French Vocabulary: The Verb [AVOIR] with Emotions or States

French Vocabulary: The Verb [AVOIR] with Emotions or States

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French Vocabulary: The Verb [AVOIR] with Emotions or States
le vocabulaire français: le verbe [avoir] avec les emotions et les états d’esprit

  • Terms for a wide variety of feelings or states of being.
  • Use AVOIR expressions to convey feelings and mental states.


Just because someone is from a different country, or speaks a different language, doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings. Happy, sad, angry, or glad are all universal!

Many emotions and states of being are used with the verb ÊTRE. But some emotions and states of being are used with the verb AVOIR. The words used with AVOIR to describe emotions and states are nouns. With nouns, the word beaucoup (a lot / much) can be added to indicate the intensity of the emotion or state of being.

Learn more about the verb AVOIR below:

LEAF French Grammar: The Verb AVOIR – Introduction

avoir besoin de (+ noun) : to need (something) (Literally: to have need of something)

Nous avons besoin d’aide.
We need help.

avoir besoin de (+ verb infinitive) : to need (to do some action) (Literally: to have need of [doing some action])

Vous avez besoin de travailler cet après-midi.
You all need to work this afternoon.

avoir le cafard : to be down in the dumps / to feel blue (Literally: to have the cockroach)

Elle a le cafard aujourd’hui.
She is down in the dumps today.

avoir de la chance : lucky (Literally: to have luck)

Nous avons de la chance.
We are lucky.

avoir (très) chaud : to be (very) warm / to be (very) hot (Literally: to have warmth / to have heat)

J’ai beaucoup chaud.
I am very warm.

avoir confiance en  : to trust in (Literally: to have confidence in)

Il a confiance en son ami.
He trusts his friend.

avoir envie de (+ verb infinitive) : to feel like (doing some action) (Literally: to have a desire [to do some action])

Elles n’ont pas envie détudier.
They (fem.) do not feel like studying today.

avoir faim : to be hungry (Literally: to have hunger)

L’adolescent a toujours faim!
The teenager is always hungry!

avoir le fou rire : to have the giggles (Literally: to have the crazy laugh)

Les enfants ont le fou rire.
The children have the giggles.

avoir (très) froid  : to be (very) cold (Literally: to have coldness)

Elle ferme la fenêtre parce qu’elle a froid.
She is closing the window because she is cold.

avoir la gueule de bois : to be hungover / to have a hangover (Literally: to have a wooden mouth)

Ils ont la gueule de bois ce matin.
They are hungover this morning.

avoir honte: to be ashamed (Literally: to have shame)

J’ai beaucoup honte!
I’m so ashamed!

avoir horreur de (+ noun): to loathe / can’t stand (something) (Literally: to have a horror of [something])

Marie a horreur des arraignées.
Marie can’t stand spiders.

avoir horreur de (+ verb infinitive) : to loathe / can’t stand (Literally: to have a horror [of])

Nous avons horreur de faire la queue.
We loathe waiting in line.

avoir mal : to have an ache / pain

Tu as mal à la tête.
You (informal) have a headache.

avoir mal au coeur : to feel sick to one’s stomach (Literally: to have pain in the heart)

J’ai mal au coeur.
I feel sick to my stomach.

avoir le mal de mer : to feel seasick (Literally: to have seasickness)

Il a souvent le mal de mer quand il voyage en bateau.
He often feels seasick when he travels by boat.

avoir peur de (+ noun) : to be afraid (of something) (Literally: to have fear [of] something)

Mon chat a peur de mon chien.
My cat is afraid of my dog.

avoir peur de + (verb infinitive) : to be afraid (of doing/to do some action) (Literally: to have fear of doing/to do some action)

Ma femme a peur de voler dans un avion.
My wife is afraid of flying in an airplane. / My wife is afraid to fly in an airplane.

avoir raison : to be right (Literally: to have reason)

Le client a toujours raison!
The customer is always right!

avoir soif : to be thirsty (Literally: to have thirst)

Vous avez soif.
You all are thirsty.

avoir sommeil : to be sleepy (Literally: to have sleepiness)

Le bébé a sommeil.
The baby is sleepy.

avoir tort : to be wrong (Literally: to have fault)

Il croit que deux et deux font cinq, mais il a tort.
He thinks that two and two are five, but he is wrong.


Qui a mal à l’oreille?
Who has an earache?

De quoi est-ce que vous avez peur?
What are you (formal) afraid of?

Quand est-ce que vous avez honte?
When are you (formal) ashamed?

Où est-ce que vous avez envie d’aller?
Where do you (formal) feel like going?

Pourquoi avez-vous mal au coeur?
Why do you (formal) feel sick to your stomach?

Comment est-il possible que j’ai tort?
How is it possible that I’m wrong?

Combien de personnes avaient du gueule de bois le matin après la fête?
How many people had a hangover the morning after the party?

En quel politicien avez-vous confiance?
Which politician do you trust?