French swear words, curse words and insults

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French swear words – turn away now if easily offended!

French swear wordsIt’s amazing how bad foreigners are at swearing in French. It’s an art. I’m not sure if you’ve seen that scene in Matrix 2 where Lambert Wilson starts swearing in French (click here Matrix reloaded Lambert Wilson – YouTube or see it below) and he says the same thing and he starts to swear wonderfully in French. It sounds elegant but it’s actually really vulgar words being used.

I do use French swear words but it means nothing to me as an English expat. I don’t have the same connection as I do with English swearing. I can get hurt by someone swearing at me in English. I can’t by someone swearing at me in French, it just doesn’t have the same effect. It would be more about the aggressive tone or meaning than the words themselves.

Anyway, it’s very, very hard to learn how to use French swear words and make it sound like you know what you’re talking about. Often, it sounds out of place. Annoyingly, the most flexible word in the English language, “fuck”, can’t be reproduced in French. The closest is “putain”, but you tend to put it at the beginning or the end of the sentence. So if you wanted to say “I’m so fucking tired”, in French you’d say “Putain, je suis crevé”.

In the table below, here are some words and sentences and their equivalents in English, but they’re not literal translations. They are things that all French people say, and is known as common language. Yes, the French swear, yes they can be very rude. It’s a beautiful language but they do have ugly words!

I’m sorry that it’s not for the faint of hearted, but if you’re here then you’re probably an adult anyway, and you need to understand what people are saying to you. Swearing is definitely an everyday occurrence! I’ve made a concession for the really bad word no one must mention (in English!).

FrenchEnglish
merdeshit
putainfuck
va te faire foutrefuck you
va te faire enculergo fuck yourself
branleurwanker
fils de puteson of a bitch
crétincretin
imbécilefool
t'as pas de couillesyou ain't got the balls
connardasshole
salopebitch/slut
connassec#!t
dégénéréinbred
tu me gonflesyou're pissing me off
tu me fatiguesyou're annoying me
dégage !piss off!
je m'en ficheI don't care
je m'en fouI don't give a shit
j'en ai rien à cirerI couldn't give a fuck
j'en ai plus rien à foutre I couldn't give a flying fuck
j'en ai marreI'm fed up
j'en ai ral le bol I'm really fed up
j'en ai ral le cul I'm so fucking fed up
t'es un salaud you're a bastard
ça schlingue! that stinks!
ça pue that smells bad
tais-toi be quiet
ta gueule shut up
ferme ta gueule shut the fuck up
t'es rien qu'un petit connard you really are an asshole
quel salaud ! what a bastard!
bordel de merde oh fuck
la vache oh crap
nom de Dieu/mon Dieu oh my god/my god

For my top 8 insults in French, click here.

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I am an British/English expat living in France. I've been here since 1997, I speak fluent French and I just love France! I blog with articles on living in France with tips on living here and learning French.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Basta does not mean that at all. It means that’s enough and is not a swear word. It is a word that is used a lot in the south of France

  2. Etant français et vivant en France, j’ai explosé de rire en lisant le papier. N’empêche qu’il y a un véritable recensement de toutes nos insultes les plus populaires et les plus utilisées au quotidien. Il y en a d’autres, mais c’est vrai que ça doit être difficile d’apprendre notre langue pour un anglophone (l’inverse est valable aussi, qu’est-ce qu’on est pas doué pour la langue anglaise), et apprendre des insultes de très haut niveau comme dans les dialogues de Michel Audiard. Bon courage pour la suite, Ryan ! Votre site, m’amuse beaucoup (le papier sur les mythes français m’ont bien amusé aussi) et bonne chance à tout ceux qui veulent apprendre notre langue. 😉
    Tony

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