When it comes to cuss words and insults, kids usually have their own set of expressions they use when they’re angry, frustrated or surprised. Here’s a list of funny French bad words, French insults and French euphemisms that little kids in France love to say on the school playground. (with translations & audio)
THIS IS HOW YOU CURSE AND INSULT SOMEONE LIKE A 3 to 6 YEAR-OLD FRENCH KID.
Kids are cute, but they lack filters and sometimes say the darndest things when they’re hurt, frustrated, upset or surprised.
In France, children as young as three years old begin experimenting with different swear words, insults and slang that they’ve heard at home, at school, on the tele or on the street.
They might be testing a new word to understand its meaning. Sometimes swearing happens accidentally, and they’ll drop the equivalent of the F-bomb. And sometimes, they know exactly what they’re doing.
Eventually, children learn that saying certain French curse words isn’t socially acceptable coming from the mouth of babes, even though they hear grown-ups saying bad words all around them.
Yes, it’s true; people do curse a lot in France relative to some countries. C’est la vie.
MINCED OATH: Polite euphemisms in French (alternative words that replace swear words)
What do kids say if they can’t use French swear words or curse words?
The two most commonly used and prolific French swear words in France are “putain”, and “merde”.
- Putain is a French curse word that means whore but it’s equivalent to the English “F” word. Spanish and Portuguese have a related word “puta.”
- Merde means Shit
Once kids learn that they can’t use vulgar French swear words like “putain” or “merde” to express, surprise, anger or annoyance, they use euphemisms called Minced oaths which are alternative swear words.
For example, here are some English minced oaths.
- Oh shoot → Oh Shit
- Darn!→ Damn
- Dang it!→ Damn it
- Holy moly→ Holy shit
- Balderdash→ Bull shit
- Shut the front door → Shut the “F” up
- Fudge!→ “F” word
- Gosh! → God
Because minced oaths are using comical words that don’t make sense, parents are often avid fans.
Chances are you already know a couple of French minced oaths.
Does Sacrebleu, aka Sacré bleu, sound familiar?
This is what many non-native French speakers think French people go around saying, but in reality, this is an outdated minced oath that replaces an old French swear word, Sacré Dieu, “holy God.” It’s a little like saying “dagnabit” or “what in tarnation.”
***KID-FRIENDLY FRENCH CURSE WORDS & INSULTS LIST STARTS HERE***
*Some of the words and expressions on this list are said by adults too. Others are strictly things kids say.
1) Caca Boudin = Caca Sausage.
Babies first bad word in French
Caca Boudin is usually the first alternative French swear word little kids as young as 2 or 3 years old learn to say in France. It’s not really a bad French word. It’s just one of many words that children love to say whenever they can because it has the word “caca” in it.
Caca Boudin meaning
“Caca” means the exact same thing in French as it does in English.
“Boudin” is a blood sausage, usually made with pork (French charcuterie). Boudin is also a shape, so it can also refer to other types of sausages such as boudin au poulet (chicken.)
So essentially, saying caca boudin is like saying “caca sausage.”
The expression is used as an adjective and sometimes as a noun.
- What do you want to eat? “Caca Boudin!”
- What do you think of the book? It’s a “caca boudin!”
- No j’en veux pas, espece de caca boudin!
- No I don’t want to, you piece of “caca boudin!
The expression has only been around since the 1970s, but it’s infiltrated the French language and is seriously prolific. If you have a baby in France, it’s only a matter of time before they end up saying “caca boudin.” Some adults, usually parents, even use it; guilty as charged.
There are even children’s songs and books with caca boudin as the star of the show.
French children's book (2-5 years old). The book begins with this phrase: Once upon a time, there was a little rabbit who repeatedly said "caca boudin," from evening to morning! Until he meets a wolf...
Il était une fois un petit lapin qui répétait « caca boudin » du soir au matin ! Jusqu’à ce qu’il rencontre un loup…
The Caca boudin oh song
Here’s a song that is surprisingly catchy called caca boudin oh.
2) MINCE! (instead of merde)
Mince = thin.
“Ah Mince” is an old French slang word used to express disappointment or dissatisfaction. It’s primarily used by children and adults as an alternative to the French curse word merde (shit). Saying “Mince” instead of “Merde” is an easy transition since they both start with the letter “M.”
Normally when you say “Mince”, you say it by adding “Ah” before the word “Mince” which is like saying oh shoot!
- Ahhh Mince! j’ai raté le tram.
- Oh Shoot, I missed the tram!
3) PUNAISE! (instead of putain)
Punaise = thumbtack
Punaise in French has two meanings. It’s a thumbtack/pushpin, but it can also be a bed bug (punaise de lit).
Children and adults use this term as an alternative to the more vulgar French swear word “Putain.” Remember, “Putain” is like saying the “F” word in English.
- Oh punaise, je n’ai plus de beurre pour mon gateau.
