10 Phrases You Won’t Learn in French Class


by Emily C. Sims

The French are really very gifted at the insult. The fun part is that even though you’re saying something horrifically dirty, it still sounds elegant. Your French teacher definitely never taught you any of these. Use these phrases with caution! Please note that there are a variety of ways to say ‘fuck’ in French, so you’ll see a few different words in the list below. (If you want dirty Spanish phrases, we’ve got those, too!)

1. ça me fait chier!

Literal translation: That makes me shit.
Practical use:
Use it to say ‘that pisses me off,’ though keep in mind that this is much more vulgar to say in French than in English.

2. Va te faire foutre, trouduc!

Literal translation: Go yourself do fuck, asshole.
Practical Use
: This is pretty much the same as ‘fuck off, asshole’ or ‘go fuck yourself.’ It’s very useful in many contexts, especially when someone is relentlessly bothering you.

3. Je m’en fou

Literal translation: I fuck myself some.
Practical use:
Use it like you would use ‘I don’t give a fuck.’

4. Nique ta mere!

Literal translation: Fuck your mother.
Practical use
: Use with extreme caution! This phrase is exceptionally vulgar and will definitely incite a reaction in the person you say it to.

5. Casse-toi!

Literal translation: Break yourself
Practical use:
It essentially means ‘fuck off.’  It’s very rude to say, and I’d use it when a guy or girl is hitting on you in a bar and just won’t give up. The French president said this once to someone who refused to shake his hand, and it fired up a shit storm.

6. C’est des conneries

Literal translation: This is some fucking around.
Practical use:
Use as you would say “This is bullshit!”, such as when someone screws you over.

7. Enculer une mouche

Literal translation: go fuck a fly
Practical use:
Use this when you really want someone to leave you alone. You’re basically telling them to fuck off.

8. Sale pute

Literal translation: Dirty whore
Practical use
: Say it if you want to start a girl fight.

9. je bande pour toi

Literal translation: I’m hard for you.
Practical use:
You can say it if you’re trying to, er, woo a woman, but I’m guessing she won’t be too impressed, though.

10. lui carrer dans l’oignon

Literal translation: shove an onion in his/her ass.
Practical use
:  Use it as you would say ‘Shove it up your ass.’

What’s your favorite French slang or dirty phrase? Share your knowledge in the comments below!

(And don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in Spanish, too… click here to read 10 Phrases You Won’t Learn in Spanish Class.)

Emily looks for the best in travel writing to feature on Travelated. She is an ex-teacher, ex-obituary writer, and ex-yuppie. In her free time, she volunteers for Wings of Hope and is a writer and amateur photographer. Emily has lived all over the United States and France. She currently resides in Las Vegas.



24 Comments

  1. Perfide Albion says:

    *Encule une mouche, “enculer” is the infinitive and it would therefore make no sense. Not that I have ever heard anyone say that in France, despite having lived there for 20 years. And another mistake in “lui carrer dans l’oignon” => “LA lui carrer dans l’oignon”, else it doesn’t convey any real meaning.

    • Angel says:

      Actually, “Enculer une mouche” only means one thing: “to split hairs”, i.e. to really look for unrealistic details or to interpret things in such a way that it is patently unrealistic. Only, the French phrase, while fairly colloquial among friends, is considered vulgar, therefore inappropriate.

  2. david says:

    let’s just say that if you use words like those, you will be punched.
    a little correction : ‘je m’en fous’ , with an s at the end.
    From Paris with Love …

    • Angel says:

      Here also, “je m’en fous” means only one thing: “I don’t care” or “I don’t give a damn”. That’s very colloquial and quite common in everyday conversations. If you listen carefully to French-speaking people having a conversation, it is bound to pop up at one point or another. Since the French have a tendency to speak very fast and to ignore clear pronunciation, it’ll come off as “j’men fous”.

  3. david says:

    and if you want to listen to french insults, look for ‘lambert wilson’ in ‘the matrix reloaded’. I does a nice demonstration. (and he’s french despite of his name)

  4. david says:

    sorry. HE does

  5. david says:

    and our great president added ‘pauv’ con’
    ‘casse toi, pauv’ con’
    so classy
    (he’s not my president)

  6. Katherina says:

    haha hilarious! Should come up with some of this to work, next time someone comes asking for something I don’t give a sh*t about!

  7. Jesse says:

    I now know how to hail a cab in Quebec!

  8. Stephen says:

    “Enculer une mouche” is wrong; It’s “enculer DES moucheS” (plural). The meaning given is also wrong; It loosely tranlates as “nit-picking”, or paying too much attention to irrelevant details…

  9. Tralala says:

    1) Enculer une mouche isn’t really used as an insult to somebody. The meaning is more about someone looking for any little insignificant details to prove he’s right.

    2) Lui carrer dans l’oignon: oignon is used in the meaning of asshole. The expression means to trick someone.

    3) The last level of insult in french before fight is ” fils de pute “, litteraly meaning you’re the son of a whore. If you use it, expect a violent
    reaction.

    • 0_0 Yow! says:

      Wow….guess if I stumble or something and say “Ugh! I feel stupid!” I better be ready to run if it’s interpreted the wrong way. :)

  10. Tralala says:

    @ Jesse. Quebecers have their own expressions, completely different.

  11. L.E. says:

    Actually, my French teacher has taught the class “je m’en fous” and a couple other phrases, though most of them are lesser insults. Most of the time he’s just making sure we don’t pronounce certain words incorrectly and offend someone but sometimes he just teaches them to us for fun or because he thinks they’re fairly useful to quickly express ourselves when angered. (I’m taking third year French in high school by the way.)

  12. viaherlette says:

    #3 — Je m’en fous has an “s” at the end.
    #7 — It is not used as an insult but about paying too much attention into details.

  13. Phil says:

    they are mostly french expression

    je m’en fous is use in/at Québec

    but mostly don’t use it, people will laugh at you

    we have “va chier” (use it like : go fuck yourself)

    and for US citizen you can use your expression

    so you can use fuck and every one will understand you

  14. Ozone says:

    “Enculer une mouche” doesn’t exist in French… The right terme is “Enculer les mouches”, and it’s a term used to tell somehow he’s being picky about something. For exemple “Compter les votes 5 fois pour être sûr, c’est enculer les mouches !” (Count the votes five times to be sure, it’s being picky)

  15. It was nice experience to go through your article . I’ve been studying French for 4 years and one of my favorite reference materials is the English to French Translation dictionary. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  16. Shane says:

    You probably already put it somewhere…but one of my favorites is “bordel de merde” (of course I’m not sure if it’s used in Québec) or adding “putain de” in front of something.
    For instance saying “Putain de bordel de merde!” Yet…be careful using these! I think they’re nice to know just so you know what people are talking about (or whether you’re being insulted), yet I personally would never use these as a non-native speaker.

  17. Guillaume says:

    In my town, everybody speaks english, so it is ok to say ‘fuck you’ ‘fuck off’ ‘go fuck yourself’ because I think all in France know what fuck means :)

  18. Blake Dobrowolski says:

    When visiting France (it has been a long while), I suggest that all try to put truth into the following expression: <>.

  19. Gene says:

    “J’en ai rien à foutre!”
    It’s a vulgar way of saying ” I don’t care” as in
    “I couldn’t give a toss” or “a shite”
    but I love that expression.

  20. Cicero Ril says:

    Res Ipsa Loquitur -the facts speak for themselves!

  21. marie says:

    some of the translation are too literal for example casse-toi … is get out of here… not break yourself.

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