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day 12 – twelve expressions you should use next time you’re at a party

November 12, 2008


Continuing with yesterday’s French Canadian theme, one thing I’ve really noticed since moving back are the funny little expressions Québécois use. I’d totally forgotten about them over the years and now, every time I hear one, I can’t help but crack up because my English Self does a quick mental literal translation and it just doesn’t make sense.  That’s the thing about expressions, I guess… they are indigenous to their natural habitat. However, it doesn’t mean they can’t take flight and travel around the world… so I highly encourage you to take these expressions for a spin in your own neighborhood.  Start a new trend today!  Warning: Some of these idioms aren’t exactly kosher.

1. J’pète le feu

Literal translation: I am farting fire (Oh yeah!  I do this all the time, don’t you?)
Meaning: I’m full of energy.
How to use it:  How are you?  Je pète le feu.

2. Mets-en, c’est pas d’longuent

Literal translation: Put plenty on, it isn’t ointment (I’m thinking ointment used to be very, very expensive at one time, not be used frivolously… because if it weren’t for the exorbitant price, people just might have lathered it all over like lotion).
Meaning: Don’t skimp.
How to use it:  How much gin do you want in your tonic?  Mets-en, c’est pas de l’onguent!

3. C’est pas chaud dans cabane

Literal translation: It’s not hot in this cabin.
Meaning: It’s freakin’ cold in here, yo!
How to use it:  Let me take your coat.  Ummm, no thanks, c’est pas chaud dans cabane.

4.  Y’a du monde à messe

Literal translation: There are a lot of people at church.
Meaning: This place is packed.
How to use it: When entering a room full of people… wow, y’a du monde à messe!

5.  J’ai le cul en choufleur

Literal translation: My butthole looks like cauliflower.
Meaning: Had diarrhea so many times, your ass is raw.
How to use it: How did you like those spicy bean burritos last night?  They were good going down but I’ve been to the bathroom so many times today that j’ai le cul en choufleur.

6. Ca mange quoi en hiver ça?

Literal translation: What does that eat in winter?
Meaning: Come again?  Explain, elaborate, I have no clue what you are talking about.
How to use it: What do you do for a living? I am a temporary part-time libraries North-West inter-library loan business unit administration assistant.  Ca mange quoi en hiver ça?

7.  Rose paparman

Literal translation: Peppermint pink
Tangent: You know those pink peppermints your grand-ma used to give you, the ones that look like pepto-bismol and aren’t technically candy but they are candy-ish and that’s good enough for you when you’re a kid (I suppose mints are candy cousins… or at least part of the candy family).  When I think of my grand-ma Caron, I think of pink peppermints and moth balls.  Tangent over.
Meaning: Peppermint pink. It’s a literal translation but I just like the way Québécois say paparman instead of peppermint.  Not pepperman, not paparmin, there is no hint of a “t” in there what-so-ever.  Love it!
How to use it:  What color is your car?  Well, it’s not really raspberry, it’s more rose paparman.

8.  Lâche pas la patate

Literal translation: Don’t let go of the potato.
Meaning: Don’t give up.
How to use it:  Say this to a friend who is going through a rough time.  If you want to be really deep, you can always give them a potato to hold onto as a reminder 😀

9. Grosse Corvette, p’tite quéquette

Literal translation: Big corvette, little weener.
Meaning:  The dude is compensating.
How to use it:  You get the idea.

10. Attache ta tuque

Literal translation: Tie your tuque.
Meaning:  Buckle up, get ready for a ride.
How to use it:  Something you might say before jumping out of a plane.

11.  Ca va mal à shoppe!

Literal translation: Things aren’t going well at the shop.
Meaning: Shit hit the fan.
How to use it: How’s it going?  Oof! Ca va mal a shoppe. And if you want to emphasize just how bad things are going, just add en tsitsi to the end of the sentence.

12.  En tsitsi

Literal translation: It’s not really a word, it’s a sound.
Meaning:  A lot.
How to use it:  How much did you love this blog post?  En tsitsi, mon ami.

What kind of funny expressions do you hear in your hood?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    November 13, 2008 7:23 am

    Ok…just look at this in reverse though. Shit hit the fan: La marde a frapper le ventilateur… just can’t reverse that to French! hahaha
    Love this post.
    One that I’ve heard that cracks me up is:
    C’èst serrer comme une noune de soeur. It’s as tight as a nuns vagina. Used to express how tight a knot is or a screw (proper screw Jeanine)

  2. Jeanine permalink
    November 13, 2008 7:27 am

    Chris! I was thinking the exact same thing this morning about “shit hit the fan” and had myself a good little giggle. Great sisters think alike 😀

  3. November 13, 2008 9:38 am

    Hilarious and enlightening. I’m beginning to think this internet thing has a future.

  4. Alison permalink
    November 13, 2008 12:15 pm

    I just loved this one tabar___! It’s hilarious!

  5. November 13, 2008 1:22 pm

    En tsitsi, mon ami!!! This was awesome. I want to know how to pronounce the first one!

  6. November 13, 2008 2:53 pm

    I want to know how to pronounce ALL OF THEM 😉 Not a drop of french in this girl…I enjoyed reading. Maybe I’ll just say them in English and see what kind of reaction I get.

  7. November 13, 2008 7:42 pm

    Thank you for the chuckles (rose paparman, y’a du monde à messe)! Tee hee. We used some of those in New Brunswick too when I was growing up. 🙂

  8. November 13, 2008 8:31 pm

    this made my day! I was all stressed out waiting for dinner guests, then I read this and I can’t stop giggling…that is a great post my dear…xo t

  9. November 13, 2008 10:59 pm

    LOL! I am going to bring Tie Up Your Touque to the ango world, starting right now. = )

  10. November 13, 2008 10:59 pm

    Great post! Like Steph (hi Sis! fancy meetin’ you here… :-)), I’m familiar with a lot of these from NB and got a real kick out of this post. My favourite? Hmmm, gotta be “rose paparman”. And, in regards to #8, I actually did that one year to a co-worker. Bought her a big potato with a tag “lâche pas la patate!”. Don’t know how an anglophone co-worker would relate to getting a potato in their inbox…

    Looking forward to exploring your blog and your photos (which at first glance are STUNNING!)…

  11. November 14, 2008 2:52 am

    Ha, ha, ha. Loved this one. Been awhile since I’ve used some of those expressions.

  12. November 18, 2008 1:28 pm

    hahahahA! that is hilarious.

  13. Stevie permalink
    June 13, 2013 9:31 am

    I like this! We Cajuns in south Louisiana use the lache pas la patate and it of course came from our ancestors in canada! But we use a lot of french here


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