French Curse Words: The Ultimate Guide to Cursing in French🙊

In the video and guide below, I am going to teach you how to curse in French.

The French love to use any opportunity to curse.

My students are often surprised when watching French TV to hear so many curse words. This may be because, unlike in many other countries, in France many TV channels don’t censor obscene words.

As you can imagine, some French curse words and their translations are extremely vulgar. So a warning: this post is not for kids.🔞

My aim is to help you understand French curse words in case you come across them in daily life. I also aim to help you avoid embarrassing mistakes when attempting to swear in French by translating from English. I once heard a student of mine saying “ça suce” for “it sucks”. “Ça suce” means to perform fellatio.

Guide to French Curse Words & Phrases

To start learning, you can watch the video, or skip to the contents table below it if you prefer to read and go more in-depth.

This guide to French cursing is split into two sections: French curse words, and French curse phrases. For each, I’ll tell you the meaning and give a vulgarity rating. I’ll also give examples as well as provide some background and the literal meanings.

List of French curse words:

Single-word curse words in French:

French curse phrases:

Mince (mahns)

Meaning: Damn.

Vulgarity rating: 1/10

Be careful, “mince” can also be an adjective that means “slim, slender, thin” but when used as an interjection usually at the beginning of sentences, it shows surprise or disappointment, like in the English equivalent “damn”.

Example: Mince, j’ai pris la mauvaise direction! (Damn, I took the wrong path)

Putain (pu-tahn)

Meaning: Shit, fuck.

Vulgarity rating: 3/10

Even though its literal meaning is “prostitute”, today “putain” is without a doubt the most used French curse word and is used like English speakers use the F word. You can use it in almost every situation!

Example: Brice de Nice -- putain j'ai rien compris moi  

Merde (maird)

Meaning: Shit.

Vulgarity rating: 3/10

Although this word is not as popular as “putain” among the French, still it’s very widely used both literally and figuratively as an exclamation and as part of a phrase. If you want to sound more like a Frenchie you can even combine both and say “putain de merde!”

Example: “Putain de merde! J’ai encore raté le train!” (Fucking shit! I missed the train again!)

Sa mère (sa-mair)

Meaning: Fuck, fucking, motherfucker.

Vulgarity rating: 4/10

You may know that “sa mère” literally means “his/her mother”. However, when used as slang this becomes the interjection “fuck”, “fucking” or “motherfucker”. In fact, it comes from the phrase “nique sa mère” (motherfucker, literally: fuck his/her mother) which is very, very vulgar.

However, when shortened just to “sa mère” it becomes a bit more acceptable. And, if you’re into French movies now you know the meaning of the film “Neuilly sa mère!” (PS: Neuilly is the posh end of Paris)

Example: Tu as vu sa nouvelle caisse? Elle déchire sa mère! (Have you seen his new car? It’s fucking amazing!)

Con / Conne (koh / kohn)

Meaning: Stupid / jerk / idiot / unpleasant etc.

Vulgarity rating: 5/10

The meaning of this word varies depending on the context. “Con” can be a vulgar way of referring to the female reproductive organ. However, today it’s mainly used to say “idiot”, “jerk”, “asshole” etc. If referring to a lady, you’d need the feminine form: “conne”. However, if you say “C’est con…” it means: “it’s dumb/unpleasant” and it’s generally acceptable.

Example: There’s a cult movie called “Le dîner de cons” (lit. Idiots dinner) that you have to watch! The Dinner Game (Le Diner de Cons) - Film Trailer With Subtitles


Ducon (dwu-koh)

Meaning: asshole, dickhead

Vulgarity rating:  5/10

This one is one of my favorite French curse words. It’s a portmanteau of con and the common French last name Dupont (the equivalent of Smith in English). This is something you can yell at a man who is acting like an idiot. The equivalent in English would be something like “asshole” and “dickhead”. Very handy to know as there are lots of situations where it tends to be used, like in the street, in a traffic jam, in a football game etc.

Example: Mais ducon, tu fais quoi là?! (What are you doing, dickhead?!)


Connard / Connasse (koh-nar / koh-nass)

Meaning: motherfucker/prick/asshole/wanker

Vulgarity rating: 7/10

These are related to con/conne but are more obscene and much harsher. This is common on busy roads or when someone’s parking spot is stolen! Connasse is the feminine version.

Example: Mais c’est qui ce connard? Pour qui se prend-il?! (Who is this motherfucker? Who does he think he is!)


