Culture / Learn Vocabulary

Utter Profanity

Whatever you do, you can’t escape either of these dirty words. So learn them now, know how to recognize them and what they mean.

1) Putain: 

oh putain 

Overused in Paris, heard all around France and beyond. Putain /pütehn/ (Listen) refers to prostitute. But as with similar curse words, it comes to bare more meanings, depending on how it’s used.

- On its own, as interjection, when angry:

Putain! Mais fais attention! (LISTEN)
Careful, damn it!

C’est quoi tout ce bordel, putain? (LISTEN)
Bloody hell! What’s that mess?

- On its own, expressing disbelief or surprise:

Putain! T’as vu ça? (LISTEN)
Holy mackerel, d’you see this?


oh dis donc putain(LISTEN)

Wow. Holy sh…!


- Or even expressing something positive :


putain qu'est-ce qu'on s'amuse(LISTEN)

Gosh, what fun!


- Inside a sentence, followed by de + noun:

putain de clebLISTEN)

Bloody dog! Will you let go of my leg?


Bad Weather2(LISTEN)

Goddamn weather!


This funny girl claims it is the only word you need to know in French. I would say IF you are in Paris, maybe.


But IF you are in Canada, you will stand out. Only the branded “French from France” people use this word over there. If in Quebec or in the rest of Canada, use…


2) Câlisse


Câlisse /kau liss/ (Listen) is a Quebec profanity coming from the church word calice (chalice). It can be translated as the English four-letter word (which ever one you choose).

It is mostly used to express anger. Câlisse can be used as…

1. noun:  Le/La câlisse
2. adjective (adding “de”): Câlisse de… 
3. verb: Câlisser


Again, that’s as noun:

le calisse m'a laissée pour une tite jeune(LISTEN)

The ba… left me for a younger woman!


… as adjective:


It itches like hell! Bloody mosquitoes!


… and as verb:


He gave him good punch in the face.



I don’t give a sh….!


Câlisse on Mad Men:


© Ouicestca 2013, tous droits réservés.

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5 thoughts on “Utter Profanity

  1. J”adore la première vidéo. Effectivement il marche dans toutes les situations au grand malheur de nos apprenants qui ont parfois bien du mal à l’utiliser car trop fort dans leur langue .. :) welcome in France !

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