French Vocab

1) Une fausse bonne idée: Something that seems like a good idea and isn’t (literally, ‘a fake good idea’.)

For example, I was out the other night with a group of old friends. We were sitting in a bar deciding what to order when Anna’s gaze wandered over to the next table. Two young men in the first flush of romance were sucking a raspberry pink cocktail through two straws from an improbably large glass. “That looks good!” she said. “Why don’t we have one of those?”

To me that was your quintessential fausse bonne idée. Indeed, when we all thought about it we knew instinctively that what we were looking at was a bad idea disguised as a good one and so we all ordered Mojitos.

2) Une cochonne. This is a useful term used to describe an adult woman (any age) who seems openly to like sex. Even though the English translation for this word would probably be “a filthy or loose woman” it is important to point out that in French Cochonne is not a term of abuse even though a cochonne is obviously a female pig (the proper French word for sow is Truie). NB: The masculine version, cochon, is a term of abuse.

It can also be used as an adjective:

a) une sieste cochonne (a dirty afternoon nap)

b) une robe cochonne (a revealing, or rude dress)


4 thoughts on “French Vocab

  1. A “fausse bonne idée” is not literally, ‘a fake good idea’.

    ‘Fake’ means ‘bogus’ means ‘phoney’, and ‘fake’ implies intent to deceive.

    ‘Faux’ or ‘fausse’ can mean ‘fake’ but doesn’t always have that meaning.

    For example ‘faux pas’ or ‘fausse route’ imply a mistake or an error. ‘Tu as faux’ is what the teacher says when you get your sum wrong.

    ‘Faux en écriture’ , ‘faux billets’, however, do imply duplicity.
    faux1, fausse /fo/ , /fos/
    [result, number, idea] wrong;
    [impression, promise, accusation] false;
    [beard, tooth, eyelashes] false;
    [wood, marble, diamonds] imitation, fake;
    [door, drawer] false;
    [passport, money] forged;
    [policeman, bishop] bogus;
    [candour, humility] feigned;
    [hope] false;
    [fear] groundless;
    I haven’t found a satisfactory translation.
    None of these sounds right:
    a supposedly good idea
    an ostensibly good idea
    an apparently good idea
    a superficially good idea
    it was – on the face of it – a good idea
    a speciously good idea !!
    or simply
    a stupid good idea !

    Dare I say it ?
    ‘Faux’ is quite obviously a ‘faux ami’ !

  2. Interestingly “Une truie” is one of the most violent insults that can be made of a woman. Something akin to, in English, hearing a woman refer to another as a “cunt”; a simple term which everyone is familiar with but is rarely, if ever heard aloud. I’ve only heard the terms Truie and Cunt used twice and I, who have a rather salty tongue, blushed in shock both times at th violence of the terms.

  3. Dans le même ordre d’ (fausse bonne) idée : être attablé (e) dans un restaurant, entendre Sally mimer l’orgasme à Harry et dire au serveur : ” I want the same…”
    Ps : ce blog, en revanche est une vraie bonne idée..

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