Enculé(e) (ahn-kwu-lay)

Meaning: cocksucker, piece of shit

Vulgarity rating: 10/10

Though a feminine version of this French curse word exists (“enculée”), I’ve actually never heard it used. It seems to be an insult mostly reserved for men. And if you wonder about its literal meaning...it’s the past participle of the verb “enculer”: to do someone up the bum.

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERR6b_SmIOs used here as “quel enculé!” (what an asshole). A French gamer *accidentally* insults the president and apologises immediately!


Bordel (bowr-dell)

Meaning: a mess

Vulgarity rating: 2/10

Let’s take a break from very vulgar words. “Bordel” is slang for “brothel”. However, today when used as an interjection it means “a mess”.

Example: C’était le bordel chez lui (his house was a mess!).


Bâtard / Bâtarde (bah-tar / bah-tard)

Meaning: bastard

Vulgarity rating: 7/10

This one you could have guessed:“bâtard” or “bâtarde” for feminine, means “bastard”. The ‘d’ in the masculine form is silent, whereas you need to pronounce it for the feminine form.

Example: Sale bâtard, tu vas me le payer! (Filthy bastard, you’ll pay for this!)


Enfoiré(e) (ahn-fwa-ray)

Meaning: bastard

Vulgarity rating: 8/10

Originally, this French curse word meant “soiled with excrement” (what a romantic language!). However, gradually it lost this meaning and now it’s mostly used to say “bastard”, “imbecile” or to call someone dishonest.

Example: Si je mets la main sur l’enfoiré qui a volé mon portable... (If I catch the bastard who stole my phone...)

Poufiasse (poo-fee-yass)

Meaning: Slut

Vulgarity rating: 8/10

The spelling of this word varies between “poufiasse” or “pouffiasse” and even other forms like “pouffe”. It usually means a slut, or a vulgar or ridiculous woman.

Example: Cette poufiasse, l’a agressé sans raison. (this slut, she attacked him for no reason.)

Pute (pwu-t) / pétasse (pay-tass)

Meaning: bitch, whore

Vulgarity rating: 8/10

Pute or pétasse mean a bitch or a whore. But there’s also the common phrase “faire sa pute” (literally: to be a whore) which means to be selfish. Most of the time it is used in a negative sentence like “allez, fais pas ta pute!” (come on, don’t be selfish).

Pro tip: If you want to lessen the vulgarity a tad you can always use the verlanized form. Verlan is where we switch syllables in order to make it slangy. In this case, you’d hear it as “te-pu” (teuh-pwu). Similarly, pétasse would become “tasse-pé”.

Example: “La solitude est juste une te-pu” (Loneliness is a bitch) as used in ‘La misère est si belle’ by rappers, PNL.


Bite (beet)

Meaning: dick, cock

Vulgarity rating: 6/10

A vulgar word for the body part, not for a person who acts like an asshole (for that, see many of the other words on this list!). It is very common to use the verlan form for this word as well; “teub”.

Example: Now you can understand Elams rap song “J’sors ma teub” Elams - J'sors ma t*** (Clip Officiel) (I take out my cock)


Chatte (shat)

Meaning: pussy, fanny

Vulgarity rating: 6/10

Another vulgar word but this time for the feminine body part. Note that normally “chatte” means a female cat. So it easily gets awkward when you talk about cats. Keep this in mind and don’t be surprised if you see people smirking.

Example: Sa jupe était tellement courte qu’on voyait sa chatte (her skirt was so short, you could see her pussy)

Chiant(e) (shee-yâ / shee-yânt)

Meaning: pain in the ass, really annoying

Vulgarity rating: 2/10

You can use this word for a highly annoying person or situation. It comes from the verb “chier” (vulgar way to say “to shit”). Don’t forget to pronounce the T at the end for the feminine form.

Example: J’ai passé le weekend avec lui, il était trop chiant! (I spent the weekend with him, he was so annoying!)


Niquer (nee-kay)

Meaning: to fuck

Vulgarity rating: 10/10

The exact French equivalent of “fuck” or “screw”. It can either mean “to have sex” or “to swindle” someone. However, I believe “niquer” is much more vulgar than its English equivalent. So be careful when using it!

Example: Of course, I had to share this cult scene from a sketch where the comedians play kids who rehearse a play about the French revolution. He’s about to behead the King and says the French national motto “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, but changes “fraternité” to “va te faire niquer” (fuck you)  liberté, égalité...


Baiser (bay-zay)

Meaning: to fuck

Vulgarity rating:7/10

Here’s another synonym for “niquer” (to have sex or to screw). I’d say that it’s a bit less vulgar than the previous one. Note that the word can also be used as a noun - “un baiser”, meaning a kiss.

