Why do I need to know ça me soûle?
Ça me soûle is a commonly used phrase that you’re likely to hear in an informal social context, especially an airing of grievances. If you want to put a little emotional weight behind your expression of displeasure, this expression will do the trick.
What does it mean?
The verb soûler, also sometimes spelled saouler but always pronounced ‘su-lay’, means ‘to intoxicate’, or, in a more literary sense, ‘to satiate’. Used in the reflexive, it means ‘to get drunk’, as in les ivrognes se soûlent de vin bon marché, ‘the winos get drunk on cheap wine.’
If you hear someone say ça me soûle, however, it doesn’t mean ‘that intoxicates me’, but rather, ‘that exasperates me,’ ‘that’s getting on my nerves,’ or if the speaker is really irritated, ‘that pisses me off.’
Someone who arrives at a boutique only to find that the owners have closed up shop early might say, ils ont fermé tôt encore une fois, ça me soûle! (They closed early again, that gets on my nerves).
Of course, it isn’t only situations that are irritating, but also people, which is why it’s common to hear the verb soûler used to describe annoying behavior. Someone who tells you, tu me soûles avec tes histoires is letting you know (emphatically), ‘you annoy me with your stories.’
Just keep in mind that ça me soûle is a fairly critical and colloquial thing to say, so be careful about the context you use it in.
How do I use ça me soûle?
Mon train à Marseille a été annulé à cause de la grève, ça me soûle! – My train to Marseille was cancelled because of the strike, that pisses me off!
Mon chef n’est jamais content, il me soûle avec ses petits commentaires. – My boss is never happy, I’m fed up with his little comments.
If you want to say ça me soûle in more formal French, you can use the verb énerver, ‘to irritate’, or in the phrase ça m’énerve.
Given the frequency of expressed displeasure in French conversation, there are, of course, other options: ça me gonfle (‘that swells me up’) or ça me fatigue (‘that wears me out’) mean the same thing as ça me soûle.