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use of French words for nice

What is the difference between gentil and sympa?

May 1, 2020



Gentil is traditionally "kind" or "polite"; "sympa" is a general term for cool or easy going people.The converse is "serieux/se" which is not critical, but for more intellectual, cerebral, even reserved folk.


"Gentil" is used when speaking of a person (man, in case it's a woman then it is "gentille") who is kind. "Sympa" (which is short for "sympathique") has about the same meaning. "Sympa" can also be applied to things or situations, unlike "gentil/gentille" which are for people only. Ex. "Ce dessin est sympa" (slang): "this drawing is nice"


As a sidenote, "sympa" is short for "sympathique".

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