French Word of the Day: Enquiquiner

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 10 Mar, 2023 Updated Fri 10 Mar 2023 12:36 CEST
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Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French word is not only fun to say, but it also conveys a feeling we all experience from time to time.


Why do I need to know enquiquiner?

Because you might want to tell someone just how much they are bothering you.

What does it mean?

Enquiquiner roughly pronounced ahn-kee-kee-nay – is a bit of a tongue twister. This funny sounding French word means “to annoy, bother or piss off”.

You might hear an older relative or friend use this word when describing feelings of frustration. Enquiquiner is conjugated like a regular -ER verb, but you ought to be aware that it is still a slang term (even if it is mostly used by the older generation), so it may not be suitable for more formal settings.

According to the Académie Française, enquiquiner has been used in some form since at least the 19th century, originally having been written as enkikinant


It originally meant ‘to squeeze by the throat’ and it is likely derived from the slang word ‘kiki’ which means throat or neck (cou or gorge in French). 

Another similar colloquial French expression that means ‘to piss off’ or ‘annoy’ is emmerder - though this is a bit more vulgar than enquiquiner. If you are looking for a more formal way to say you are annoyed, you could try the verb ennuyer

Use it like this

J'ai été enquiquiné pendant plusieurs mois par le goutte-à-goutte du robinet. Nous l'avons finalement réparé la semaine dernière. – The faucet dripping annoyed me for several months. We finally fixed it last week.

Je sais qu'il doit être enquiquiné par toutes mes questions.– I know he must be pissed off with all my questions.



The Local 2023/03/10 12:36

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