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November 09, 2007



this is brilliant
i'm so laughing right now

Ms. Glaze

Glad you liked it! I was just thinking the other day of what a beautiful language French is and how different it sounds in the French kitchen. ;-)


Hi Ms G !

// Qu'est-ce que c'est ça? // is generally more like "What the f$%h is that ?" (grin)

None of the French described here should be used with people that one doesn't know - well.

Never, ever, under any circumstances. The consequences may be irreparable !

Amerloque loves this blog ...



OK, so I have been lurking and reading your blog for about a year now. I've been reading it to my 12 yr. old daughter who wants to become a chef. And today I had to read it to my husband who used to live in Paris and knows all about the French kitchen.
He is a ceramicist and we sell his artwork for a living. So today while in our booth at yet another art show I will say to him, "Oh whore. What is that. WWHAT IS THAT. It is crap.....
We'll have good laugh. Thanks.
BTW...I totally missed that you got your visa finally...are you back in the same kitchen? If so, that's great.


ha! I used "déguelasse" once to an ex-boyfriend's 5 year old niece. "Dégoûtant, dégoûtant," he corrected me very quickly, and then lectured me on my potty-mouth later.

but it goes both ways-- once nicolas heard me say I didn't give a flying fuck about something (I must have been angry) and then he started to use it all the time, in the most inappropriate moments. E.g., "Nicolas, what would you like for dinner?" "I don't give a flying fuck."

Ms. Glaze

Amerloque – I absolutely love your blog too! Wide Grin ;-)

Madre Terre – I'm so happy that your not angry with me for using bad words! When I first read your comment and saw that you read my posts to your daughter I just about feinted. I'm an old school teacher so you can imagine my horror! This post is a little more naughty than normal ;-)

Maitresse – Yes I just don't understand the difference really between dégoûtant and déugelasse. When I translate them i feel that they are both equal. But as you well know, this is not the case. Oh well, who gives a flying f*ck anyway? Btw, sorry things didn't work out with the SF hook-up. I was off-line for such a long time with my apartment move and your message got buried. ;-(


This is hilarious. I apprenticed for a summer in an Italian restaurant, and Italian chefs do this, too.


Here's your response to that particular chastisement, especially if you wanna get kicked outta that kitchen so fast like Remy, the Rat:

TA GEULE! (ta gull)

Why in heaven's name saying your muzzel is so insulting, inquiring minds need to know!
Please tell us Amy :)
Et BIG merci!

Ms. Glaze

Ah yes, the infamous TA GUELE! One of my favs. I should have included that one. I definitely have heard many a "ta guele connard" (shut up butt hole). I don't know how the words 'your mouth' got turned into 'shut up'. The French are so silly sometimes. Then there's also TAIS TOI which means the same thing but is slightly more parental in tone instead of humiliating.

Oh the possibilities...


After reading your blog for a year or so, I got up the nerve to ask the chef at my favorite restaurant whether I could do a week's apprenticeship. It's always been a dream of mine to work in a such kitchen.

I knew that it was physically strenuous, but it is even more so than I imagined. I certainly tip my hat to you...

I wrote a short summary of my experience (http://yumyumcafe.blogspot.com/2007/11/sailing-versus-cooking.html#links).

In keeping with this post, there was an incident when one of the cooks was complaining to another cook, that his dough was not the right consistency; he was having trouble making it thin enough. The colleague's response to this complaint, "What do you want... you don't have to wipe your ass with it?"

Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes



I am in love with MSG


This made me laugh. When I was learning French, my husband taught me the slang, and his mother taught me proper French, thankfully!

So..."ta gueule" was originally "ferme ta gueule," which makes a little more sense.

Also, and I don't mean to be pedantic, French has different "levels" of language: familier, courant, and soutenu. So "dégueulasse" is familier, "dégoûtant" is courant, and "ceci n'est pas bon" would be soutenu. (I don't speak much français soutenu, so that's the best I could come up with.)

Gawd, I love French! The suffix -asse is generally negative, and adds real emphasis to the word. Connasse is worse than conne. It's better to be a blonde than a blondasse.

And one more thing...the verb that dégueulasse comes from, dégueuler, is slang for "to vomit."

Putain, des fois ça me fait chier de ne plus vivre en France !

Stu "El Inglés" Harris

Department of obscene etymology:

'Dégueulasse' is from the verb 'dégueuler', to throw up. That in turn is from the vulgar 'gueule' for face. The -asse ending is just slapped on anything that's found despicable. So 'sickening' would be a better translation, in theory. The one I really love is 'dégobiller' which is the same verb with even more expressive vulgarity.

