Y en a marre! Cussing in French

Y en a marre! /yawn ah marr/ LISTEN means I am fed up! 

It is used when one is (very) frustrated. It’s not a bad word per say, but it’s intimate. Too intimate for, say, a job interview. The way it is uttered is almost as important as the words themselves.

Compare these three pronunciations:

J’en ai marre   and   J’en ai marre  vs  J’en ai marre

Which one of the three is most effective, do you think?

Optional: you can also state what you are frustrated about:

Y en a marre de ça!
I’m fed up with this!

yen a marre 2


Here it is deconstructed:

Il. y. en. a. marre

1. Il y en a:

Comes from Il y a (there is). Il y en a means There is some.

2. Marre:

No relation with the word “mare”, pronounced the same, but meaning pond, as in “la mare aux canards” (duck’s pond).

“Marre” comes from the defunct nautical word “marréage”, meaning merchandise.  Somehow, 200-300 years ago, “avoir marre” became an expression among sailors that meant freight payment, which was bad news. Anywho, I didn’t even know this myself until a few minutes ago when I researched it on Wikipedia, so, really, I don’t think it’s critical to know where the expression came from in order to use or understand it. Let’s just say it became frozen and always used with “en” (some).

3. Avoir marre:

avoir marre (de X) = to be fed up (with X)

J’en ai marre (de…);  Tu en as marre (de…); On en a marre (de…)  etc.

Somehow both “y en a marre (de…)” and “J‘en ai marre (…)” can be used. Y en a marre could stand for I am fed up, however, it is a bit more impersonal, so it can also be used collectively.

4. Se marrer

Do not confuse J’en ai marre /Jon nay marr/ (LISTEN) and Je me marre /Jmuh marr/ (LISTEN).

Se marrer (Je me marre, Tu te marres, On se marre…) means to have a good laugh.

AAA Qu'est-ce qu'on se marre



Finally, you can hear “Y en a marre”  in Stromae’s recent release, “Tous les mêmes” (check out the end):


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