Why do I need to know ça craint?
This small expression has a few different meanings all of which you can use to talk about things that you don’t like.
What does ça craint mean?
The word craint comes from the verb craindre (quelque chose), which means to be afraid of something.
But young French speakers use ça craint informally to describe things they don’t like, things that are worrying and things that are dangerous.
Its loose definition means it can translate to a range of expressions such as ‘it sucks’, ‘what a pain’, ‘its creepy’ or ‘it’s dodgy.’
So, you could use ça craint to talk about risky situations, for example ne va pas faire ton footing au bois de Boulogne le soir, ça craint trop. (Don’t go jogging in the bois de Bologne at night, it’s too dodgy.)
Or for describing something that you don’t like, such as mon colocataire m'a offert des chaussettes pour Noël. Ça craint comme cadeau! (My housemate got me socks for Christmas. What a rubbish present!).
Or for describing something slightly creepy or worrying like mon colocataire ne sort jamais de sa chambre. Ça craint, non? (My housemate never leaves his room. That’s weird isn’t it?)
And if you really want to emphasise how risky, rubbish or odd something is you can also add au maximum to the end for emphasis to make the expression ça craint au maximum.
Ça craint is not impolite but it is informal. For a more elevated way to say something is lousy you could try c’est nul. And ça fait peur is a formal way to say something is scary.
How do I use ça craint?
Être en retard à un entretien d'embauche, ça craint! – Being late for a job interview sucks! It sucks to be late for a job interview!
Ça craint ici. – It’s dodgy around here./It sucks here.
(The above examples are from wordreference.com)