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 collection of insults, euphemisms, and bad words in French that little kids in France love to say on the school playground to each other. (with translations)
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.
The two most commonly used and prolific French swear words in France are:
- 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
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 that replace offensive French swear words
What do kids say if they can’t use curse words?
Once kids learn that they can’t use vulgar curse words, they use euphemisms called Minced oaths, which are alternative words used to replace swear words and taboo words when expressing surprise, anger or annoyance.
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This is what many non-native French speakers think French people go around saying, but in reality, this is an outdated minced oath that replaces an old French swear word, Sacré Dieu, “holy God.”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 BAD FRENCH 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 swear word little kids as young as 2 or 3 years learn to say in France. It’s not really a bad word in French, just one of many words that children love to say whenever they can because it has the word caca in it.
“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.)
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…
2) MINCE! (instead of merde)
Mince = thin.
It’s an old slang word used to express disappointment or dissatisfaction. Adults also use this exclamation instead of merde (shit). An easy transition since they both start with the letter “M.”
- Ahhh Mince! j’ai raté le tram.
- Shoot, I missed the tram!
3) PUNAISE! (instead of putain)
Punaise = thumbtack
Never mind that punaise is a thumbtack/pushpin in French.
Children and adults use this term to replace the more vulgar French curse word “Putain.”
- 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
The word purée is the French word for “mash,” as in mashed potatoes (purée de pomme de terre). It’s used by young and old alike as a replacement for “Putain.”
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 = Poop
Little kids get a kick out of saying words associated with excrement. Other fun words kids like to make with the word crotte are:
- Crotte de nez = boogers
- crotte de chien = dog poop
7) PROUT = Fart
- 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
prout-prout is the onomatopoeia for the sound a fart makes.
8) PIPI = Peepee, or wee-wee
- T’est un Pipi–Caca–Prout de fesses
- You’re a peepee, caca fart butt.
9) FESSE = Bottom
Just saying this word makes kids giggle with glee.
- T’es un caca qui pue du derrière. = you’re a caca whose behind stinks.
- Espèce de caca ! = You piece of caca!
11) GROS CACA = Big Poop
C’est toi le gros caca. = You’re the big caca!
12) 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
13) GROS PÉRPÈRE = Big Grandpa
Pérpère is a tender French term of endearment that children call their grandfather, like gramps, grand papa. Adults can use it as a term of endearment for animals and babies to imply they are chubby.
When kids use it, they can magically turn it into an insult. But it doesn’t imply old, it implies that person is fat, tubby, or a fat slob.
- Gros pépère qui pue du derrière.
- Fat slob whose behind stinks
14) GROSSE PATATE = Big potato
- T’es une grosse patate pourrie.
- You’re a rotten potato.
15) SAC À PUCES = Flea
- Degage, sac à puces
- Get out, you fleabag. Or move you fleabag.
16) POUÊT POUÊT
CAMEMBERT = Beep Beep Camembert
Pouêt-pouêt is an 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! ”
Pouêt-pouêt Camemert =Shut up, I told you so, neener neener neener.
This insult is usually accompanied by a very specific hand gesture.
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
17) FERME TA BOÎTE
This 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 POUÊT POUÊT
Don’t underestimate the importance of learning kid swear words
Knowing some of these kid-friendly insults and euphemisms that replace French bad words can come in handy in your daily life or if you like to watch French shows on Netflix.
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.