25+ French Swear Words and Curses – Caution Advised

Swear words aren't usually taught in school. And yes, you shouldn't use them too often. But what do you do when life throws you a curveball? You relieve yourself with a juicy curse. So, what are the best French swear words?

French Swear words can add depth to your language and make it fun as well. However, use it in the wrong setting, and you will be in for big trouble.

Each swear word and curse phrase in the French language comes with its appropriate settings where it should be used. From joking around with friends or stubbing your small toe on the edge of a table, to expressing anger towards someone who has wronged you, there is a French cuss word for each occasion.

If you are learning French language or you are just tired of swearing in your native English language, you can always throw in a French swear word to make your conversations spicy. The good news is that swear words and cursing phrases have been proven to reduce stress levels. And let’s face it when angered, or agitated throwing in a swear word makes you feel quite relieved.
If you want to sound like a native French speaker, learning swearwords and curses can help you look like one especially if you regularly use swear words in your native language.

Now, let’s get to the meat of this post. In today’s post, we will share the most famous French swear words, and we have divided them into various categories to make it easier for you.
In the French language, swear words are referred to as “gros mots”– big words. They are sometimes tricky to master, especially the best place to use them. In some situations, these words and phrases are perfectly acceptable. However, when used in a particular context or way, they can be incredibly disrespectful, rude, and harsh.

Before throwing out any swear words (gros mots), ensure that you are well conversant with what you are saying and an ideal situation to use them. If you are not a French native, it can be difficult to judge the intensity of these swear words and how they will be taken. Therefore, use them with caution.

Let’s get started. Shall we?

French Swear Words

french swear words - oh la vache
Oh la vache – Holy cow!
Even French swear words sound elegant.
Image by laszlo zakarias from Pixabay.
  1. Shit!
    French Translation: Merde!
    This is one of the most common swear words in French language and literally translates to mean “shit.” You will definitely find it in many contexts in France. At times, when people want to put more emphasis, you will hear them say “MAIR-duuuhhhh” instead of just Merde (pronounced as maird).
  2. Oh, Holy Cow
    French Translation: Oh La Vache
    You may ask what is the cow doing in this phrase; no one bothers to know or care since no cow gets hurt when people use this expression. However, it is a swear word you will find being frequently used in France to express shock, surprise, disbelief, pain, and other similar instances.
  3. Burn in Hell
    French Translation: Brule en l’enfer
    This one may not seem like the most vulgar swear word out there, but it has been around for centuries. The context and the way to express “Brule en l’enfer” will determine if you are offended or not. It should be used to show dissatisfaction towards someone. We will let you use your own discretion when using this phrase.
  4. My God!
    French Translation: Mon Dieu
    This is another popular, rather mild French swear word that is used to express anger or shock over something. For instance, “Mon Dieu, she did that!”
  5. For heaven’s sake
    French Translation: Bon sang
    This is an old-fashioned way of saying something similar to “good heavens” or “for heaven’s sake.” You will hear this phrase being uttered by angry grand folks when infuriated with young ones.

