Science Fiction and Fantasy Vocabulary in French: How to Talk About Your Favorite Books in French

I’m a bookworm. One of my favorite genres, aside from history or historical fiction, is that of la fantaisie/fantasy (“fantasy”) and la science-fiction (“science fiction”).

When you get to the intermediate level in a language, diving into content created for native speakers is an effective way to boost your skill in a language. And that’s why I dive into books as soon as I’m able–LingQ helps a ton with this!

I read in French as much as I read in English, but there’s something I make sure to do whenever I read.


I only read books in French I would have read in English.

That means I don’t read something just because it’s in French. It has to be something I’m interested in–regardless of the language the book is in.

Sometimes this means I read translations of my favorite books–like “The Name of the Wind”, “Game of Thrones”, or “Eye of the World” in other languages. Though sometimes I read books in the same genre in French, too. Pierre Bourdieu is one of my favorite French fantasy authors!

Needless to say, I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction in French, so I thought I would share some of the most common fantasy/science fiction vocabulary I’ve come across in my reading. Please let me know if you feel if anything is missing from this list!

Please note that some of these are words that I have come across in my reading and some are ones that I have added on my own – any that seem out of place are those that I had to look up while reading.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Vocabulary in French with English Translations

Fantasy and Science Fiction Nouns in French

These are some of the characters, objects, and ideas you may come across when reading science fiction or fantasy in French.

Key Fantasy Vocabulary in French

  • une quête – “quest”
  • une légende – “legend”
  • un mythe – “myth”
  • le héros – “heroes”
  • le méchant – “the villain”
  • une dystopie – “dystopia”
  • une aventure – “adventure”
  • une théorie du complot – “conspiracy theory”
  • sous-création – “world-building” (I’m not totally sure about this one)
  • l’intrigue – “intrigue”

Words to Discuss Knights in French

  • un chevalier – “knight”
  • une lame – “blade”
  • une épée – “sword”
  • un bouclier – “shield”
  • une lance – “spear”
  • une cotte de mailles – “chainmail”
  • une armure – “suit of armor”
  • un ordre de chevalerie – “order of chivalry”

Words to Discuss Magic or Something Otherly in French

  • un magicien – “magician”
  • la magie – “magic”
  • un sorcier – “wizard”
  • une sorcière – “witch”
  • un sort – “spell”
  • une malédiction – “curse”
  • un système de magie – “magic system”
  • les ténèbres – “darkness, obscurity”

Words to Talk About Characters in French

  • le protagoniste – “the protagonist”
  • l’antagoniste – “the antagonist”
  • le roi et la reine – “the king and queen”
  • un aubergiste – “innkeeper”
  • les pommettes – “cheekbones”
  • les androïdes – “androids”
  • un dragon – “dragon”
  • un serviteur – “minion”
  • les nains – “dwarves”
  • les elfes – “elves”
  • les gobelins – “goblins”
  • Bilbon et Frodon Sacquet – “Bilbo and Frodo Baggins”

Fantasy and Science Fiction Verbs in French

These are some of the verbs you might come across in your French reading.

  • échouer – “to fail”
  • rebiffer – “to balk”
  • jaillirent – “gushed”
  • aiguiser – “to whet”
  • chuintements – “hissing”
  • chamade – “racing, pounding”

Fantasy and Science Fiction Adjectives and Adverbs in French

Use these words to get more descriptive when speaking French.

  • farouchement – “fiercely”
  • en sueur – “sweaty”
  • épique, héroïque – “epic, heroic”

Fantasy Book Titles in French

  • Le Seigneur des anneaux – “The Lord of the Rings”
  • Le Hobbit – “The Hobbit”
  • Trône de fer – “Game of Thrones”
  • Le nom du vent – “The Name of the Wind”
  • Le Cycle de L’Assassin Royal – “The Farseer Trilogy”
  • Le Meilleur des mondes – “Brave New World”
  • La Guerre des étoiles – “Star Wars”
  • Harry Potter à l’École des Sorciers – “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
  • Conan le Barbare – “Conan the Barbarian”
  • Le Maître du Haut Château – “The Man in the High Castle”

Any other fantasy or science fiction words you’d like to see on this list? Let me know in the comments!


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Published on: August 6, 2020

Filed Under: Language Resources

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