8 Ways to Say “Perfect” in French

Parfait is how you say “perfect” in French. But if you’re looking for some other options, that’s perfectly natural! Let’s look at eight ways to say perfect in French!

8 ways to say “perfect” in French

A female gymast is photographed mid-flip during a routine

The perfect “perfect”: parfait(e)

Parfait is the standard way to say “perfect” in French. It can be used in both formal and informal situations.

In an overwhelming majority of cases, parfait comes after the word it modifies. But in some special cases, you may see it precede a noun, as in a phrase like filer le parfait amour (to be very much in love). This is usually due to poetic language.  

One exception to this rule is when parfait is used to mean “complete/total” (more on that in a moment).

Parfait can be used as a standalone word or as part of a sentence, although in formal or professional situations, it’s best to at least pair it with C’est (C’est parfait – That’s perfect).

Remember that because parfait is an adjective, it has to agree with the gender and number of the word(s) it’s modifying. For example:

un homme parfait (a perfect man)

une journée parfaite (a perfect day)

des animaux de compagnie parfaits (perfect pets)

des oeuvres parfaites (perfect works (of art/literature….))

Interestingly, parfait is used almost exactly like “perfect” in English. This means, among other things, that it can be transformed into an adverb: parfaitement (perfectly).

Another similarity is that its meaning can range from “without fault” to “absolute(ly)/complete(ly)/total(ly)”, as in for instance, Je comprends parfaitement (I understand perfectly) or C’est un parfait idiot (He’s a complete idiot.) As I mentioned earlier, when using parfait to mean “complete” this way, it’s placed before the noun.

Parfait is also the word you use when talking about perfect tenses in grammar (ex: le futur parfait (future perfect), le passé imparfait (the past imperfect), etc.).  It’s used in musical terminology as well.

Examples:

C’est parfait. (It’s/That’s perfect.)

Pour moi, c’est un film parfait. (For me, it’s a perfect film.)

Si nous pouvions décaler la reunion à demain, ça serait parfait. (If we could move the meeting to tomorrow, that would be perfect.)

There are a number of common phrases that include parfait(e). For instance:

un crime parfait (a perfect crime)

en parfaite santé (in perfect health)

en parfait état (in perfect condition)

WordReference’s list is a good place to start if you’d like to find some additional common phrases with parfait.

The common abstract “perfect”: idéal(e)

Idéal is a good alternative to parfait if you’re talking about something/someone that is truly the best of the lot. The key difference is that it has to be in an abstract, rather than concrete, sense.

So for instance, while it’s perfectly common and normal to hear the phrase un monde parfait, you might also hear un monde idéal.

But on the other hand, if you’ve just eaten a perfect croissant that someone made for you, you’d say it’s parfait, not idéal, since it’s a concrete, real croissant. You could use idéal if you were to talk about croissants in an abstract way, for instance: Un croissant est le petit-déjeuner idéal.

Remember that since idéal is an adjective, it has to agree in gender and number with the word(s) it’s modifying.

Examples:

Ça serait l’endroit idéal pour nos vacances ! (This would be the perfect (ideal) place for our vacation!)

C’est le produit idéal pour ranger vos chaussures. (This is the perfect product for organizing your shoes.)

The exaggerated “perfect”: sublime

Like its English cognate, sublime suggests the idea of perfection. But also like its English equivalent, there’s a connection with the idea of the divine. That’s why this word is often used to mean “perfect” in a slightly exaggerated way. You’ll usually hear it used in everyday language or in advertising or fashion magazines and the like, as well as poetry.

Examples:

Elle portait une robe sublime ! (The dress she was wearing was sublime.)

Leurs quiches sont sublimes. (Their quiches are sublime.)

Il est sublime. (He’s sublime/gorgeous.)

J’entendais une musique sublime. (I heard heavenly/sublime music.)

The nothing better “perfect”: sans pareil

Sans pareil literally translates to “without same” – in other words, someone or something that can’t be compared to anyone or anything else – and thus, perfect.

