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French expression of the day: Je m’en bats les couilles

Why figuratively slapping balls is a way to show you don't care in France.

French expression of the day: Je m'en bats les couilles
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know je m'en bats les couilles?

Because it's one of those key swear-phrases to know in France.

What does it mean?

Translated directly, je m'en bats les couilles means something like 'I beat my balls with it'.

Couilles is French for 'balls' – as in the male genitalia and not the ones used for football – and battre means 'to punch'.

However s'en battre les couilles (beating one's balls with something) is not a referral to some (very) odd French sport – it's simply a way to express indifference.

There are lots of ways to say you don't care in French, and je m'en bats les couilles is definitely one of the most vulgar ones.

The closest English equivalent is probably 'I don't give a fuck'.

READ ALSO: Ten very French ways to say you don't care

Similarly, on s'en bat les couilles means 'who gives one'.

If you're not sure how to pronounce that, check out the video below:


If you live in France and surround yourself with youngsters, you might even hear on s'en balek, which is an abbreviation for on s'en bat les couilles.

And, in case you were wondering, s'en battre les couilles is not the only French expression involving the male genitalia, there are lots of ways to use balls in French. 

Just like in English, avoir des couilles (having balls) means being gutsy or courageous. And se faire des couilles en or (making oneself golden-balls) means becoming filthy rich.

On the more negative side, a casse-couille (ball-break) is something that is just a massive pain in the neck while avoir une couille dans le potage (to have a testicle in the soup) is roughly the same as saying 'Houston, we have a problem'. 

Use it like this

Je sais que tu es fatigué, mais je m'en bats les couilles. Je suis crevé moi aussi ! – I know you're tired, but I don't give a shit – I'm also exhausted! 

On s'en bats les couilles si ce n'est pas parfait. Le plus imporant c'est de le finir. – Who cares if it's not perfect. The most important thing is to finish it.

J'ai l'impression que tu t'en bats le couilles de ce que je viens de dire. – I feel like you did not give a shit about what I just said.


Je m'en fous – I don't give a shit

Je m'en tape  – I don't give a shit

.. and a long list of others.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Un de ces quatres

The perfect response to that invitation you don't really want to say a firm yes to.

French Expression of the Day:  Un de ces quatres

Why do I need to know un de ces quatres?

Because you will probably hear this phrase while trying to make plans with someone in French

What does it mean?

Un de ces quatres – usually pronounced uhn duh say cat-truhs – translates exactly to “one of these fours.” If taken literally the phrase really does not make any sense in French or English. But in actuality, it means “one of these days,” “at some point,” or just “soon.”

This expression is a shortening of “one of these four mornings to come,” which was first used in the second half of the 19th century. It designates a time that is sometime in the near future, but still rather indeterminate.

In French, the number ‘four’ is often used in expressions to refer to imprecise, or small, quantities. Some people say this is because four is the number for the seasons and cardinal points (North, South, East, West), so saying ‘one of these four’ shows a level of ambiguity. But unfortunately we don’t really know exactly how (or why) this phrase arose.

If you want another way of saying this, you can always stick with the regular “un de ces jours” (one of these days).

Use it like this

J’ai été tellement occupée ces derniers temps mais nous devrons prendre un verre un de ces quatres. – I’ve been so busy lately, but we have to grab a drink one of these days.

Il m’a dit qu’il nettoierait la salle de bain un de ces quatres, donc je suppose que ça n’a pas encore été fait. – He told me he would clean the bathroom one of these days, so I guess it hasn’t been done yet.