French Word of the Day: Pisse-froid

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French Word of the Day: Pisse-froid
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French word has little to do with a full bladder in freezing temperatures.


Why do I need to know pisse-froid?

Because if you are frustrated with someone’s constant nay-saying, then you might call them this.

What does it mean?

Pisse-froid - roughly pronounced peace-fwahd - technically translates to ‘cold piss’ in English, but it does not have to do with taking a wee in cold temperatures. 

Instead, the French word is the rough equivalent of the English expression ‘wet blanket’ or ‘killjoy’. 

It is insulting and quite colloquial, so you might want to be careful when using it casually.

The official definition is “a person whose icy or chagrined mood prevents others from enjoying themselves.”

You might use this to describe a person who always finds something to complain about, never fails to find the negative side of any situation or perhaps your friend who is a bit too rule-abiding.


There are several French synonyms for this expression, from calling someone a rabat-joie’ (killjoy) or a ‘bonnet de nuit’, which technically translates as ‘nightcap’ but really refers to a boring person who doesn't like to have fun. 

Use it like this

Ce pisse-froid a refusé tous les restaurants que j'ai proposés. - This killjoy has said no to every restaurant I have offered.

S'il te plaît, n'invite pas le pisse-froid à la fête. Personne ne veut passer la soirée avec lui. - Please don't invite that wet blanket to the party. No one wants to spend the evening with him.


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