The Greatest Insult: The French Language From a Non-French Speaker

Written By: M.

Anyone who has learned a second language can tell you there are some oddities you can only see in languages if it’s not your first. This is a series that will record some of the more personally intriguing bits I find about the French language.

There are some links/embedded videos in this post which have NSFW language. Open these at your own risk.

My favorite insult of all time was said by the late George Carlin, arguably the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. Most famous for his bit on the Seven Words You Cannot Say on Television (NSFW!), his legacy lives on today. This act actually made its way to the Supreme Court and began the conversation on censorship in the United States of America.

But my favorite insult did not make any waves in the justice system. It struck a chord for me — it was so specific and original. Calling someone an idiot is so boring — if you’re going to insult someone, make it original! Something like:

Dumber than a second coat of paint

That line came from Carlin’s special Life is Worth Losing. A clip from the special in embedded below.

I’m not good enough at French to adequately insult anyone, nor is that a particular goal of mine. Instead, I’m learning the basics — naming foods, introducing professions, that sort of thing. For example, I know how to say “I am a lawyer and I eat avocados”.

Je suis avocat et je mange des avocats

Yep. Lawyer and avocado share the same word: avocat. Fun right? Oh, but we’re just getting started.

Let’s say you wanted to call out a lawyer for pulling some shady business — perhaps they accepted some bribes. How would you go about doing that?

Tu es avocat pourri!

Yeah, you tell him! He is a shady lawyer! But you know what else you said?

YOU’RE AN OVERRIPE AVOCADO.

If that’s not the most personal, creative, deep cutting insult, I don’t know if I could handle any more. To be called an overripe avocado — there’s just no coming back from that! It’s such an elegant insult, I can’t help but admire how beautiful the French language is.

Do you have favorite insults?

Share them with us, you donut (also NSFW).

 

 

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