French Medical Terms

Instructor: Romain Chareyron

Romain teaches university French and has a PhD in French culture and cinema.

This lesson will provide you with the necessary vocabulary pertaining to French medical terms. You will learn general medical terms connected to injuries, the hospital, the medical exam, as well as the healing process.

Some General Medical Terms

Imagine that you are spending time in France or in a Francophone country, and you suddenly need medical assistance! Not knowing the vocabulary to deal with some basic health or medical issue can quickly become quite overwhelming. This lesson will introduce you to a variety of medical terms to be used in different contexts. We will start by offering some vocabulary whose relevance may apply to daily life.

French English
L'hôpital (pronounced /oh-pee-tahl/) The hospital
L'ambulance (pronounced /om-bü-lons/) The ambulance
L'équipe médicale (pronounced /ay-keep may-dee-kahl/) The medical team
Saigner (pronounced /say-nyay/) To bleed
Désinfecter (pronounced /day-zan-fehk-tay/) To disinfect
La blessure (pronounced /blay-sür/) The wound/injury
Le pansement (pronounced /pon s-mahn/) The bandage

Pierre fell from his bike and badly hurt his leg. Although il saigne beaucoup (he bleeds a lot) he manages to go back home and immediately appelle l'ambulance (calls the ambulance) When the ambulance arrives, l'équipe médicale (the medical crew) examines Pierre's leg. They start by désinfecter la blessure (disinfect the wound) and they put un pansement (a bandage) on it. Since the wound is pretty bad, they want to emmener Pierre à l'hôpital (take Pierre to the hospital).


On met un pansement sur la blessure
Un pansement


At the Hospital

Now, imagine that you have to be taken to a hospital. Knowing some vocabulary pertaining to the medical world can make a huge difference, as you might be able to explain your symptoms and to better understand what the nurse and doctor are doing. This section of the lesson offers you some essential vocabulary in connection to the hospital and the medical world.

French English
Les urgences (pronounced /ür-zhahn s/) The E.R.
La salle d'attente (pronounced /sahl d'ah-tahn t/) The waiting room
Le formulaire (pronounced /fohr-mü-lehr/) The form
L'infirmier (masculine), L'infirmière (feminine) (pronounced /an-fee-rmee-ehr/ (feminine), /an-feer-me-eay/) (masculine)) The nurse
Le docteur (masculine,) La docteure (feminine) (pronounced /dohk-tör/) (both genders) The doctor
Le médecin (masculine), La médecin (feminine) (pronounced /may-duh-san/) The doctor
Casser (pronounced /kah-say/) To break
La radio (pronounced /rah-dee-oh/) / Les rayons X (pronounced /ray-ohn eekz/) The X-ray
Le plâtre (pronounced /plah-tr/) The cast
La piqûre (pronounced /pee-kür/) The shot/injection
Le tétanos (pronounced /tay-tah-nohs/) Tetanus
L'allergie (pronounced /ah-lehr-zhee/) The allergy
L'intervention (pronounced /an-tehr-vahn-see-ohn/) The procedure
Prescrire (pronounced /praehs-kreer/) To prescribe
L'anti-inflammatoire (pronounced /on-tee-an-flah-mah-too-ahr/) The anti-inflammatory

When Pierre arrives at the hospital, he is taken to les urgences (the E.R.), where une infirmière (a nurse) asks him to remplir un formulaire médical (fill out a medical form). Pierre sits in la salle d'attente (the waiting room) for a little while then l'infirmière takes him for une radio (an X-ray). After la radio, Pierre is taken to uno salle d'examen (an exam room) where he waits for le docteur (the doctor). When le docteur enters the room, he looks at la radio and tells Pierre, Votre jambe est cassée! ('Your leg is broken!'). He also tells Pierre, Il faut mettre votre jambe dans un plâtre ('We need to put your leg in a cast'). Le docteur then gives Pierre une piqûre anti tétanos (a tetanus shot) and asks him, Est-ce que vous avez des allergies? ('Do you have any allergies?'). Pierre says that he doesn't, and le docteur lui prescrit les anti-inflammatoires (the prescribes him anti-inflammatories) to take after l'intervention (the procedure).


On fait une radio pour voir si il faut un platre
Une radio


A Medical Exam

During the exam, the doctor might ask you some questions regarding your general health. He or she might also give you some recommendation or prescribe some medication. This section of the lesson will introduce you to some vocabulary that could help you better understand what a doctor does and might ask you.

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