If you’ve ever interacted with French people, you may have heard the word “bisous” thrown around quite often. Bisous is a French term that is commonly used to express affection, friendship, or love by pressing or touching one’s lips against someone’s cheek or lips, usually accompanied by a gentle sound. It is a common way of greeting and saying goodbye to friends and family members in France.
Bisous Meaning: Learn the French Kiss Greeting
What Does Bisous Mean?
Bisous is a French term that translates to “kisses” in English. It is a commonly used expression to convey affection, friendship, or love by pressing or touching one’s lips against someone’s cheek or lips, usually accompanied by a gentle sound. Bisous is deeply ingrained in French culture and is considered a form of greeting or farewell, particularly among close friends and family members.
In France, bisous is a way of expressing warmth, intimacy, and familiarity. It is a physical gesture that reflects the close relationship between two people. The number of bisous given varies depending on the region, age, and social status of the individuals involved. For example, in Paris, two bisous are exchanged, while in other regions, such as Marseille, three bisous are common.
Bisous is not limited to romantic or sexual relationships. It is a common way of greeting or saying goodbye to friends, family members, and even acquaintances. Bisous can be used to express gratitude, congratulations, or condolences. For example, if you meet someone for the first time in France, it is customary to give them a bisou on each cheek as a sign of welcome.
However, it is important to note that bisous is not appropriate in all situations. In a formal setting, such as a business meeting or an interview, shaking hands is the preferred way of greeting. Bisous is reserved for informal and social situations.
Origins of Bisous
Bisous is a French term of endearment that is commonly used to express affection. The term is derived from the French word “baiser,” which means “to kiss.” Bisous is often used to describe a friendly kiss on the cheek or lips, and is a term of endearment that is commonly used between friends, family, and lovers.
The origins of bisous are not entirely clear, but it is believed that the term originated from the French language in the early 20th century. The term was likely coined as a way to express affection between friends and family, and has since become a common term of endearment in French culture.
Bisous is often used in French greetings, and is a common way to say goodbye. It is also used in romantic situations, and is a way for lovers to express their affection for one another. For example, you might say “bisous mon amour” to your significant other to express your love and affection.
Usage of Bisous in Different Contexts
Bisous in Everyday French Life
Bisous, the French word for kisses, is an essential part of everyday French life. It is a common way of greeting friends, family, and acquaintances. French people use bisous to show affection to their loved ones and to greet people they know.
In France, people usually greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. The number of kisses may vary depending on the region, but two kisses are the most common. Bisous are usually accompanied by a hug or a handshake.
Bisous are not only used to greet people. French people also use bisous to say goodbye or to express gratitude. For example, if you are leaving a party, you may give bisous to the host and other guests. If someone does something nice for you, you may give them bisous to show your appreciation.
It is important to note that bisous are not romantic kisses. They are friendly kisses that are meant to show affection and respect. Bisous are also not limited to women. Men give bisous to other men, and women give bisous to other women.
In everyday French life, bisous are a way of maintaining social connections and showing affection to the people you care about. Whether you are greeting a friend, saying goodbye to a colleague, or thanking someone for their help, bisous are an integral part of French culture.
Bisous in French Literature
If you have ever read a French novel or poem, you may have come across the word “bisous.” In French literature, bisous are often used to convey affection and intimacy between characters.
For example, in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, the protagonist Emma Bovary writes to her lover, “Je t’embrasse mille fois” which translates to “I kiss you a thousand times.” This phrase is a common way to express love and affection in French literature.
Bisous are also used in poetry to convey emotions and feelings. In the poem “Bisous” by Paul Verlaine, the speaker describes the act of kissing as a way to escape reality and enter a world of pure emotion. The poem reads, “Bisous fervents des lèvres/ Qui vont mourir sur d’autres lèvres” which translates to “Fervent kisses of lips/ That will die on other lips.”
Bisous in Social Etiquette
Bisous, or cheek kisses, are an important part of French social etiquette. It is customary to greet friends and acquaintances with bisous, and the number of kisses varies depending on the region. In Paris, for example, two kisses are customary, while in other parts of France, three or four kisses are more common.
When greeting someone with bisous, it is important to remember a few key points of etiquette. First, bisous are reserved for friends and acquaintances, not strangers or business associates. Second, women typically initiate bisous, although men may also offer bisous to close female friends.
To perform bisous, lean in and touch cheeks with the other person, making a kissing sound with your lips. It is important to make contact with the cheeks, not the lips, and to avoid making loud or exaggerated kissing sounds.
In addition to greeting friends with bisous, it is also customary to bid farewell with bisous. When saying goodbye, offer a quick round of bisous to each person present. If you are leaving a large gathering, such as a party, it is not necessary to bid farewell to everyone individually. Instead, offer a general wave and a round of bisous to the group as a whole.
Variations of Bisous
When it comes to French kisses, you might have heard the words “bise” and “bisou” before. These two terms are the most common French words for “kiss,” but they have different meanings and uses.
