The last post gave an introduction to French swears as we use them on this side of the Atlantic.
This post and the next few posts will give you concrete examples. These lists are not exhaustive, and they generally do not include swear words from Europe.
WARNING: These next few posts are not suitable for minors. They contain quite explicit vocabulary. I have received a couple of emails with questions regarding French swear words, so I decided to present them in an objective format, considering there is not much comprehensive information out there – especially for language learners.
We hear these swear words all the time (sometimes even on television and the radio), and they often confuse language learners. Thus, this resource may be useful to elementary and intermediate-level language learners (after all, I’m not writing these posts for the sake of being “vulgar”).
When developing language skills, it must be a very confusing experience for elementary (and even intermediate) learners because they would have not learned these words in school. Yet, when curse words are encountered in the street, learners may incorrectly believe their French skills are failing them for not understanding what is being said. But if learners are at least able to identify these words as swears, they can then forgive themselves for not understanding, and simply move on. (Note: Language learners will encounter Québec and Canadian French swears far more often than European French swears, and they are used more often and more liberally than English swears).
European (France, Belgium, Swiss) swear words are also used on this side of the ocean. The most common being:
- Merde (Shit)
- Vas te faire foutre (F-off)
- Trou de cul (A. Hole)
- Vas chier (screw off)
- Ça fait chier (piss me off)
- Mange la merde (F-you)
- Putain (whore)
But there are some European swears which we do not generally say on this side of the ocean. Some which we do not generally use are:
- Casse toi! (Piss off, F-off)
- Chatte (vagina… rarely said – in Canada we generally say “noune”)
- Encule (F-off)
- Fils de pute (Son of a bitch… however “pute” can sometimes be heard by itself)
- Fils de salope (Son of a bitch… however “salope” can sometimes be heard by itself)
- Zut (darn)… This one makes me laugh because it is taught in so many FSL classes around the world, but is never ever said in Canada. We’d be more apt to simply say “Merde” or something like “Crîme” in Canada/Québec.
- Gros cul (fat ass)
NOTE 1: In the examples below, it is difficult to give an exact translation for every word. I’ve therefore given the closest approximates with respect to their degree of impact. That is why I list more than one English equivalent after most words.
NOTE 2: Underneath the main words, I also list the “toned-down / softened” versions of the words. These are versions of the main swear word which are considered to be milder, and more acceptable to a wider audience. In English, the equivalent might be the transformation of “F&@#” to “Fudge”, “Hell” to “Heck” or “Damn” to “Darn” (the latter words which could be acceptable, even on television).
THE LIST A – CH
Acré gué – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!
Argya – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!
Balls – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!
Baptême – Jesus Christ!, God damn it!, Christ!
Barabbas – Christ
Bâtard – Bastard
Bondance – For crying out lout!, Christ!
Bonyeu – (short “Bon dieu”) Holy crap!, Holy Shit!, Shit!, Damn!
Bout de crime (sometimes said Bout crime) – Christ!, God damn it!
Bout de crisse – Christ!, God damn it!
Bout de Bon Dieu – Christ!, God damn it!
Bout de calvaire – Christ!, God damn it!
Bout de sacre – Christ!, God damn it!
CÂLICE – For F***s sake!, Jesus f***ing christ! (quite strong).
AVOID THIS in general conversation. But it is quite acceptable to say one of the words below, with the most common being “Câline”. Just to give you an idea, I don’t even say câlice (and often you’ll see it blanked out in texts: C******). But I will say “Câline”, or even “Câll”.
- Câline de binne
Calvaire – Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Oh Christ!
Chette – Shit
Chrisse qui pisse – Piss me off!, Damn it all to hell!, For Christ’s sake!, What the hell!
Christ – Christ!, Jesus Christ!, God damn it!, Shit!
The next posts will continue with more lists.
Restes-là câline!! 😉
SERIES: QUÉBEC AND CANADIAN FRENCH SWEAR WORDS (6 POSTS)
- Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Introduction to swear words – Part 1 (#239)
- Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears A to CH – Part 2 (#240)
- Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears CI to J – Part 3 (#241)
- Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears M to SAC – Part 4 (#242)
- Gettin’ down ‘n vulgar! – Swears SAI to V – Part 5 (#243)
- Gettin’ vulgar! This ain’t no picture book for the kiddies! – Part 6 (#244)