What’s France’s favorite body part to flaunt linguistically?
If you thought “gluteus maximus,” you’re certainly right!
Censorship in France?
Never. No way!
If you’re ever granted the chance to travel around in France, take note of the advertisements—you won’t be let down.
This is Europe guys, and not only Europe, but France—the land of love, romantics and where nudity is a form of art.
The human body is wholly appreciated by the French, so it’s no wonder they tend to creatively incorporate it into fashion (hence the billboards) and their everyday language.
Known as libertines, through both physical and verbal expression, the French pride themselves on having a language that’s just as open and uncensored as their artwork, advertisements and public announcements.
Similar to the English language, the French enjoy their fair word “butt,” though its usage isn’t quite as blunt and abrupt.
Instead, this word is rather playful and equipped for everyday usage, just like those artistic sneak peaks of public nudity.
Here are 15 awesome expressions to add to your must-know French expression list. Just be cautious of how you use them: most of these expressions (if not all of these expressions) are only intended for casual use among good friends. Don’t go using the “butt” with coworkers, elders and other people deserving humility and respect!
You may want to use these phrases when a silly mood strikes, or when you want to speak strongly (and somewhat crudely) about a given subject. We need phrases to vent our emotions in English—you’ve simply got to have them in French as well!
15 Everyday French Phrases with the Word “Butt” You Never Knew Existed
1. Cul sec !
Cul sec ! is an expression you’ll often hear shouted out loud at a bar while shot glasses are simultaneously slammed upon tables. Cul sec, which literally translates to “butt dry” or “bottom dry,” is an everyday French phrase to say, “bottoms up!” or “drink up!” usually with the expectation of drinking the drink all in one shot.
Cul sec simply refers to, as the English equivalent does, what the bottom of a shot glass might look like (a bit on the dry side) after shooting it down your throat with squinted eyes.
So when you’re out experiencing French nightlife at a bar, café or club and you’re preparing to take shots, make a toast first by saying “santé !” (cheers!) or “chin, chin !” (literally the sound glasses make when they “cling, cling” together) and then shriek:
Cul sec ! (Bottoms up!)
2. Tête dans le cul !
Yes, tête dans le cul ! sounds a tad bit vulgar, but let’s think French—they don’t like to be bleeped, seriously. In English it literally translates to having your “head in your butt” or “head up your butt.” If we’re familiar with our own English language, we’ll know that this hints at someone who’s “too consumed” with themselves.
But tête dans le cul in French takes on a different meaning, and is most notably said by parents to younger children whilst eating breakfast, unable to keep their eyes open.
Qu’est-ce que tu fais là ! T’as la tête dans le cul ? (What are you doing! Are you fully awake?)
Sounds harsh, I know, but tête dans le cul is an everyday French way to say, “still dreaming,” “still in bed” or “foggy” headed/minded.
Certainly you wouldn’t say this first thing in morning amidst conversation with your French boss, unless they’re your best friend or you’ve established a strongly casual relationship. This is a colloquial phrase. Key word: “colloquial.”
To learn the differences between colloquial speech and business-friendly language in French, FluentU is the way to go.
FluentU is a convenient and natural way to pick up expressions and idioms commonly used by native speakers. After watching the videos, you can also add those terms to the in-app vocab list or flashcard set, and possibly quiz yourself later on to put your French knowledge to the test.
Check out these features for yourself by signing up for a free trial.
3. Ras le cul !
When you feel like “you’ve had it up to here” with learning French, or when you’re on your “last straw,” on “the verge” or on the “edge,” ras le cul is the perfect phrase to express those feelings:
Ras le cul de toutes ces règles de grammaire française ! (I’ve had it up to here with all these French grammar rules!)
Literally, ras le cul translates to “overflowing butt” or “butt filled up.” Ras is a tricky word to translate, as it technically means “to graze,” “to skim or the “brim” of something, so think of your butt being up to the “brim” and “overflowing” to the point of no return—or perhaps you’d rather not think of that. Once again, this expression is quite colloquial and crude.
A “softer” version that you could also use is ras le bol, which refers to an overflowing bowl rather than a butt!
4. La bouche en cul de poule !
This one’s a little on the weird side and isn’t considered much of an expression. Instead, it’s more of a gesture.