'ta gueule' is simply a contraction of 'ferme ta gueule'. Note that it's only used between people who are on tu-toi terms!!

'fait chier' is not so much 'take a shit' as 'makes me shit'. Translation of this is as problematical as the closely-related 'enmerdant' or 'enmerdeuse'. We really don't say 'enshitting' or 'an enshitting female' but maybe we should.

Stu "El Inglés" Harris

Haha, sorry for the repetition. Alison and I posted simultaneously.

Ms. Glaze

Stu & Allison – You guys are wondeful! Thanks for explaining these necessary vulgar terms with such clarity! It's really just fascinating to me. I'll have to give that new word a try: dégobiller. That will really catch everyone off gaurd. I've been picking up a little Verlain (sp?) too and that always seems to make everyone fall about laughing.
GB – You're making me blush!
Lori - Thanks! I love yur blog!
Lilalia – Just read your post and it's fantastic. great story and bon courage with your stage. Don't take no shit from no shit!

Stu "El Inglés" Harris

I've never heard 'dégobillasse' but it ought to work, in theory....

Mad William

That is too funny.
When I was cooking in San Diego I learned Spanish in the kitchen. I can not believe the things they taught me. None of which can be used in public. It took me about a year and a half to realize they were teaching me every nasty word or phrase they could.

Kitchens are so much fun.


"ta gueule" (not geule) appeared as the short version of "ferme ta gueule" (shut up your mouth). Don't use that in public that's rude ;)

For degoutant and degueulasse, the difference is only in the level of language, one is "familiar" the other is "vulgar".

Kelly Mahoney

HA! I notice that when people first start learning a language, it's usually the curse words that they learn first.


Ms. Glaze,

Anytime you have a question about French vocab, spelling, or slang, don't hesitate to ask me!

I do miss living in France and using the language. French is so colorful, even when you're not being vulgar.

Stu, I didn't know "dégobiller," but I will say that it's "emmerdant" and "emmerdeuse." ;-)

Cassoulet Cafe

I was taught some Verlain also, and everytime I use it, I get a roar of laughter ;) Z-y-va is the best one for laughs...also zarbi for bizarre.
My husband accidentally said 'chier' instead of chien and WOW that was a real shocker to everyone standing around after church ;) thankfully we have great friends who corrected him and had a big laugh.


dégoûtant is much better for dégeulasse because of yes, the level but also why each of those words fits into that level. goûter is a human experience, to taste, distaste, etc... geule refers to "the face" but specifically the face of an animal. it is a dehumanizing word which when used, becomes vulgar or insulting.

both mean "gross" but in completely different moments/contexts. you have done exactly what every language learner has done at different times and that is to pick the wrong "register" for the occasion. it's normal, and nothing, at all, to be ashamed of...

Tonya R

fabulously funny post. Great start to a book (hint hint). Thanks for making my day.

Ms. Glaze

How did you know I'm writing a book!?!?!?

Alain Q.

Great post !

But mind you ; conasse is not exactly the female equivalent of conard.

Conard is what you described. Conasse is even more vulgar and derogatory, with clear sexual meanings. Nobody would call you that, not even in a French kitchen. Never never use it.


I am currently 5 weeks into my CAP Cuisine here in Paris, with a stage at La Fontaine Gaillon and 1 Saturday in a more chilled out restaurant in the 20th (Le Zephyr).

A friend of mine (who did the same course as me last year - www.mademoiselleq.com) told me about your site. Your posts concerning your stage and work experience are of particular interest to me. I'll follow your posts with interest.

Where abouts are you working at the moment ?

I'm just discovering the world of cookery blogs here in France - there are so many (from the blog directory blog-appetit there are over 300 I think). Your blog is pretty well organised and has a good mix of photos, text and film.

Bonne continuation et à bientôt.

Cheers, Dom

Ms. Glaze

Alain – You're right. Connasse is vulgar and rarely used. But I have heard it. Only once.

Dom – Thanks and bon courage with your upcoming stage! Thanks for clueing me into Monique's blog.


Try using "connasse" in speaking to a guy. That'll get a rise out of everyone.





To funny!
Seems to me a regular vocabulary for any decent French kitchen! I work in a 100% latino kitchen now so you could add on so many other terms you wouldn't repeat around certain people,just in Spanish though! I was in the army so this is just normal vocabulary anyway, especially for mess cooks?