Although you can hear it in everyday and informal situations, sans pareil is most commonly used in literature and the press, and formal situations.

When it comes to agreeing sans pareil with the word(s) it modifies, reputable French sources like le dictionnaire Larousse say that while agreement is common, it’s also acceptable to always keep it sans pareil.  

Examples:

La voix d’Édith Piaf est sans pareil. (Edith Piaf’s voice is perfect/incomparable.)

C’est un assassin sans pareil. (He’s a perfect assassin.)

Pour moi, Paris est d’une beauté sans pareil. (For me, Paris’s beauty is incomparable.)

The flawless “perfect”: impeccable

As in English, impeccable means “flawless”. This word is often cited as a synonym for parfait in French.

Since it’s an adjective, it has to agree in gender and number with the word(s) it’s modifying. But since it ends with an “e” the good news is you don’t have to change it for a singular feminine subject!

Like parfait, you can use impeccable in a sentence or as a standalone word in informal language

Impeccable is a bit of a formal word in English, but it’s somewhat common in everyday informal language in French. If you want to get really casual with it, see the next entry on our list.

Examples:

Son travail est impeccable. (Her work is impeccable/She does perfect work.)

Ses vêtements sont toujours impeccables. (He’s always impeccably dressed.)

– Comment se sont passées tes vacances ? – Impeccables. (“How was your vacation?” “Perfect.”)

The informal flawless “perfect”: impec

Impec (which is sometimes written as impecc’ or impecc) is a short form of impeccable or its adverb form, impeccablement. It’s been around since at least the 1960’s, but like many French slang words, despite its age, it’s still very informal and very frequently used by young people and hip-hop culture today.

Like its more formal parent, impeccable, you can use impec as a standalone word or as part of a sentence.

As is the case with a number of French slang terms, you don’t have to agree impec with the gender of the word(s) it modifies. It’s often invariable with plural words, as well, although to be on the safe side, you may want to add an “s” when using it with plural words.

Examples:

Il portait des baskets impecs. (He was wearing perfect shoes.)

Si, si, cet ordi marche impec. (No, no, this computer works perfectly.)

– Elle a bien joué? – Impec. (“She played well?” “Perfectly.”)

The no mistakes “perfect”: sans faute

If you want to talk about someone doing something perfectly, especially an activity like a sport or school assignment, sans faute could be the perfect choice.

It means “without fault”,“flawless”, “without a single mistake”.

Examples:

Il a passé son examen sans faute. (He got a perfect score on her test.)

Elle a fait un parcours sans faute. (She completed the course perfectly.)

C’était une performance sans faute. (It was a perfect performance.)

You may also see sans faute used as a noun, to mean a flawless action. For instance:

La prestation de la jeune gymnaste était un sans faute. (The young gymnast’s routine was perfect.)

C’était un sans faute. (It was perfect/went perfectly.)

You can sometimes see this word hyphenated: sans-faute. 

Note that, depending on context, sans faute can also mean “without fail” (for certain).

The cool “perfect”: nickel

Short for nickel chrome (pronunciation), a less common phrase that you might also come across, nickel is a very common way to say “perfect” in French slang.

Although it’s slang, it’s been around for a long time, so people of most ages will probably understand it, even though you should only use it in informal situations.

Like the shiny metal finish that inspired it, nickel implies flawless perfection. That means that it often suggests not only, say, something that looks perfect, but that’s also shiny and clean. Saying someone s’habille nickel implies that they are dressed fashionably and also neatly and look clean. Sometimes, when describing someone who’s very neat and clean or a room or object that’s notably clean as well as nicely organized and nice looking, etc, you might even hear the phrase nickel propre.

Like many French slang words, nickel never changes to agree with the word(s) it modifies.

And like its proper cousin, parfait, nickel can be used to refer to just about anything, from a concrete idea, to making plans, to something more abstract.

