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The Meaning Behind Dua Lipa’s “French Exit” Takes Ghosting To The Next Level

Dua Lipa has finally graced us with her third studio album Radical Optimism, and she’s teaching us French, y’all. Her new song, “French Exit” is all Dua fans are Googling right now. But what the heck does “French Exit” even mean?

“French Exit” is a phrase that means to leave a party without telling anyone or saying goodbye. It’s basically ghosting but in real life. It seems like Dua Lipa wants to apply this strategy to a relationship. In the song’s first verse, she sings, “I don’t wanna stay till the lights come on / I just can’t relate to the words of this love song.” Yep, Lipa is definitely not feeling the love in this one.

In the chorus, she sings, “It’s not a broken heart if I don’t break it / “Goodbye” doesn’t hurt if I don’t say it / And I really hope you’ll understand it / Only way to go is a French exit.” She then starts speaking literal French. The post-chorus verse repeats, “French exit / Filer à l’anglaise / French exit / C’est la seule solution.” What on Earth does that mean? Don’t worry, my single semester of French class and Google Translate are here to help. 

“Filer à l’anglaise” means “to dash.” Dua wanted to book it out of that relationship. “C’est la seule solution” means “it’s the only way.” Maybe it was too painful to say goodbye. BRB, crying. 

Some fans on X (formerly known as Twitter) are speculating that “French Exit” may be about Lipa’s ex Romain Gavras. The pair called it quits in December 2023; there’s no proof yet that he inspired the song. 

In a November 2023 TikTok interview with Rolling Stone, Dua Lipa explained the meaning behind her song “Houdini”, saying it was about “knowing your worth and knowing when it’s the right time to stay and also knowing when it’s a good time to leave.” 

I would say this explanation also embodies  “French Exit.” The song’s second verse lyrics, “Everybody’s still dancin’ / Everybody’s holdin’ hands and romancin’ / Someone’s gotta be the last one standin’ /And I hate that I’m leaving you stranded,” prove that. 

X users are showing their love for the track and creating hilarious “French Exit” memes left and right. 

Dua Lipa really popped off with Radical Optimism. I’m gonna pull a “French Exit” in one of my classes so I can listen to the song again in the bathroom stall. 

Zetta Whiting

Chapman '24

Zetta Whiting is a Her Campus intern who writes for the Style verticals of the site. She has published articles in the Voice of Orange County, ChapBook Magazine, and 60 Seconds Magazine, ranging from local government news to student life stories. Zetta had the opportunity to interview the authors of the Goddess Girls and Disney Fairies series for 60 Seconds Magazine, where she uncovered what it takes to be a successful children's book author. This spring, Zetta will be graduating from Chapman University with a BA in English journalism and a minor in dance. She plans to move to the East Coast and attend graduate school in the fall, studying publishing. In her free time, she enjoys reading young adult fantasy novels, taking dance classes, and listening to Beyoncé.