It's so funny how, as a foreigner living in France, it just becomes habit to use certain colorful terms in our everyday language, as they just don't sound so "bad" to us... I had gotten into a bad habit of peppering my language with "putain" or even "putain de bordel de merde" when I was REALLY upset, but now I've toned down a bit, mainly after it was explained to me how beyond "unladylike" it was! Ha. And yet most of the time I try to avoid our own English dirty language... Um, MOST of the time! (OK, no one out there make a liar out of me...)

Loved this post, Amy! I think people in the métro can give you dirty looks for lots of things, though, so I wouldn't worry about using a little "putain" from time to time - I get dirty looks for MOVING the wrong way, for God's sakes!


Magnifique! Tres bien fait! I love your description of the French kitchens.


This is a great post, but there is a mistake here that needs to be clarified. The word "con" doesnt mean butthole, but rather, dick. Its rarely used in sexual terms these days, but not so long ago people would refer to the male's sexual organ as "un con".

When you refer to something as "con" as in "c'est vraiment con, ce truc", it means "this thing is really dumb". "Con" is primarily a comment on stupidity. As in, "cette emission de tele est vraiment con" which means "this TV show is really dumb".

When applied to person, it retains the same meaning of stupidity but with the added sense of meanness, which is where it overlaps with the asshole sense a little. Such as "il est vraiment con ce mec" to say "that guy is really dumb" or "elle est vraiment conne" for a female.

The word "connard" and "conasse" are simply nouns made from "con", which is an adjective. Unless you say "ce mec est un con" which would translate to "that guy is a dick." When used as an adjective implication is this person is as dumb as dick.

To say asshole in French, you would say "trou-du-cul". You can abbreviate it to say "trou d'uc", as in "qu'es ce que to fais, trou d'uc?" which means "what are you doing, asshole?"

Finally, "c'est de la merde" means "this is shit", as in "c'est de la merde ce fauteuil Ikea" means "this Ikea armchair is a piece of shit."

Thanks for the fun post!


I so enjoyed your story about the French language. I have tears in my eyes from laughing so much. Thank you!

Ms. Glaze

Matthew Rose – Great witty advice as always. When's the next art show?!?!

GB – You're hillarious. Thanks for the email

Jeremy – It's great to know that some things are universal. Namely, kitchen abuse.

Alice – Your comment is timely because I was having a conversation with a girlfriend about how talking in a different language doesn't feel as personal sometimes. She's French, but often finds herself telling stories or secrets in English that she would never dream of in her first language. It's almost like talking with another person's voice. And swear words of course, just don't hold the same weight. They sound funny not hurtful in another language.

Amy – Thanks! (from another Amy)

Seyo – You're absolutely right about the "con" traslation. Thanks for adding that. I didn't want to use the word 'dick' in my post because to me it's so much more vulgar that 'asshole'. And of course 'butt hole' is really a more humourous way of saying the previously menitoned. I don't know why I feel that way. I suppose it depends on what generation your are because my younger brother-in-law uses it all the time. And yes my ikea arm chair is a piece of shit too.

Perry – Glad you liked it! And I'm glad I got away with writing it without too much controversy ;-)

Sara - Piperita

I cannot stop laughing!
It's so true!
And basically are the same words that you need if you drive in the south of France... ;-)

Stu "El Inglés" Harris

Now for a bit of culture... anybody remember what the first line of dialogue in "A Bout de Souffle" is??

"Je suis con"

It was subtitled "I'm an idiot" if I remember correctly, and you could tell who in the audience understood french from their guffaws.


I am laughing so hard right now. Thanks for the refresher - it's been a while since I did my semester abroad, and I'd forgotten some of these...


I like words ... their origin, their life- and liveS !- even those... they also are part of our heritage !
As many of your readers say, it's a matter of "level" of language...

Let me add a few things !
First I have to correct Seyo about word "con".
It is a vulgar word to talk about the FEMALE sex (you can check in any French dictionary !)
So if you say "con / conne" to a woman, you reduce her to her sex (which is a metonymy)
If you say "con" to a man, you insult him by giving him the wrong sex through your image (which is a metaphor)
Now "con" has passed into daily language, it all depends on the situation and on the way you say it... I can say "je suis con", then it means "I'm stupid", reproaching myself with a mistake or whatever.
If you hear somebody saying "gros con" agressively or contemptuously, then it becomes an insult just as "connard" or "connasse". Those words fly easily from cars ....

Ms. Glaze

Marie-Noële – Thanks for the correction! I had heard it the other way around too, but now that I'm doing some checking it looks lke you're right.


