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When we describe someone, what we are trying to do is to transmit a mental image. If we want to do it successfully, we do need to be as accurate as possible.  In this article, you are going to learn the following words and phrases to describe people in French:

  • face features and hair
  • body size and shape
  • age
  • beauty and ugliness

Then, we will give you a complete example so that you can follow it as a model and last but not least, you will have the opportunity to practice by yourself!

Without any more delay, let’s get down to work!

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All About Physical Appearance

The face And The Hair

Below a list of facial characteristics.

The Face And The Hair – Le visage et les cheveux

She has delicate / sharp features.Elle a les traits fins / durs.
Andy has freckles.Andy a des taches de rousseur.
Cindy has a beauty spot.Cindy a un grain de beauté.
My uncle has a wrinkled face.Mon oncle a un visage ridé.
Ava has a fresh complexion.Ava a le teint frais.
David has a pimply face.David a un visage boutonneux.
Eva is chubby-faced.Eva est joufflue.
What color are Andrea’s eyes?
She has brown eyes.
De quelle couleur sont les yeux d’Andrea?
Elle a les yeux marron.
My husband has a mustache and a beard.Mon mari porte une moustache et une barbe.
She has a Roman/snub/flat nose.Elle a un nez aquilin/retroussé/épaté .
Brigitte has a fair complexion.Brigitte a le teint clair.
James has a dark complexion.James a le teint foncé/mat.
The tone of Florine’s skin is olive.Florine a la peau mate.
My cousin has short hair, but I have long hair.Mon cousin a les cheveux courts, mais j’ai les cheveux longs.
Amy is blond.Amy est blonde.
Sarah has ginger hair. Sarah est rousse/rouquine.
Jeff has light brown hair.Jeff a des cheveux châtains clairs.
He has dark frizzy hair.Il a les cheveux bruns et crépus.
Mary has curly thick hair.Mary a les cheveux bouclés et épais.
My mother has straight hair. Ma mère a les cheveux raides.
Chris is bald.Chris est chauve.
Charlotte is going grey.Charlotte grisonne.
Pierre wears glasses.Pierre porte des lunettes.

Body Size And Shape

Here with the vocabulary for body shape and size:

Body Size And Shape – Taille et silhouette

Height La taille
Sandra is six feet tall. She’s tall.Sandra mesure 1 mètre 80 (centimètres). Elle est grande.
I'm of average height.Je suis de taille moyenne.
Antoine is short.Antoine est petit.
The figureLa silhouette
Adela is slim.Adela est mince.
Robert is thin.Robert est maigre.
Cecilia is slender.Cecilia est svelte.
Lorena is overweight.Lorena est en surpoids.
Her son is chubby.Son fils est potelé.
Lili is plump.Lili est grassouillette.
Build La carrure
Arnold is broad-shouldered.Arnold est de forte carrure.
Tony is muscular and well-built.Tony est musclé et bien bâti.
Giovanni is stocky.Giovanni est râblé.
Florette is squat.Florette est courtaude.
Henry is hefty.Henry est costaud.


As in English, use age adjectives in French in a polite way. Remember that asking a woman her age can be considered rude. So, if you still want to know someone’s age, ask the question in a nice way like: “May I ask how old you are?” (“Est-ce que je peux me permettre de te demander ton âge ?”)

Age – L’âge

Robert is 46 years old. He’s middle-aged.Robert a 46 ans.C’est un homme d’âge moyen.
Isabelle is young.Isabelle est jeune.
She is in her twenties.Elle a une vingtaine d’années.
Monsieur Remy is elderly.
Monsieur Remy is old.
Monsieur Remy est âgé.
Monsieur Remy est vieux.
He’s an old man.C’est un vieil homme.
Madame Cape is elderly.
She’s an old woman.
Madame Cape est âgée.
C’est une vieille dame.

Beauty And Ugliness

Beauty and ugliness are relative concepts which have been socially constructed. They have been both represented in art, literature and in media. The way these concepts are defined have positive and negative implications for men and women. Below you will find a list of useful phrases to talk about both aspects.

 Beauty And Ugliness – La beauté et la laideur

Sophie is beautiful.Sophie est belle.
I think Boris is gorgeous.Je pense que Boris est superbe.
My boyfriend is very handsome.Mon chéri / petit ami est très beau.
Penelope is an attractive woman.Penelope est une femme très séduisante.
You look so pretty in that dress.Tu es tellement jolie dans cette robe.
My neighbor is unattractive.Mon voisin est peu attirant.
Angela is nice but rather ugly.Angela est sympa mais plutôt laide.
Helene is kind of plain.Helene est une fille fade.

An Example

Look at the picture of Maylis and read the description below. Pay attention to the use of adjectives and the structure of sentences in French.


Maylis est une jeune femme. Elle a une vingtaine d’années. Elle a les yeux verts et elle porte des lunettes. Son teint est clair. Elle a le nez un peu épaté. Elle n’a pas les traits fins. Elle est joufflue mais elle n’est pas ridée. Ses cheveux sont bouclés et châtains clairs. Maylis est plutôt grassouillette et râblée. Sa taille est moyenne.

Time To Practice!

Look at the following picture carefully. Describe in French the person in the portrait below by using the vocabulary studied throughout this article. Total of words: 150.


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Take some times to read more articles we have written for you to enrich your French vocabulary and improve your language level.

Here with the list of vocabulary worksheets on many kinds of topics: