WARNING: These few posts are not suitable for minors. They contain quite explicit vocabulary.
This post gives the remaining list of common French swear words you’ll likely encounter in Québec and elsewhere in Canada.
At this point I’d like to share a little anecdote. I wish to provide you with yet one more reason why it is important to understand the nature of these words and to be able to recognize them (and use them properly, or avoid using them altogether).
My university was a Francophone university in Edmonton (Le Campus St-Jean, which operates as its own university, although it was affiliated with the U of A). A portion of the student body was made up of Anglophones, in addition to the pan-Canadian and international Francophone student body.
In our demographics course we were given a large research assignment which took a year to complete. It was a killer of an assignment, and everyone worked themselves into the ground. D-Day came, and the professor handed back our assignment grade results one-by-one.
One Anglophone student in our class had a fairly good level of French (good enough to do her university studies 100% in French), but she had some difficulties with informal spoken French (she spoke literary French, since that is the French she learned in school). I recall she was afraid she was going to fail the assignment. But when she received her paper back with an “A”, she yelled out (in French) to the professor “F*** me!! I got an “A”! I didn’t see that coming!” (Mon câlisse de sacrement! J’ai poigné un A!! J’en reviens pas!!!)
OOOOOPS!!!! I don’t think that’s what she meant to say. I think she wanted to use a word which meant “WOW!” or something like that — but that’s not how it came out. She basically mixed up the swear words and chose the wrong ones. Thank goodness she already received her grade (The professor looked less than impressed after he got over his initial look of shock).
Moral of the story: Just because you hear other people say words which add “emphasis” on a regular basis, do not attempt them yourself unless you truly know what they mean. In other words, become familiar with the list of words I’m providing to you before you attempt to use any of them yourself. 🙂
A short reminder before we get back into it…
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 FINAL LIST: SAI to V (the end)
Saint bénisse – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint Christ – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint Christ – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint ciboire – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint ciboire aux deux étages – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint esprit – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint hostie – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint PKP – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint sacrament – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint sacrifice – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint sacripant – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint sicrisse – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint sicroche – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saint tabarnac – Christ almighty! Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Sainte – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Sainte viarge – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Saintosti – Christ almighty!, Christ!, Jesus Christ!
Salament – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Saprement – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Shit – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Simonac – Son of a gun!, Shit!, Damn!
This one is quite common (perhaps in the top 10). You will even hear it on the radio.
TABARNAK – The King of all swear words.
This is the WORST and STRONGEST swear word you can possibly say in Québec and Canada – period.
I would even venture to say it’s stronger than the English F-word.
It is best to avoid this word altogether unless you break your toe, your dog gets ran over, you accidentally shoot your best friend in a hunting accident, or you accidentally fall down a man-hole when walking down the street.
Personally, (and contrary to what you might be thinking) I don’t swear very much, but I will pitch some of the milder swears from time-to-time… And all-in-all, it does not bother me much when others occasionally swear (we’re all human after all). Nor does it bother me when I hear this word in mild moderation. But there are those individuals out there who seem to chose to insert this word between every third word from their mouth (you know the type… there are also these types of people in English who drop the F-bomb five times in every sentence – sentence after sentence).
Saying this word in excess will just make you look like the dumbest of idiots. If you want to be labelled a crass, uncouth and uncivilized hick, by all means feel free to use this word. But be prepared to suffer the consequences and be judged by those around you.
My recommendation: Use some of the “softer” versions of the word below. Some are completely unoffensive, and are regularly heard on the radio, TV, by politicians, and yes, even Celine Dion has been heard to say them in public with a smile. The most common one is “Tabarwatte“. The next most common “softened” version is “Tabernouche“.
Tabarnak aux deux étages – “F*** it all to hell!” STRONG, AVOID if at all possible.
Tabarnak percé – “For F***’s sake”, “F*** it!”. STRONG, AVOID if possible
Torvice – Shit!, Damn it!, God damn it!, Piss!
Trou de cul – Ass hole.
Exact same meaning, emphasis and poignancy as it’s English counterpart.
- Trou de PQ
Vas te crosser avec une poignée de clous – F*** off!
(litterally: go jack off with a handful of nails)
Vas te crosser avec une poignée de clous rouillés – F*** off!
(litterally: go jack off with a handful of rusty nails)
Vas te crosser avec une poignée de poignée de braquettes – F*** off!
(litterally: go jack off with a handful of gears)
Vas te faire chier – Screw off!
(litterally: “Go shit”, or “Go shit yourself!”)
Vas te faire – Screw off!
(litterally: Go do yourself!)
Viarge – God damn it!, For Christ’s sake!
Varlope – Son of a bitch!, Shit!, F***!
Verasse – Son of a bitch!, Shit!, Damn it!
Verrat – Son of a bitch!, Shit!, Damn it!
Viande à chien – Piece of shit
- Tas de merde
- Tas de marde
—– —– —– —– —– —– —–
That wraps up the vocabulary list. Hopefully it will help you to navigate swear words in oral French which you are likely to encounter when listening to people on the street.
I have one last post for you in this series… a “picture-post” if you will. See you soon!
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)