French Cuss Words

  1. Whore
    French Translation: Putain/Pute
    This curse word carries a lot of weight, and you definitely need to use it with caution and maybe only when you are around your fellow boys or men. Putain or Pute literally translates to whore. In French, it tends to be used more like the curse word “Fuck” in English. You can use this word to express an emotional reaction to something, the same way “Fuck” is used in English or you can direct it to someone specific in a phrase form “ca pute” meaning “that whore.” The same way Native English speaker find it easier to use the word “fuck” in most of their daily talking, is the same way “putain” functions in French.
  2. Bitch
    French Translation: Salope
    When using this French curse word, you will probably be directing it to someone in particular rather than a crowd of people. Salope, which literally translates to bitch, is used in the same way as “bitch” in the English language. Also, just like in the English language, you can incorporate this curse word into a phrase. In English, when used as a phrase, it is said “son of a bitch,” in French, it is said as “fils de salope.” Make sure to use in contexts where there are no ladies, or at least “good ladies,” to avoid sounding insensitive. Also, use it well because you know what happens whenever you drag peoples’ mothers into the equation. It is a masculine curse word.
  3. Ass
    French Translation: Con/Conasse
    This is a popular curse word in French language and literally translates to “ass” in English. However, it is also sometimes used in the same context as “idiot.”
  4. Fuck your Mother
    French Translation: Nique ta mere
    Watch out for this curse word as it is extremely offensive! It is one of the most vulgar phrases in French and should only be reserved for situations when it is appropriate to use extreme curses. Using it carelessly will land you on problems. Therefore, use it with great caution. It is used to express a lot of anger towards an enemy or when demeaning someone.
  5. Fuck off/ bugger off
    French Translation: Casse-toi
    This is another cuss word that is quite popular in the French language. The Former French president, Sarkozy, was caught on camera saying this to a French citizen who refused to shake his hand at an Agricultural event in France. The insult can be translated to mean “bugger off” or even “fuck off.” If you combine it with another expletive like “con,” the phrase becomes even more powerful.
  6. This is Bullshit
    French Translation: C’est des conneries
    This is particularly related to “con” and can be translated to mean “this is bullshit.” It is a common phrase used in everyday life in France.
  7. Bastard
    French Translation: Salaud
    This French curse word is supposed to be used towards men – this is a point for the ladies because most French words reference women, unfortunately. Don’t use this curse word on anyone; it may sound insulting. Use it around peers who you interact with well.
  8. Imbecile
    French Translation: Imbécile
    This is similar to other curse words and should only be used with people you are close to. It is not insulting when you say it jokingly to tease your friend. However, using it with older adults or people you don’t know can land you in trouble.
  9. Wanker
    French Translation: Branleur
    This one is a bit classic and is used when you need to call someone a serious name. In the same context the word “wanker” is used in English people, is the same way it should be used in French. Take caution not to pull this word on everyone; you may land in trouble.
  10. Darn
    French Translation: Zut Alors
    This is used in similar context to darn. It should be used to express dissatisfaction or surprise. For instance, Zut Alors! I forgot my laptop charger.
  11. Damn
    French Translation: Mince/mance
    If you want a stronger word than damn, you can say, Mince, which literally translates to damn. Again this a local way of expressing how disappointed or surprised you are. It is usually a popular word used by adults when young kids are around.
  12. You really are an asshole
    French Translation: T‘es rien qu’un petit connard
    This is one of the most vulgar phrases in French language and is used when one is completely pissed off. However, it should not be used to refer to an elderly. You should use it when your peers have annoyed you.
  13. Cunt
    French Translation: Connasse
    This another curse word that is common among peers who are used to each other. It should be used to someone who is completely pissed off.

French Rude Phrases

  1. That Pisses Me Off
    French Translation: Fais Chier
    Superficially, this translation may seem harmless, but it is more insulting than it sounds here. Therefore, only use it when you are extremely pissed off. It is like telling someone, “he is such a d**k head if he left her for that whore, that pisses me off.” So be cautious when using this phrase.
    Another phrase that can translate in the same way is “Chiant/ca me fait chier.” It is commonly used in the same context. It translates to a more vulgar version of the English phrase “that shit pisses me off.”
  2. Go Fuck Yourself
    French Translation: Va te faire foutre
    This is a much more vulgar way to be extremely rude to someone. When using this phrase, you are probably burning with anger, and by using it, you will be expressing your sheer rage towards someone. You use it when you feel incredibly pissed off by someone who has done something terrible to you or said something selfish to you.
  3. I Don’t Give a Fuck
    French Translation: Je m’en fou
    Again, although you will hear this word being dropped around quite often in France, use it cautiously. The verb for “foutre” translates to “to fuck.” You will often hear it in phrase form “je m’en fou” which literally translates to “I don’t give a fuck.” Saying this while in the company of elder people will make them turn heads and look at you with astonishment. Therefore, use it with your peers when you want to show that you care less.
  4. Shut the fuck up
    French Translation: Ta Gueule
    Ever wanted to tell your friend to be quiet in a less classy way? “Te gueule” is the best way to do so. This is the rudest way possible of telling someone you are fed up with his never-ending stories. While it does not really have an equivalent or exact translation in English, we can say it loosely translates to “shut the fuck up” in English. Also, it can mean “shut your trap.” You will hear it in banter among peers, but when used in the wrong setting, it can be an insult.
  5. Piss off
    French Translation: Degage
    If using “ta gueule” is not enough to tell someone to get lost, then “degage” will do it perfectly. It literary translates to “piss off.” You should use it with people or friends that you are seriously annoyed with. Again, do not use it in any context as it can be insulting.
  6. Fuck you
    French Translation: Enculer
    You were probably waiting for this classic curse word all along. “Fuck you” will never get old, and if you thought that it is only popular in the English language, then think again. In the same context “fuck you” is used in English is “Enculer” is used in the French language.
  7. It gets me drunk
    French Translation: Cela me soûle
    This is another way to explain to someone how annoyed or bored you are. Although commonly used by teens and young people, this expression has no age limit. Therefore, anyone can express their dissatisfaction using this phrase.
  8. I don’t care
    French Translation: Je m’en fiche
    This another phrase that is used to express dissatisfaction. For instance, “We are damn late, but je m’en fiche.”

Now over to you. Did you find this post enjoyable? Which of these French swear words and curse phrases did you already know? Is there another common french cuss word we missed out on this list?

Share it with us in the comment box below!

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