French Word of the Day: Crevard

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French Word of the Day: Crevard
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French word is definitely not a compliment.


Why do I need to know crevard?

Because you might want to have a cup of coffee if someone calls you this.

What does it mean?

Crevard - roughly pronounced creh-varr - is a colloquial term and translates as ‘weak’ or ‘starving’. You might use it to describe someone who looks ill or exhausted, it's roughly equivalent to telling someone that they 'look like death' or 'look like death warmed up'.

As is hopefully clear, it is not very kind and should be avoided in formal settings.

You might have expected crevard to come from the verb crever (to puncture, or colloquially, to die). 


In reality, its original usage was to designate a stillborn child. Within the agricultural world, it is still used to describe a veal calf that will be slaughtered just a few days after being born.

It also has another slang meaning - a crevard can also be someone who would do anything to benefit themselves (in a negative sense), or someone who is unwilling to help others. The idea is that the crevard is on the brink of death, so they are greedy, selfish and possessive over what they have, and thus would do anything to protect themselves or their property.

Use it like this

Mec, ça va ? T’as pas dormi la nuit dernière? T’as l'air d'un crevard. - Dude, are you okay? Did you sleep last night? You look like death.

Sois pas un crevard ! Je veux juste une petite bouchée de tes frites.  - Don’t be a cheapskate! I just want a bite of your chips.


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