Example: S’il a payé ce prix-là, il s’est fait baiser! (if that’s the price he paid, he’s been screwed over)

Dégage! (day-gaj)

Meaning: get out!, fuck off!

Vulgarity rating: 4/10

This interjection comes from the verb “dégager”, which means to remove, or to pull something or somebody out. As a swear word, “dégage!” can mean “get out! or “fuck off!”. But it really depends on the way the person uses it. It’ll never be polite to use it but it can range from “move!” to “fuck off” so it really depends on how angry and frustrated the person is.

Example: Tu es trop lent, dégage! (You’re so slow, move!)


Salaud / Salope (salow / salowp)

Meaning: bastard, bitch

Vulgarity rating: 6/10

A real son of a bitch. Salaud is the masculine noun, whilst the feminine is salope.

Example: Ce salaud m’a larguée quand je lui ai dit que j’étais enceinte. (This bastard dumped me when I told him I was pregnant.)

Now we’ve covered all the most common individual French curse words, here are some French curse phrases that can be very useful to know as well...

List of French curse phrases

Ta gueule / Ferme ta gueule

Literal meaning: Your mouth / Shut your mouth.

Meaning: shut up / shut the fuck up

Vulgarity rating: 6/10

In texting you can see it as “TG” or “FTG”


Sa/Ta race

Literal meaning: His/Her, Your race

Meaning: Fuck off

Vulgarity rating: 10/10

It is mostly combined with other phrases like “nique ta race” which literally means fuck your race but it can also be the equivalent of fuck off.


Mange tes morts

Literal meaning: Eat your dead bodies

Meaning: Fuck off

Vulgarity rating: 6/10

Another way to say “fuck off”. This expression comes from gypsies and has become very popular.


Nique tes morts

Literal meaning: Fuck your dead bodies

Meaning: Fuck off

Vulgarity rating: 10/10

Like “Mange tes morts” but much harsher.


La vache!

Literal meaning: The cow!

Meaning: Holy cow!

Vulgarity rating: 1/10


Bordel de merde

Literal meaning: Whorehouse of shit

Meaning: For crying out loud, fucking hell

Vulgarity rating: 5/10


Putain de bordel de merde

Literal meaning: Fucking whorehouse of shit

Meaning: for crying out loud, fucking hell

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


Sa/Ta mère la pute

Literal meaning: Her/his/your mother the whore

Meaning: Motherfucker

Vulgarity rating: 8/10


Putain de sa mère

Literal meaning: His/her mother the whore

Meaning: Fuck!

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


Putain de sa mère la pute

Literal meaning: His/her fucking whore mother

Meaning: Fucking hell!

Vulgarity rating: 10/10


Fils de chien

Literal meaning: Son of a dog

Meaning: Son of a bitch

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


Fils de pute

Literal meaning: son of a bitch/whore

Meaning: son of a bitch

Vulgarity rating: 10/10


Trou du cul

Literal meaning: Asshole

Meaning: asshole

Vulgarity rating: 5/10

This French curse phrase is also often shortened to “trouduc”. (troo-dwuk)


Casser les couilles

Literal meaning: To break the balls

Meaning: Annoy the hell out of somebody

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


Partir en couilles

Literal meaning: To go in balls

Meaning: To turn to shit

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


Casse-couilles

Literal meaning: Ball-breaker

Meaning: Pain in the ass

Vulgarity rating: 7/10


S’en ficher / s’en foutre

Meaning: to not care / to not giving a single fuck

Vulgarity rating: 4/10 - 7/10

This is impossible to translate literally. Both verbs are reflexive. You’d say for example “je m’en fiche” or “je m’en fous”. The latter is more vulgar.


S’en battre les couilles

Literal meaning: To beat your balls with it

Meaning: To not give a fuck

Vulgarity rating: 8/10

As it’s a reflexive verb you can for example use it as “je m’en bats les couilles”.


Faire chier

Literal meaning: To make somebody shit

Meaning: To annoy

Vulgarity rating: 5/10

You can say “tu me fais chier” to say you annoy me or use it as “fait chier!” as an interjection that means “shit”.


À chier

Literal meaning: To shit

Meaning: shitty

Vulgarity rating: 7/10

This is an adjectival phrase. You can use it like in “ce film est à chier” (this movie is shitty/ this is a shitty movie)


Et voilà! I hope you’ve found this guide both entertaining and insightful. If you’re interested in improving your French language skills outside of learning all the French curse words, you might want to consider taking 1-on-1 lessons. You can book a trial session with me via my profile, or check the videos, reviews and pricing of other tutors here.