French expression of the day: Ta mère

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French expression of the day: Ta mère
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond"

This is a common French expression, but one we recommend you know, rather than show.


Why do I need to know ta mère?

Because if you spend some time in France you will undoubtedly come across someone bellowing this at some point and it's nice to know they're not actually calling for their mama (or yours). 

What does it mean?

Ta mère, which directly translates as 'your mother', is a colloquial slang insult in France, which means 'screw you', 'fuck you' or 'piss off'.

'Your mother' or 'yo mamma' exists in many languages, and is not a nice thing to say, but this variant is very common here in France.

The full - and more vulgar - expression is nique ta mère (screw your mother), which basically is the English equivalent of 'go fuck yourself'.

Even if ta mère is not actually hitting out at the mother mentioned (she's more like linguistic collateral damage), it's extremely rude and derogatory towards women.

Therefore this might fall into the category of 'know it, don't show it' - something that is useful to know but we wouldn't recommend using.

Sa mère (their mother) is another variant of ta mère, which is more general and can mean simply 'shit' or 'fuck', or be directed at someone who is not present.

READ ALSO: Getting explicit: Your guide to how to swear like a French person


There's a wonderful French comedy called Neuilly sa mère ! (Fucking Neuilly), about a young boy called Sami who has to move from his impoverished Parisian banlieue to the wealthy, snobbish suburb of Neuilly.

Use it like this

This expression is obviously very much a swearword and the examples below just meant to give you an idea of what it means.

Ta mère ! - Son of a bitch!

Sa mère, qu'est-ce qu'il est interminable janvier. - Bloody hell, January is neverending.


Fils de pute - son of a bitch

As a bonus - enjoy (or squirm along) with this story of The Local reader who accidentally ended up saying ta mère to his son's teacher, while still learning about language rules . . .



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