French expression of the day: Chaud lapin

French expression of the day: Chaud lapin
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This expression has nothing to do with actual cute little bunny rabbits.

Why do I need to know chaud lapin?

Because it's good to know what it actually means, which has nothing to do with either French cuisine or cuddly bunnies.

What does it mean?

Chaud means 'hot' or 'warm' and lapin means 'rabbit'.

However the expression un chaud lapin (a hot rabbit) refers not to the actual animal but rather to a man who loves sleeping around.

A chaud lapin is a colloquial term to describe 'a man eager for sexual pleasures', according to French online dictionary l'Internaute.

You might have seen chaud lapin used to describe former French President Françcois Hollande these past days. 

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After French celebrity magazine Voici reported that the ex-president, 66, was reported to have replaced his current girlfriend actress Julie Gayet with Juliette Gernez, a 33-year-old dancer, it caused a number of social media users to joke that Hollande was a chaud lapin.

“We totally underestimated François Hollande! A real skirt-chaser that one,” one user wrote.


The TV channel C8 even dedicated a “debate” to whether Hollande was indeed a chaud lapin:


In Hollande's defence he is far from the only womanising prominent French politician or even president. Here's a look at eight sex scandals that rocked French politics.

More recently, you might remember the sex scandal that turned the Paris local election upside down just before Covid-19 turned our attention to weightier matters (hint: it included a Russian performance artist previously best known for nailing his scrotum to Red Square.)

ANALYSIS: Does the Griveaux scandal mean it's now open season on French politicians' sex lives?

There's no great English equivalent to chaud lapin, the bunny-related phrase “at it like rabbits” means a couple who are having a lot of sex, rather than a man who's always on the lookout for sex.

Another similar term is a skirt-chaser, un coureur de jupons in Frenchhowever un chaud lapin perhaps one level up, seeing as it really makes you think about what rabbits are famous for.

There's also been a subtle change in its meaning recently.

Back in the day, a chaud lapin was thrown around pretty light heartedly and in a quite admiring sense, whereas today fewer French people use it, especially younger generations.

Men who are constantly chasing women like an overheated bunny rabbit are today sometilmes referred to as un Me Too, a Me Too, a phrase that is a lot less indulgent than chaud lapin.

Use it like this

Comme collègue il est super sympa, par contre c'est vraiment un chaud lapin. – He's great as a colleague, but he's a real womaniser.

Je te déconseille de sortir avec lui, c'est un vrai chaud lapin. – I advise against dating him, he's such a skirt-chaser.

Avant on appellait ça un chaud lapin, aujourd'hui c'est juste un porc. – Back in the day we called that a womaniser, today it's just a pig.


Coureur de jupons – skirt-chaser

Tombeur – a guy women fall for

Coureur de filles – a womaniser 


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