Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thursday Say What: Insults part I, saying S#%@ in another language always makes you feel better, non?

I'm all about the repeat offenders this week. Monday Mood-Lifters is followed by, Thursday Say What! If you're a darling and read regularly, you know that I enjoy the occasional swear word. By occasional, I of course mean, every three words.

Since I am a bit of a specialist, I've decided that my very first "Thursday Say What:" should be dedicated to the art of foul-mouth-ed-ness. (Shocker, I know.)

Here are some of my very FAVORITE swear words, pronunciation, and times when they're appropriate to use. I even threw in a prudish alternative for those moments when you want to say something that won't make the object of your colorful description want to face-plant your dirty mouth into the wall.

Please note the following situations when it is NOT appropriate to say ANY of these phrases, I know from personal experience:
- in church, or with a priest/nun
- when talking about a baby
- chatting with your mother-in-law
- while on an international conference call
- in the middle of a public street surrounded by children

BONUS WARNING: These phrases are not for the timid, so don't use them lightly or in any kind of a formal situation. I'm getting hard core on your asses, so believe me when I tell you that it would be very bad to repeat these things unless you're sure of the surrounding company's level of comfort with your profanity. Choose your swearing moments wisely, or suffer the consequences!

I've included the phonetic translation in brackets for you French nerds out there, and for the rest of y'all, the English pronunciation in parenthesis.

1) Oh putain.
[o  py tɛ]
(oh pew-taih)
Literal Definition: oh the whore.
Meaning: Fuck or Shit (basically.)
Prudish Alternatives: "punaise" [py nɛz](pew-nez)

This is by far my favie. There has rarely been a time in my life when something bad has happened, (like walking in caca, or dealing with language and cultural barriers), when I've not wanted to say "Ohhhhh Putaaaaaiiiin". It's my go-to, and I highly recommend.

2) Enculé de merde de sa race.
Pronunciation: [œ ky le  də  merd  də  sa ras ]  (ahn kew lay de mare de sah rahss)
Literal Definition: stuffed with the poop of his race
Meaning: Fucking Asshole
Prudish Alternatives: En foiré  [œ fwa re] (ahn fwar ay)

This little bute is a combo of several insults. I yank this one out of my hat when I'm REEEEEEALLY mad. You don't want to hear me say this to you. It generally means I'm about to hand your ass to you in pieces. Best to say this to someone who you're fairly sure is not going to try to beat the s#@% out of you.

3) Connard (m) / Connasse (f)
Pronunciation: [kɔ naʁ] (koh nar) / [kɔ nas] (koh nahsse)
Literal Definition: Imbecility (fyi: root meaning is actually c@%#, how's that for history!)
Meaning: Bastard
Prudish Alternatives: abruti [a bry ti] (a broo tee), couillon [cuj ɔ] (kwee oh), petit con [pti coɔ] (peh ti coh)

You got your classic insult here. If someone's being a jerk and you want to give the verbal equivalent of kicking them in the balls... this is your swear. Can also be preceded with "Espèce de" (translation: speices of, pronounced [ɛ spɛ sdə] (eh speh sdeh)) for added effect.

4) Saloperie
Pronunciation: [sa lo pri] (sa lo pree)
Literal Definition: Bitchery
Meaning: Son of a bitch
Prudish Alternatives: salté [sal te] (sahl tay)

This is a good one for describing things. Things that are shit. That "saloperie" of a project. That "saloperie" of a raise. I'm used to employing this one... maybe a bit too used to it. It helps.

5) Bordel de merde
Pronunciation: [bɔʁ dɛl də merd] (bor del deh mayrd)
Literal Definition: Messy of shit.
Meaning: Total fucking shit
Prudish Alternatives: crotte [krot] (krot), proute [prut] (proot), zut [zut] (zoot)

An oldie, but a goodie. "Bordel de merde" is what you say when you drop a crystal glass. It's what you say when you walk in human excrement. This one, can help you survive many a catastrophe. If you're anything like me, the occasional swear word is a release, it gets the anger out of you before you let it out on someone.

So next time your plane is delayed, or your luggage lost -- you'll know what to say! Still, I hope you won't need to use these :)

Expats... share your favorites below? I had fun discussing this with my colleagues at lunch and I'm sure you've got some good ones!


  1. Sorry the colors are all messed -- saloperie de blogger. Will fix tonight.

  2. I like "Va te faire foutre" but I've (unfortunately? luckily?) never gotten a chance to use it. It's just sitting there on the tip of my tongue, waiting for a good fight.

  3. signes indubitables d'intégration... Putain is really a must and what's also interesting are the local differences ("oh putaing cong" in Toulouse, ...). Some seem to disappear, like "putain de dieu" or "nom de dieu" or "nom de Zeus". My parents used them a lot (when they thought I couldn't hear).
    Sorry I'm not an expat!

  4. This is great!! I probably won't use these for quite a time as I can't really even conjugate a verb in French. Swearing like this is linguistic graduate school. I'm still a Kindergartener and have not earned the right nor have the sense to use any of these...

    I find that if I need to swear here in Paris, I just say "fuck" anyways. It's pretty much an international swear word by now, huh. Like the guy who was obviously swearing at me about not giving him money when I was walking on the rue de Crimée not long ago. I just used "fuckin' this, and fuckin' that" at him and it made me feel better, anyways. Asshole.

    BTW, I love the character Debra on "Dexter." She swears like a motherfucker, and it is great. If you have not watched that show yet, you should.

    Ohhhh, hang on, though. I remember one I have learned. Paul and a friend of his taught me an expression I liked a lot, just after I first got here: "Je ne rien à foutre." Lit: "I don't give a jizz/jack off/sperm load." Meaning: I don't give a fuck.

    I love the imagery of that one, lol. Like it's a waste of sperm, a waste of life. Heh!

  5. To add to the list of "Some seem to disappear" from another not expat, there are : Bigre, Fichtre, Foutre, Sacrebleu, Saperlipopette, Scrogneugneu, Sacrebleu, Morbleu, diantre, Tonerre de brest, cornegidouilles, Nom d'une pipe ... and so much others


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