WARNING: These few posts are not suitable for minors. They contain quite explicit vocabulary.
This is the 3rd post in a multi-post series on our French swear words. A couple of things to note…
There are people want to see this series — I have received a couple of emails with questions regarding French swear words. Thus I am presenting them in an objective format, considering there is not much comprehensive information out there – especially for language learners. It all constitutes an aspect of culture (albeit a bit more “twisted” aspect of culture). 😉
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”, or “Damn” to “Darn” (the latter words which could be acceptable, even on television).
THE LIST CI – J
Ciboire – Shit!, Piss!, Damn it!, God damn it!
This one is a bit interesting. It is said quite often, but it has a very “hick” tone to it. It’s certainly not the worst of the swears, but it’s perhaps a couple notches higher up the offensive scale than mere “mild”. That may be the reason we hear it often on the street, but not on television or the radio. Yet, some of the substitutes below can be heard on the radio and television (“cibole” is the most common softened substitute in all circumstances).
Cinclème – For crying out loud!, Christ!
Cré – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Cré maudit – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Cré tornon – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Criffe – Christ!, Cripes!, For Christ/Cripes sake!
Crime (also “Crim”) – Christ!, Cripes!, For Christ/Cripes sake!, Adds EMPHASIS
This one is said quite often. I would said its impact is closer to “Cripes” than it is to “Christ”. Therefore it is acceptable to use in general conversation, even with your boss. Now that I think of it, I say it quite a bit – perhaps more than any other “sacre”.
You’ll often hear it at the beginning of sentences to add a tad of extra punch to what is being said… it adds general EMPHASIS.
Here are some examples to let you see what I mean (don’t be afraid to use this one… it’s rather OK):
- “Crime! Il fait beau dehors!” (Wow, it’s a beautiful day today).
- “Crime! J’ai pas pensé à ça!” (Man! I didn’t think of that!).
- “Crime! Il conduit mal!” (Holy smokes! He’s a bad driver!).
- “Crime! Il a raté le but!” (Cripes! He missed the goal!)
- “Crime! Elle a faillit bercher une bonne!” (Whoa! She just about took a tumble!)
- “Crime! Qu’y sont sérieux” (Geez! They’re really serious!)
- “Crime!” (Whoa!), (Cripes!)
Crisse – Get the F*** out!, Don’t give a F****!, F***ing angry!, Shit!
When used on its own, it only means “Shit!”.
When used in other contexts, it needs to be inserted in a a sentence:
- Je m’en crisse (I don’t give a shit / F***!)
- Crisses-toi d’ici (Get the F*** out of here!)
- Ch’en crisse! (I’m pissed/angry!)
Crucifix – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Damn – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Enfant de chienne – Son of a bitch!, Shit!, F***!
Personally, I would avoid saying this. It sounds vulgar, likely because it is not as common as you would think (less common = it gets more attention when said). There are so many other words out there which can be used to express the imperative “Son of a bitch!” Generally speaking, any of the words which have the same impact as “Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!” also can be used if you wish to give the same impact as the imperative “Son of a bitch!”.
However, if you specifically wish to call someone a “son of a bitch”, then you could use this expression (in France & Europe they would say “fils de pute/putain”).
- Enfant de chishe
- Enfant de nanane
- Enfant de néanne
- Enfant de nénane
Esprit – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Étoile – Damn!, Cripes!
Eucharistie – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Fuck – Damn!, Damn it!, God damn it!
This word is quite interesting when said in French versus in English. It is not nearly as bad in French as in English.
You will even hear it said often enough on French-language radio. The CRTC (Canada’s federal government body which regulates what is and is not acceptable to say over the airwaves) does not consider “FUCK” to be a “bad word” when inserted in French sentences. Ironic, isn’t it? I surprisingly hear it on the radio.
Nonetheless, you may wish to be careful when you decide in which “region” to say it in Québec. It does not sound very nice when inserted in general French-language conversation in Montréal, simply because there is a higher concentration of Anglophones in Montréal versus other regions of Québec. Personally, I choose not to say it when speaking French, but it doesn’t bother me when others do (it’s all in the context).
HOSTIE – Jesus f’ing christ!, For F*** sake! Rather strong.
Try to avoid it in general conversation unless you are on very familiar terms with the person which whom you are speaking. Personally, I rarely even use the “softened-down” words below, unless I know the person very well, or unless the “softened” word is quite different from the original swear word (such as “stie”, or “Ostination”.
It’s just best to avoid it unless your French is at an advanced or native level (and best to only say among friends, close peers and family).
- Hostie au lard
- Hostie fee
- Hostination (this can also be a noun which means “Connerie” or “Crap” / “Rigamarole” in English… “Toute cette hostination”)
- Ostination (this can also be a noun which means “Connerie” or “Crap” / “Rigamarole” in English… “Toute cette ostination”)
Jésus-christ – Jesus Christ!, Christ!, God damn it!
- Jésus de plâtre
Joualvert – Cripes!, Damn it! (soft enough you’ll hear it on the radio).
—– —– —– —– —– —–
Crime! J’dirais que ça roule presque! Pas vrai? I’ll see you soon with continued posts in this mini-series on swears.
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)