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French expression of the day: Cul sec

French expression of the day: Cul sec
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If someone shouts this at you they are not talking about your bottom.

Why do I need to know cul sec?

Because it’s an expression we hope soon to hear again as France prepares to reopen its restaurants and bars later in spring.

What does it mean?

Cul sec directly translates as ‘dry bottom’, which sounds like an inappropriate thing to say in public.

But although cul is often translated as ‘arse’ or ‘butt’ it can also mean the bottom of an object.

READ ALSO: Cool cul: 13 of the best French ‘bottom’ expressions

So if someone in a bar shouts cul sec, they’re not talking about the human cul, but rather the cul (bottom) of the drink. When the glass is sec (dry), the drink is gone.

French online dictionary l’Internaute defines cul sec as “boire un verre d’un seul trait, sans s’arrêter”, which means “do have a drink in one go, without stopping.”

It’s what in English is also known as ‘chugging’ or ‘downing’ a drink.

Cul sec ! – Down it!

The full expression is faire cul sec (to do dry bottom) or boire cul sec (to drink dry bottom).

Cul sec isn’t a vulgar expression, but if you’re at a work party or with your French in-laws we suggest you refrain from hurling back your drink and instead opt for the more formal option of toasting the company with a santé (good health) or tchin-tchin (cheers) adn taking a polite sip.

Use it like this

On fait cul sec ? – Let’s down it?

Allez les gars, cul sec ! – Come on guys, down it!  

Si tu perds, tu dois boire cul sec ton verre entier. – If you lose, you have to down your whole drink.


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