: that of one "sticky-fingered" foreigner being chased by a minou* and a Maghrébine.

"I told you that kitty wasn't lost," Jean-Marc said, as we rounded a bend and slipped in to the Tourist office, unseen by the Maghrébine. I couldn't help it if that woman's cat was following me... admittedly after all the sweet talk disguised as soliloquy. (For the record, I did not steal the cat.)

Inching our way out of the tourist office, the coast now being clear, I saw the following hand-written sign posted against the municipal door: "Bar à Toutous". Beside the delightful sign, a couple of thirst-quenching quarts of water were thoughtfully set out for the town toutous... which brings us back to today's topic: "Rugrat-ease".

Inspired by the French signage (specifically the wee word "toutou"), I offer you a glossary of French kiddy talk or "langage enfantin": Please feel free to add to this list, using the comments box just below... and thanks in advance!

AUDIO FILE: You can now listen to our son, Max, pronounce the entire list, below:
Download MP3 or Wav file 

Petit Lexique de Langage Enfantin / Glossary of Baby Talk

areu ("areu areu") = goo-goo: faire areu areu = to gurgle
le bibi
(biberon) = baba (bottle)
le bidou = tummy
le bobo = boo-boo (minor injury) le coco (coquille) = egg
le coin-coin = quack-quack (duck)
cui-cui = tweet-tweetfaire cui-cui = to go tweet-tweet
le dada
= horsey (horse)
le dodo (dormir) = beddie-bye (sleep)
le doudou = blankie (blanket, or other security object)
glouglou = gobble-gobble
= upsy-daisy! (small accident)
le joujou (jouet) = toy
le kiki (quéquette) = wee-wee (penis)
le lolo (lait) = milk (also means "boob")
la mama (maman) = mama
la mémé (grandmère) = nana (grandma)
la menotte = little hand
le minou (minet) = cat
le nanan = yummies, sweets, num-nums
le ninin (ninnin) = security object (stuffed animal)
la nounou (la nourrice) = child-minder
le nounours (ours en peluche) = teddy bear
le papa (père) = daddy
le pépé (grand-père) = grandpa
le pipi = wee-wee
le popo (caca) = poo-poo, doo-doo
une quenotte = tooth
une risette = a little smile
    (faire une risette à la gentille dame) = smile for the nice lady
le sent-bon = perfume
la tantine = auntie
la tata (tante) = aunt
le tonton = uncle
le toutou = dog
le zizi = wee-wee


When we had all 7 golden retrievers (we now have just Mama Breizh and her son, Smokey). Oh, how the puppies loved baby talk! 



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susan glasson

My friend called our kitchen a cuisine "poupie (sp?)", a doll's kitchen? Can you give me the proper spelling? Thanks. I enjoy your e-mails. Susan


I was just in Sarrians last week! My boyfriend has family there, but we've never been to the tourist office. I saw other "bar a toutous" in the small towns in Provence though. They're so cute!


To Susan: That would be "poupée" most likely (doll) - maybe: "Une cuisine de poupée"?


This is so timely! I'm trying to teach my 15 month old French, but I don't know any baby slang. Thanks for the help, Kristin! It's so funny how languages differ - in my house, a "kiki" is a kitty and "zizi" is a pacifier. We'll have to be careful when we go to France!
Bonne fete aujourd'hui!


Years ago, when we lived in France, the first word my son could recognize was "ba-balle" (ball) My husband spent and him spent hours playing "cherche la ba-balle!" (fetch the ball).


How about "la menotte" (hand)or "une bi-bise" (kiss)

Donne-moi la menotte. Donne-moi une bi-bise.

Joyeuse Fête!


I love this list! It's so useful.

I'm a high schooler in New York and I just changed my MSN chat username to baby slang for slipper: "poutouffle" (as opposed to pantouffle).

Merci bp pour les courriels géniaux!

La Rêveuse

What about Papi and Mamie for grandparents? The kids I knew used those.

I also heard a lot of "Coucou (Hi there!), Toutou!" when walking my dog, though I didn't know they were calling her a penis when they called her "Kiki"! (Usually, these were guys at the market of middle eastern descent, so I'm hoping that "kiki" means something else in another language!)


Le sent-bon (perfume).


Just a little break in a busy day to give some more information:
- the belly is "LE BEDON" in French
- le NOUNOURS is written without the letter "e" you added to this word.

Il love your blog.

Best regards,

Kristin Espinasse

Merci Jacqueline :-)

Tatie Ann

How about 'caca', to go with 'pipi'?
And I know 'tatie' as auntie.

Tatie Ann

Sorry, I see 'caca' is already there. So I'll add 'faire pipi' and 'faire caca', as in 'Tu vas faire pipi?'


what great memories reading your list of baby talk brought me--my grandmother and my family also used 'pa-pattes' for slippers (as well as many others on your list)--to this day my adult son still tells me he is going 'dodo' after our Sunday evening long distance chats-

Sylvia Moody

My granddaughter has always called her blanket her nannie, which is closer, interestingly enough, to the French term listed above, ninin than any English term I've ever heard. We always wondered where she came up with the word. Maybe she was channeling French through her Francophile Meme. (Please excuse the lack of accent aigus.)


I am American but speak only French to my son, who's nearly 2. It's surprising how many of these he's come up with on his own. In our house, however "nou-nou" is short for "minou".

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