In this blog post, you will learn some impressive French curse words.
French curse words
As you may be aware, French is a pretty sweary language. But do you know the difference between words that are just slightly rude and those that could get you into serious trouble?
If not, keep reading to learn everything, from what will prompt someone to curse at you in French to how cursing in French differs from swearing or cursing. Keep reading for more!
What do French people curse about?
French people curse for various reasons, but the main ones are frustration, anger, and surprise. Sometimes people curse when they’re bored, but usually, it’s because something unexpected happened that frustrated them.
For example, if someone cuts you off on the highway because you were on their mind, you’ll curse at that person. Or if your phone battery dies in the middle of an important conversation, you’ll curse at your phone too.
How to swear in French: the basics
The French swear word for everything! They swear about the weather (trop de beau temps), about the food (trop de pommes!), about the people around them (tous des cons!), and even about the country they live in (le pays, mais quel pays!).
You name it, the French swear about it. And there are so many ways to swear. You can curse in any voice inflection, silently or even with your eyes!
Don’t ever say…
Don’t ever swear at a person, especially not a child. Swearing at someone will make you seem like an idiot, and someone who is an idiot in French will surely make you look even worse.
Don’t swear in French in front of a French person. It’s important to remember!
If you swear in French in front of one of your French friends, they might think you’re not very good at the language, and you might not be as popular with your friends either because you might be a bad influence.
Bonus track: how to curse in French
Whether you’d like to know how to curse in French, or you’re just curious, here are some things you’ll learn while researching French curses:
- Which words should you avoid when you’re swearing
- What kinds of things will get you to curse in French
- How to curse in French: from pronunciation to gestures to body language
- Are there any exceptions to cursing?
French cursing is more direct and less euphemistic than its English cousin. However, this can be a double-edged sword when it comes to deciphering what the heck your Frenchman is saying to you.
To make life easier, here is a list of some of the most useful French swear words that translated roughly mean ‘crap’ or ‘dung’. If you want to learn more about the French language and culture, try reading one of these great books!
The French word aïe is usually a swear word, like “Oh my God”. It translates as “Oh!” which is where the “e” comes from. This is a common French expression and can be used in almost any context.
You might hear people say “Oh!” when you accidentally bump into them or something surprising happens (like finding out that your favorite singer is coming to your town). A common usage of “aïe” is as a kind of interjection or exclamation.
For example, someone might say, “Oh! You didn’t tell me about that”. Or “Oh! It’s raining again”.
The French word merde is very similar in meaning to “dung”. It translates as “shit”, but it usually only gets used as an expletive by angry people.
For example, a disgruntled driver might shout “merde!” when an unlucky pedestrian gets in their way or when a traffic light turns red while trying to cross the road.
In fact, “merde” is so commonly used as an expletive in France that it even has its colloquial expression – “ça merd” which means “that shits” or “what a shitshow”.
Zut is a swear word that means “bother” or “botheration”. It is similar to the English words “tut” and “bloody”. It is a very short and informal swear word, usually used as an interjection, between thoughts, or as an exclamation.
For example, someone might say, “Oh, zut!” when they are frustrated that they did not have time to finish what they were doing. Or they might say, “Zut! What’s happened to my sandwich?” when they realize they have forgotten to eat lunch.
As a standalone word, “zut” is usually used in French when someone is trying to be cheeky or funny, which makes it a lot less offensive than other swear words.
For example, you might hear someone say, “Don’t be so zut!” when someone is being too serious.
Cochon is a swear word that means “shithead”. It is similar to the English words “asshole” and “bastard”. It is mostly used as an adjective but also as an exclamation.
For example, you might hear someone say, “Don’t be such a Cochon!” when someone is being too stubborn, or “I’m not a Cochon!” when someone demands something unreasonable.
The French word “bordel” is a swear word that means “asshole”, “damn”, “crap”, or “dung”. It is a very vulgar swear word, and the English equivalent is “ass”.
This is the word that French people use when they are really angry, and they do not want to say “merde”. For example, drivers might shout “merde! c’est bordel!” when frustrated with the traffic.
The French word you jerk is a swear word that means “you jerk”. It is a very common French swear word, and it is used in the same way as “you son of a bitch” in English.
For example, if you are arguing with someone, you might say, “you jerk! You never listen to me”. You can also say the word with disbelief or sarcasm, like “you jerk!” when someone else has done something embarrassing.
The French word “et pourtant” is a swear word that is similar to “yet” and “despite”. It translates as “and yet,” and is used as a grammar correction.
For example, if you say that something is “et pourtant facile” – which means “and yet it is easy” – it is like saying “it should be easy, but it’s not”. This is a very common swear word in French and is used in many different contexts.
For example, you might hear someone say “et pourtant, c’est facile” when they are complaining about something or “et pourtant, c’est beau” when they are pointing out that something is beautiful.
Cursing in French is a fun way to express yourself, especially when you’re frustrated or angry. But make sure you choose your words wisely and don’t use swear words if you want to keep your head high.
Swearing in French isn’t against any laws, and it’s just a bad habit that could make you look foolish. So if you want to curse in French, choose your words wisely!