The name of the gesture is cul de poule, which translates to, “butt of chicken.” In case you’ve never looked at a chicken’s butt before, it’s similar to that of a fish’s face. Do you see the resemblance?
No? Well I don’t to either, but when a French person has their bouche (“mouth”) en cul de poule, it’s the equivalent of an English speaker making a “fishy face”—you know, those childish instances when you suck in your cheeks so that your mouth looks a fish’s. It can also refer to the “duck face” that certain selfie-takers make and post on social media.
Ras le cul des bouches en cul de poule sur les selfies! (I’ve had it up to here with duck faces on selfies!)
The French have other words that could be used to describe those types of gestures too, but oddly they can only see the butt-BLEEP of a chicken instead.
—Okay, now go laugh this one off.
5. Et mon cul, c’est du poulet ?
Oh, how the French love their chickens. Fun fact: roosters (the gallic rooster) are the country’s national symbol, which is why poulet (chicken) is so popular in French culture and expression.
Et mon cul, c’est du poulet ? (And my butt, is it made of chicken?)
If it was, it could help end world hunger!
This expression is a sarcastic one, and said in a tone that echoes “yeah, right!” or “in your dreams!” Basically letting no one take you for a fool. Our English idiomatic equal would be, “I wasn’t born yesterday.”
Oui, oui ! J’ai fait tous mes devoirs... (Yes, yes! I’ve done all my homework…)
Et mon cul, c’est du poulet mon chéri ? (I wasn’t born yesterday, my dear.)
6. Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles !
Aside from chickens, noodles are another ingredient on the French butt phrase list.
Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles, “to have a butt full of noodles,” is an everyday saying for being “lucky” or “getting really lucky.”
Noodles? They’re absolutely delicious of course! And though they’re not really a staple of French food—when found on a French menu, consider it lucky! Because the French know how to make anything taste good.
English idiom equivalent to avoir le cul bordé nouilles? I would say something along the lines of “sitting pretty” or “luck of the draw.”
T’as obtenu une augmentation de salaire aujourd’hui ? T’as vraiment cul bordé de nouilles ! (You got a raise today? Lucky you!)
7. Dans le cul, Lulu !
Who is Lulu? Apparently it’s attributed to every French person in existence, or rather, a general population who’s blamed to be the source of “bad luck” for someone getting “screwed” or “finagled.”
Dans le cul, Lulu translates to “in the butt, Lulu” —now don’t you be asking your French teachers about this one, but it’s an everyday French way to say “you got ripped off.” It might not sound too nice, but if you want to play the French part, try using the expression on yourself rather than others. It’ll definitely lighten up the mood while you come across as an advanced speaker.
J’ai fait tomber mes clefs dans le caniveau, dans le cul, Lulu ! (I dropped my keys in the gutter, dang!)
8. À se taper le cul par terre !
Ever laugh so hard you fall over and roll around the floor? It happens to the best of us, and Americans have invented acronyms for these scenarios such as ROFL and LMAO.
How about ROFLMAO? You get the picture if you grew up with AOL. If you didn’t, well, the French have an expression for it too, à se taper le cul par terre ! which means “to bounce your butt on the floor!”
Why a bouncing butt? Well, instead of rolling on the floor laughing, the French are bouncing their butts from giggling so hard because à se taper le cul par terre is an everyday French way to say something is “funny” or “excellent!”
C’est génial, c’est à se taper le cul par terre ! (It’s awesome, best thing since sliced bread!).
9. Coincé du cul !
Like their English counterparts, the French have a friendly way of saying someone is a “stuck-up snob” or “uptight.” Coincé du cul, which literally translates to, “stuck of butt” or “stuck in butt,” is whatever you can imagine it should be, so reserve this one for close French friends or family!
Elle est coincée du cul ou quoi ? (Is she a snob or what?)
10. Cul-de-jatte !
The French seriously have a phrase for everything, from someone who’s a fake smoker and puffs improperly, to the sound flatulence makes.
And luckily there’s a French phrase for people without legs that’s associated with the word “butt.”
Cul-de-jatte, which literally translates to, “bottom of a vase” or “butt of vase,” is an idiomatic way to say, “I don’t have any legs,” such as a “legless” person. Cul-de-jatte is an expression specifically meant for a person missing legs only, it doesn’t apply to arms or other body parts.