Now to word "dégueulasse".

Same meaning as "dégoûtant". The former is colloquial, the latter is general use.
"dé- goût- ant" originally meaning deprived of/without taste, alike "dis- gust- ing"

"Dégueulasse" comes from "dégueuler" (=throw up) coming from "gueule" (dé- GUEUL- asse).
So bad that you have to throw up.
Then it moved to other fields.
The word GUEULE is the mouth of an animal (a carniverous animal). I would never ever say "mouth" talking about my dog or cat.
It becomes an insult when you attribute it to a human being.

Words live and their meaning can be displayed with years... (or centuries)
"Ta gueule" for "ferme ta gueule" is rude (=shut up)
"gueuler" (=to bawl) means to shout or speak too loud - slang.
Expression "gueuler comme un veau" = to shout like a veal - slang.

"Il a une belle gueule" = he's nice looking
or "une belle gueule d'amour" = he's a nice-looking man (that women love)
"ça/il a de la gueule" - familiar (= it/he has an air)
"la gueule de bois" (= a hangover)

and also:
"c'est une fine gueule" (he likes and knows good food- familiar word for "gourmet"
"un gueuleton" = a banquet - fam. word - also commonly used in the countryside.

Here is an interview that will teach you a lot.
JP Coffe now writes books, shows up in TV popular programs.
His "c'est d'la merde" and "c'est dégueulasse" have become very popular


A commercial using him, his "belle gueule" and one of his best expression:

Anne Slater

Mad William's expl. of the origin of "dégeulasse" was very welcome: I learned it from my children (then 8 1/2) who learned it at their école in rural France in 1972. Since then no one has been able to tell me exactly why it is so awful. Now I know. It really is Not Nice Language.

The implication of "ta geule" (gullet) is that you are an animal, not a human (la gorge).


Very funny post!
To complete your vocabulary about con/conne, there's also "c'est une bite" for saying that someone sucks a lot at something. ("C'est une bite aux jeux vidéos" --> he sucks at video games)
"bite" means dick, it's pronounced "bit" -insist on the "e" sound in the middle- and it can be pretty insulting and is very familiar.

Back to culinary trashy langage, there's the adjective "gerbant". You can say "c'est gerbant" when it's more than "dégueulasse". (--> It makes you want to puke)
Gerbant comes from "la gerbe", a slang term for "vomit". For example somebody who's ill or too drunk would say "J'ai la gerbe" or employ the verb "gerber" --> "j'ai envie de gerber" (means "I wanna puke").

Ms. Glaze

Wow! I think we've pretty well defined all the bad words in France. Most of them at least. Thanks everyone ;-) I wasn't expecting this to be such a comment provoking post, but I've really enjoyed reading all the additions and corrections. Gros Bisous, Ms. Glaze


Oh, this is priceless.

My french husband taught me everything he knows in terms of filthy language, and the comments here are a valuable reminder of his meticulous lessons. With one exception - I had never heard "degobiller" before. I would say that I look forward to using it, but surely it would be preferable not to. Tell you what, just for you, I'll use it in the car between Gare du Nord and home when I arrive tonight. That's my challenge.

One point, alluded to by someone else already - as well as an intro to kitchen french, this can be used as a very valuable lesson in communication while driving. In paris. During a strike.

(nothing can better my tunisian taxi driver recently, though, who at one point took both hands off the wheel to shrug eloquently, while sighing "mais qu'est-ce que tu fais?" (what are you doing?) under his breath to another driver who had just done something idiotic. Innocent enough, but absolutely hilarious, coming out of the mouth of this wrinkly old man with one long tooth in the front of his smile... he hadn't realised he was speaking in french rather than ?berber, and laughed with us when he realised he had done so. It's become a catchphrase between us.)


not to worry! we found a cute hotel near union square, all worked out. just back from napa in time for t-giving. hope yours was lovely. à bientôt à paris...

Sam Jung

I just caught your vids on youtube and thought I'd look you up and I happen to find your blog. Awsome! I did a little stage in France too and I did some of the exact things you do. I still swear in French when I'm driving and a car cuts me off or something. Thanks to you, I can now translate what the crazy French chefs are saying now! Did you ever mention what salup translates to? I hear that a lot too. Keep up the nice blogs!


Love it, love it, love it! Keep up the nice blogs!
Entertaining yes, but highly informative for one who is trying to polish his insulting skills.

A well uttered insult is never derogatory. Don't read into what is not there.
An insult is an insult, and nothing less!
Enjoy it.

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