Examples:

– Que penses-tu de ma nouvelle moto? – Elle est nickel. (“What do you think of my new motorcycle?” “It’s perfect.”)

– On se voit à 17h? – Nickel. (“See you at 5?” “Cool.”)

Notre chambre d’hôtel était nickel. (Our hotel room was perfect and spotlessly clean.)

Words related to parfait

Close up of a person wearing an apron and dribbling sauce over a meat dish in a pan
Je vais me perfectionner en cuisine.

There are a number of non-adjective words related to parfait in French. These include:

the verbs parfaire and perfectionner

Parfaire and perfectionner  both mean “to perfect.” While there are some subtle differences between the two, most French people I know consider them to be synonyms.

Parfaire is a bit old-fashioned and not as common as perfectionner. So, when in doubt, perfectionner is probably the best one to use.

You can find the conjugation of parfaire here, and here is the conjugation of perfectionner.

Examples:

Il perfectionne son robot. (He’s perfecting/improving his robot.)

Il a parfait son français. Maintenant il le parle couramment et avec aise. (He’s perfected his French. Now he speaks fluently and with ease.)

Perfectionner is also often used as a reflexive verb.

Example:

Je vais me perfectionner en cuisine.  (I’m going to hone/perfect my cooking skills.)

the word perfectionniste 

As a noun, un/une perfectionniste means “a perfectionist”, and as an adjective it means “someone who is a perfectionist.”

Examples:

Ma mère n’est pas seulement exigeante; elle est perfectionniste. (My mother isn’t just demanding; she’s a perfectionist.)

Les perfectionnistes ont souvent du mal à commencer une tâche, car ils ont peur d’échouer. (Perfectionists often have trouble getting started on a task because they afraid of failing.)

the adverb parfaitement

Parfaitement means “perfectly”, which, as in English, can either mean “flawlessly” or “absolutely”.

Examples:

Il l’a dessiné parfaitement. (He drew it perfectly/He made a perfect drawing of it.)

Le message est parfaitement clair. (The message is perfectly clear.)

You can use this link to find more words related to parfait.

Where can I find other words that mean “perfect” in French?

A beautiful mountain landscape at sunset, with a woman's hand in the foreground giving an arguably necessary thumbs up

There are lots of French words that mean something/someone is extraordinary. One of the most challenging things about writing this list was having to choose which of these were closest in meaning to “perfect” (flawless, absolute),  not just “good” or “great”, or “the best”.

If you’re not perfectly satisfied with the choices here, you can find some other French words that come close to “perfect” on this list from Larousse or by doing an internet search for “synonymes de parfait”.


If you were looking for ways to say “perfect” in French, I hope this article was the perfect resource! Do you have a favorite way to say “perfect” in French? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has lived in Paris, France, for more than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, most notably as an assistante de langue vivante for L'Education Nationale. She recently published her first novel, Hearts at Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that takes place during the 1870 Siege of Paris. You can read about her adventures here, or feel free to stop by her website.

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  1. Actually ‘sublime’ doesn’t strictly mean ‘perfect’, it’s meaning has degenrated through sloppy andthe by ill -informed use over the past couple of decades (particularly by sports’ journalists).

    Originally (in Roman times, it referred to an oratorial / rhetorical style whereby the speaker sought to convince his audience (it was a ‘man thing’) by repeating an argument in an increasingly powerful way.

    ‘The sublime’ reappeared in C18th English aesthetics, where it became a category of aesthetic experience that was contrasted with the experience of beauty. (Edmund Burke and later Immanuel Kant)

    Put simply, it referred to the sensation experienced when unexpectedly encountering a vast natural phenomenon such as a waterfall or a (the latter experienced from the safety of the land) and after a moment of shock and incomprehension, one could take pleasure in the sensation. The modern English slang term ‘gob smacked’ is a pretty apt description,.

    Now it just means ‘unusually good’, which to me at least seems a tad pathetic It’s the degeneration of language through the journalistic search for new superlatives.

    Rant over!

    Reply

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