“Bise” is a kiss on the cheek, while “bisou” is a more intimate kiss on the lips. Both words are informal and used as a greeting or farewell between friends, family, or acquaintances. However, “bisou” is more affectionate and romantic than “bise.”
Here are some variations of “bisou” that you might come across in French:
- Bisous doux: “Sweet kisses.” This is a gentle and tender way to express your affection towards someone.
- Bisous mouillés: “Wet kisses.” This term is used to describe a kiss with a lot of saliva or moisture.
- Bisous sonores: “Noisy kisses.” This is used to describe a kiss with a sound, such as a smack or a pop.
- Bisous volés: “Stolen kisses.” This term is used to describe a secret or illicit kiss.
- Bisous baveux: “Slobbery kisses.” This is a more negative term used to describe a kiss with too much saliva or drool.
As you can see, there are many variations of “bisou” in French, each with its own nuance and meaning. Whether you’re greeting a loved one or expressing your affection, knowing these variations can help you use the right word for the right occasion.
Bisous vs. Other French Greetings
When it comes to French greetings, bisous is one of the most common and well-known. However, it’s not the only one. Here are some other French greetings and how they compare to bisous:
The most basic and common French greeting is bonjour, which means “hello” or “good day.” It’s appropriate to use in any situation, whether you’re greeting a friend or a stranger. Bonjour is a more formal greeting than bisous, and it’s usually accompanied by a handshake.
Salut is a more casual greeting that’s similar to “hi” or “hey.” It’s appropriate to use with friends and acquaintances, but not in more formal settings. Salut is often accompanied by a wave or a nod.
Coucou is a very informal greeting that’s similar to “hey there” or “hiya.” It’s mostly used between friends and family members, and it’s not appropriate in more formal settings. Coucou is often accompanied by a smile or a hug.
Bisous is a French greeting that involves kissing on the cheeks. It’s appropriate to use with friends and family members, but not in more formal settings. Bisous is typically accompanied by a hug or a handshake.
Overall, the choice of greeting depends on the situation and the level of formality required. Bonjour is the most universal and formal greeting, while bisous is more intimate and casual. Salut and coucou are more informal and should be reserved for friends and family members.
Common Misunderstandings About Bisous
When it comes to bisous, there are a few common misunderstandings that can lead to confusion or even embarrassment. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
Bisous are not always romantic
One of the biggest misconceptions about bisous is that they are always romantic or sexual in nature. While it’s true that bisous can be used between romantic partners, they can also be used between friends, family members, or even acquaintances. In fact, bisous are a common way to greet someone in France, and they are often used as a sign of affection or respect.
Bisous are not always on the lips
Another common misunderstanding about bisous is that they are always on the lips. In reality, bisous can be on the cheek, the forehead, or even the hand. The location of the bisou can vary depending on the relationship between the people involved and the context in which it is being used.
Bisous are not the same as bises
Bisous and bises are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. Bises are usually more formal and reserved for close family members or friends, while bisous are more informal and can be used between acquaintances or even strangers. Additionally, bises are typically only on the cheek, while bisous can be on the lips or other parts of the face.
Bisous can be misunderstood in different cultures
Finally, it’s important to remember that bisous can be misunderstood in different cultures. While they are common in France and other parts of Europe, they may not be as common or accepted in other parts of the world. If you are traveling to a new country or meeting people from different cultures, it’s important to be aware of these cultural differences and adjust your behavior accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does ‘gros bisous’ mean in French?
‘Gros bisous’ is a French phrase that translates to ‘big kisses’ in English. It is a common way of saying goodbye or expressing affection towards someone you care about. You can use it with friends, family, or even your significant other.
Is ‘bisous’ considered a romantic gesture?
While ‘bisous’ can be used as a romantic gesture, it is typically considered a friendly greeting in France. It is a way of showing affection towards someone you care about, but it is not necessarily a romantic gesture. In a romantic context, French people might use the phrase ‘je t’aime’ (I love you) instead.
How do you respond to someone saying ‘bisous’?
If someone says ‘bisous’ to you, you can respond by saying ‘bisous’ back or by saying ‘à bientôt’ (see you soon) or ‘à demain’ (see you tomorrow) if you plan on seeing them again soon. Alternatively, you can respond with ‘merci’ (thank you) or ‘toi aussi’ (you too) if you want to acknowledge their gesture of affection.
What is the meaning of ‘bisous a toi’?
‘Bisous a toi’ is a French phrase that means ‘kisses to you’ in English. It is a way of sending someone affectionate greetings or saying goodbye. You can use it with friends, family, or even your significant other.
Why do French people say ‘bisous’?
French people say ‘bisous’ as a way of expressing their affection towards someone they care about. It is a common way of saying goodbye or sending affectionate greetings. The tradition of kissing on the cheek as a greeting dates back centuries in France, and ‘bisous’ is simply a modern version of this tradition.
What is the slang word for ‘kiss’ in French?
The slang word for ‘kiss’ in French is ‘bécot’. It is a more informal way of saying ‘bisou’ and is often used among friends or in a casual context.
Last Updated on November 1, 2023