French word of the day: Chauffard

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

If you're fed up of French drivers, then this is the word for you.


Why do I need to know chauffard?

Because whether you're driving, walking, or cycling, sometimes you just have to let out your anger.

What does it mean?

A chauffard is a reckless driver. It comes from the word chauffeur (driver), combined with the suffix -ard, which often signifies that a term is pejorative. For example:

-          Ringard (unfashionable)

-          Connard (jerk/arsehole)

-          Bâtard (bastard)

-          Flemmard (lazy)

-          Vantard (bragger)


You may be used to coming across chauffards in France – dangerous drivers who don’t pay attention to other people.

It can be used more or less formally depending on the context. When a woman died earlier this week after a car crashed into a café terrace in Paris, the mayor of the 17th arrondissement tweeted that she had been “percutée par un chauffard” (hit by a reckless driver).


On the more informal end of the spectrum, it can also be used as an exclamation. If a car cuts you off or skips a red light, you can yell, “Chauffard !”.

Use it like this

Chauffard ! C’est un passage piéton ! – Arsehole! It’s a pedestrian crossing!

Conduire à Paris, c’est dangereux, il n’y a que des chauffards – Driving in Paris is dangerous, there’s nothing but reckless drivers

Un chauffard a été arrêté après avoir percuté un cycliste - A reckless driver was arrested after hitting a cyclist


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