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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Word of the Day: chiant

A very common French word which isn't as vulgar as you might assume.

French Word of the Day: chiant
Photo: Depositphotos

Why do I need to know chiant?

Chiant or the feminine versions chiante is used a lot by the French but despite its origins it's not as impolite as you might think. 

So, what does it mean?

Chiant/e is the adjective derived from the verb chier which is a vulgar way to say 'to crap' or 'to shit'. 

But despite this chiant/e isn't quite as offensive or distasteful as you might think. 

It is frequently used in conversation to describe something as 'really irritating', 'really annoying', 'really boring' or in more extreme slang 'a pain in the ass'. 

For example you could say, Ce film est super chiant, ne va pas le voir. – 'This film is super annoying, don't go and see it.'

Or in its feminine form: J'en ai marre de ma petite sœur : elle est chiante! – 'I'm sick of my little sister : she's really irritating!'

Alternatives

If you'd like to convey a similar meaning to chiant using a different word, you could go for assommant which means 'boring', 'tedious' or 'stupefyingly dull'. 

Or alternatively you could use emmerdant which means 'annoying', 'irritating' or 'aggravating'.

For more French Expressions and French Words of the Day you can CLICK HERE to see our full list

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: À poil

Some people prefer to sleep like this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: À poil

Why do I need to know à poil ?

Because if someone invites you to come to a beach like this and you don’t know the meaning of this expression, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise.

What does it mean?

À poil – roughly pronounced ah pwahl – is an expression that makes use of the French word for an animal’s fur or its coat. A synonym might be fourrure. However, the expression as it has come to be used does not have to do with animals’ coats – it actually means to be naked. 

How a phrase referring to animal’s fur came to signify nakedness goes all the way back to the 17th century and the world of horseback-riding. At the time, one could either ride a horse with a saddle or cover (blanket), or you could ride bareback. The phrase for doing so was monter l’animal à cru (“à cru” meaning ‘bare’ or ‘raw’) which became monter un cheval à poil – to ride the horse with only its fur.

In this case, the horse was seen as naked (lacking its saddle or blanket), and over time the idea of the naked horse transferred over to naked people. 

The phrase is slightly crude – you wouldn’t use it to describe nude artworks – but not offensive, it’s roughly similar to describing someone as “butt naked” or “bollock naked” in English. The more polite way to say this might be “tout nu” (totally naked).

If you are looking for another way to say ‘birthday suit’ in French you could use “en costume d’Adam” (in Adam’s suit – a Biblical reference to the naked inhabitants of the Garden of Eden). 

Use it like this

Je me suis mise pas mal à poil dernièrement, mais ce n’est pas un délire exhibo et, dans la vie, c’est plus compliqué – I’ve been getting naked quite a bit lately, but it’s not an exhibitionist thing, life is more complicated than that. – From an interview about nude scenes with the French actress Virgine Efira.

Je préfère dormir à poil en été. Il fait vraiment trop chaud ! – I prefer sleeping totally naked in the summer. It is really too hot!

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