Though it’s a terribly fun fact, hopefully you won’t be sincerely practicing this phrase anytime soon, unless it’s to make a joke, like this:
Si je ne retire pas mes chaussures, je vais finir comme un/une cul-de-jatte ! (If I don’t take these shoes off, I’m going to end up legless!).
11. Cul-cul !
“Yes, yes—I mean, no, no,” this is what someone who’s not the “brightest tool in the box” might sound like.
Cul-cul, which can also be spelled as cul cul, or cucul—I prefer the dash example, because a lot of French phrases go well with dashes—is a French way to describe something that’s silly, corny or goofy. Imagine a silly comedy filled with clichés and a ridiculously happy ending…that’s the type of thing that you’ll want to call cul-cul.
Ce film est nul ! (This movie is worthless.)
C’est vrai qu’il est un peu cul-cul. (It’s true it’s a little silly.)
12. Cul terreux !
“Butt terror!” It’s coming for you!
Okay, not really what cul terreux translates to, but that’s what you totally might think it means since it sounds the same.
Terreux, deriving from the word terroir, actually means “dirt” or “earth.” It also refers to “terrain,” which is a certain type of “soil.” Terreux is one of those false cognates, so be sure to avoid any confusions here.
Now that we know what terreux truly translates to, let’s put our phrase together: cul terreux ! Yep, “dirt butt!”—not dirty, but “dirt” or “earthen butt!”
This phrase is for those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and butts muddy. A cul terreux is a “farmer,” “field worker” or someone who loves and lives off the land (agriculture).
Like our English equivalents, such as “sweat back” and “redneck,” this phrase holds negative connotations, but you never know when you might run into it. Now you’ll know that you should be properly offended by the term, rather than nodding and smiling in agreement while assuming that you understand.
J’étais au marché, il y avait beaucoup de cul terreux. (I went to the street market, and there were a lot of rednecks.).
13. Faux cul !
If you like shopping, you might have partly seen this word before. Does faux fur ring a bell? Then you’ll know that this fur isn’t the real stuff. That’s okay, though, because it’s less expensive and helps save an animal or two.
If you’re still not catching on, faux means “fake” and faux cul is, you guessed it, “fake butt.”
Faux cul is one those self-evident everyday French phrases, but it doesn’t refer to butt implants! Faux cul depicts someone who’s fake or who’s a hypocrite, and we know there’s a ton of those in all languages.
C’est un faux cul. (He’s a hypocrite.)
Plus faux cul que ça et tu meurs! (You can’t be any more fake than that!)
14. Péter plus haut que son cul !
To those Peters out there, this phrase isn’t about you! You’re not the center of the world. Geez. And if you assumed that this phrase was referring to you, then maybe it does fit. It’s used to point out people who are “arrogant” or “conceited.” Oh, you’re so vain.
Péter plus haut que son cul ! Literally means “to fart higher than your own butt.” Péter with an accent is “to fart,” not a name. Pierre would actually be the French version of Peter. Okay, that’s quite enough talk about Peter since this isn’t about him anyway.
Péter plus haut que son cul would be the French way to say “don’t think your smell don’t stink” or “to be too big for one’s boots.” If someone is acting aloof and shooting off rude insults about your language skills, kill them with this:
Arrête du péter plus haut que ton cul ! (Stop acting like your smell don’t stink!).
15. Avoir le cul entre deux chaises !
This phrase is exactly what you think it is, and if you’re at an intermediate level of French then I take it you can translate it perfectly.
Avoir le cul entre deux chaises, “to have your butt between two chairs,” is almost physically impossible and rather uncomfortable, if you see where I’m going with this. You’d be “stuck in the middle,” and that’s exactly what avoir le cul entre deux chaises means.
This phrase refers to being caught in a dilemma or problem, or feeling caught—kind of like that feeling you get when you’re tongue-tied from switching back and forth between English and French. Avoir le cul entre deux chaises can be a physical feeling, but an emotional one as well.
À cause de ça, j’ai le cul entre deux chaises ! (Because of that, I’m stuck in the middle!).
And that’s all folks.
The butt show’s over!
Now take your freaky French list of everyday “butt” phrases, apply them and share them with the world.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.