Top 10 French Words to Avoid

Here is the best kept secret of ALL French teachers abroad. Swearing words. Of course, this is the perfect time to send you children away so they don’t learn them faster than you do. 

Warning: I know you might like to use these words to sound « more French » than you already do. Don’t. I’m offering them to you so you are able to spot them, understand them, avoid shameful « faux-pas ».

When I hear foreigners using swearing words in French, it always makes me jump on my seat. It sounds more rude, more weird and more annoying than « authentic ». So, learn them, avoid them.

Here are my top 10:


It means « sh*t ». It is used a lot.


It means « f*ck ». It is used a lot.


It means « sh*t ». It is used in « fais chier ».


It means « f*ck ». But a « bordel » is a brothel. Some people use it for « a mess ». I do.

>click here for the other 6

6 Responses to “Top 10 French Words to Avoid”

  1. Comment by martin | 06/23/12 at 5:22 pm

    It’s too bad that we, students of French as a second language, can’t use these wonderful words. Another of many limitations placed on us. But I do get your point. It’s a useless attempt at authenticity that can only fall flat. Also, there are class, age and gender considerations with these words that are most likely too subtle for a foreigner to gauge correctly. Still, it doesn’t seem fair somehow because when French people swear in English it sounds so damn cute.

  2. Comment by Gerard | 06/25/12 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve never attempted “Frenchifying” expletives but for someone like me who’s thinking of learning French, this is quite a lesson already. Will there be any chance that it’s going to be “okay” for non-native speaker is allowed to say these words?

  3. Comment by nath | 06/26/12 at 7:53 am

    hmmmm, if I may …. salop does not exist as is, it is spelt salaud though the “female” equivalent is salope :-)

  4. Comment by Valérie | 06/27/12 at 7:39 pm

    You make me smile :-)
    You can say these words, but be careful of whom is listening to you.
    Some of these words are now very common, like “Putain” or “Ca fait chier” and of course “Merde”.

  5. Comment by Juliette | 04/12/13 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for this article 😀 I’m French and it’s interresting to see how our swear words are seen by foreigners ! 😉
    Here is my little contribution: “putin” also means prostitute :)
    Long life to your blog ;D

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