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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French word of the day: Plouc

Most foreigners will likely feel a little bit like this when arriving in Paris for the first time.

French word of the day: Plouc
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know plouc?

Whether your goal is to master the top level of Parisian arrogance, or just to unmask those who do, this is a good expression to know.

What does it mean?

Plouc is a pejorative French expression used about someone who is a little bit country, in the most literal sense.

It originated in Brittany in the late 19th century and means paysan (peasant) in the regional accent there.

At its origins it was used to poke fun at the stereotypical countryside French person as being somewhat simple and rustic.

So if you hear someone say plouc today, it means that they are a 'country bumpkin', 'yokel', 'hick', or 'hillbilly'.

It's definitely not a compliment and it implies that the person is lacking of what the French call savoir-vivre, which is an elegant yet snobbish way of saying that someone is uncouth, lacking of social-cultural capital.

Quel plouc – What a hick

Similarly, plouqistan or ploukistan is a pejorative way of talking about the 'place where the ploucs live'. 

Use it like this

Il n'est jamais allé à Paris, c'est un vrai plouc – He's never been to Paris, he's a real hick.

J'en peux plus de tous ces ploucs. Je te dis, c'est la dernière fois qu'on passe nos vacances dans un camping – I can't take these hillbillies anymore. I'm telling you, this is the last time we're spending our holidays in a camping.

C'était un vrai dîner des bobos, des vrais bourgeois quoi. Je ne me suis rarement senti aussi plouc. – It was a real city-snob dinner, a truly bourgeois crowd, you know. I've rarely felt like so much like a country bumpkin. 

Synonyms

Cul-terreux – arse-earthy (very colloquial way of saying that someone is from the countryside).

Péquenot – yokel

Personne rustre – loutish

Campagnard – person from the countryside 

Paysan – peasant 

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

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