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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: Jurer comme un charretier

You might describe yourself this way after sitting in traffic.

French Expression of the Day: Jurer comme un charretier
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know Jurer comme un charretier ?

Because the next time someone tosses in the word “putain” a bit too much for your liking, you can use this phrase to describe them.

What does it mean?

Jurer comme un charretier – roughly pronounced jur-er cuhm uhn shahr-eh-tee-ay –  translates to ‘swear like a cart driver’.

The expression essentially means to have a vulgar manner of speaking, often using rude and crude terms and profanities, even in casual conversation.

A similar expression in English might be ‘swearing like a sailor’, ‘swearing like a trooper’ or ‘swearing like a fishwife’ (for women only).  

The phrase has been used in France for centuries, in fact it dates all the way back to the 12th century, when cart drivers often motivated their donkeys and mules to go faster by insulting them (we’re not sure if that management technique is still in use). 

Another way to describe having a “foul vocabulary” in French would be to say someone has un vocabulaire grossier.

Use it like this

Lorsque nous nous sommes assis pour la réunion de travail, j’ai été choqué de voir que mon patron jurait comme un charretier, même à la fonction de travail. – When we sat down for the work meeting, I was shocked that my boss was swearing like a sailor, even at work.

La petite enfant jure comme un charretier, ce qui n’est pas surprenant puisque ses parents sont connus pour avoir eux aussi un vocabulaire grossier. – The small child swears like a sailor, which is not that surprising considering her parents are known for having a crude vocabulary.

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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French Expression of the Day: C’est du vent

This French expression is useful for brushing things off.

French Expression of the Day: C’est du vent

Why do I need to know c’est du vent?

Because you might wonder why the politician is talking about wind in response to questions about the latest scandal.

What does it mean?

C’est du vent roughly pronounced say doo vahnt – translates literally to “it is the wind”, but in reality it is more akin to the English expression “it’s just hot air” or “it’s a load of nonsense”.

You can use this expression when you want to say that someone has made an empty threat, or if their words are unlikely to be followed through with real action. 

This is a French expression you might hear politicians use when seeking to downplay something – for instance, a strike threat from unions. 

You may also hear someone use this expression to minimise an accusation or rumour that is circulating about them. If you want to target a specific person when using the phrase, you could say “Il/Elle fait du vent” (He/She is full of hot air). 

Use it like this

Il a déclaré que ce n’était du vent lorsque les journalistes l’ont interrogé sur les accusations de blanchiment d’argent.– He said it was just hot air when journalists asked him about accusations of money laundering.

Il a dit qu’il allait encore quitter son emploi cette semaine, mais il fait du vent. – He said he was going to quit his job again this week, but it’s a load of nonsense.

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