- Oh shoot, I don’t have any butter for my cake
4) PURÉE (instead of putain)
Purée = mash or puree. As in mashed potatoes (purée de pomme de terre).
The word purée is the alternative French swear word for Putain used by young and old alike.
According to the Dictionnaire Historique de la Langue Française, purée has been used as an interjection since 1895 and could be a shortened form of an older expression “être dans la purée,” (to be in the purree (or mash), to describe being in a predicament.
- oh purée, je n’ai pas fait mes devoirs
- oh boy, I didn’t do my homework.
This is an old, rarely used word, but I included it on this list because it’s a funny word to show surprise. It’s the equivalent of saying something old-fashioned like “gadzooks.”
- Saperlipopette, elle ne sais pas comment conduire
- Gee willickers, she doesn’t know how to drive.
WORDS & INSULTS KIDS LIKE TO SAY CONTAINING: Taboo Body Parts and Fluids
In general, any type of body secretion, odour, or private parts are fun for kids to say as an insult to others or just to say for the fun of it.
6) CROTTE = Doo Doo, Poop, Dung
Little kids get a kick out of saying words associated with excrement.
- Crotte de nez = boogers
- crotte de chien = dog poop
7) PROUT = Fart
A popular way for little French kids to insult one another is to call someone a Fart, similar to how English speaking children might call smeone a “fart head.”
prout-prout is the onomatopoeia for the sound a fart makes.
- T’es qu’un prout qui sent des pieds. = your a fart that smells like feet
- T’es un caca prout = You’re a caca fart
8) PIPI = Peepee, or wee-wee
- T’est un Pipi–Caca–Prout de fesses
- You’re a peepee, caca fart butt.
Caca means the exact same thing in French as it does in English and kids love to use it in a variety of ways to insult one another.
- T’es un caca qui pue du derrière. = you’re a caca whose behind stinks.
- Espèce de caca ! = You piece of caca!
10) GROS CACA = Big Poop
- C’est toi le gros caca. = You’re the big caca!
- T’est un gros caca! = Youre a big caca!
11) ZIZI = Weener or Wee-wee
Zizi is a cute term of endearment that’s widely used and refers to the word penis. Children love to insult one another calling each other wee-wees.
- Toi, t’est une tête de zizi = You’re weener head
OTHER FRENCH KID INSULTS
12) GROS PÉRPÈRE = Big Grandpa
Pérpère is a tender French term of endearment that children call their grandfather, like gramps. Adults can use it as a term of endearment for animals and babies to imply they are cute and calm like a grandfather. Or it can be used pejoratively to mean someone is an old-timer.
When kids use it, they add the word “gros” which means big or fat and it magically turns into an insult. But it doesn’t imply old, it implies that a person is tubby, or a fat slob.
- T’es un gros pépère.
- You’re a big fat slob.
- Gros pépère qui pue du derrière.
- Fat slob whose behind stinks
13) GROSSE PATATE = Big potato
- T’es une grosse patate pourrie.
- You’re a big fat rotten potato.
14) SAC À PUCES = FleaBag
- Degage, sac à puces
- Get out, you fleabag. Or move you fleabag.
15) POUÊT POUÊT
CAMEMBERT = Beep Beep Camembert
Pouêt-pouêt Camemert =Shut up, I told you so, neener neener neener.
Pouêt-pouêt is not a real word. It’s a French onomatopoeia for Honk-honk or beep-beep, and
This childish schoolyard burn is a not-so-subtle way to tell someone to shut up. In English it has the same effect as the sing-song way kids say “Neener neener neener neeeeener!” or “Ha ha ha ha haaaa! ”
This insult is usually accompanied by a very specific hand gesture, which is the same hand gesture used when saying “honk honk” in French.
You hold your hand in front of you and touch your thumbs and forefingers together as if gently squeezing
The origins of this childish insult may be a shorted form of an older expression “Ferme ta Boite à
- Ferme ta boîte à camemembert
See next section for an explanation.
16) FERME TA BOÎTE (Shut your box)
“Ferme ta boîte” is extremely popular in Quebec, and it’s what my friends and I would say if we wanted to be extremely rude to someone and tell them to shut up without using the more vulgar “Ferme ta gueule!”
It may be a shortened version of “Ferme ta boîte à
17) c’est celui qui dit qui y est
The ultimate come-back to an insult is saying “cest celui qui dit qui y est” which literally means “he who says it, is it”. Idiomatically it’s like saying “I know you are but what am I?”
|/say suh-loo-we key dee key ee yay/|
Don’t underestimate the importance of learning alternative French swear words
Knowing some of these kid-friendly insults and euphemisms that replace French curse words can come in handy in your daily life or if you like to watch French shows on Netflix.
Adults will often use minced oaths instead of French swear words, especially in front of children.
And if you’re learning French, knowing how to express yourself will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes. For example, if you want to say “That sucks,” don’t say “ça suce,” which means to suck sexually, as in fellatio.
Here’s a cute video (in French) of kids getting tricked into admitting all the naughty bad French words they say.