putain – (poo-TUH)
The French use (and overuse) “putain” so it’s a great word to start sprinkling into your English.
What Does Putain Mean?
Putain literally refers to a prostitute, but the interjection, “putain!” is closer to a more profane version of “damn!” The French use this word so frequently, however, that even though they may use it in every other sentence, the average Parisian will not even notice it.
How To Use Putain
-At the beginning of a sentence:
“Putain, the traffic this morning has been awful…”
-As an adjective:
“This putain de voiture (poo-TUH duh vwa-TOUR – lit, “whore of a car”) kept honking at me…”
-As an interjection:
(upon seeing the “parking lot full sign”) “Ah, putain!”
Use Your Discretion
Putain is an incredibly common word and frequently finds its way into casual conversation despite its negative literal meaning. However, like most slang, use some discretion when speaking with:
-An Older French Person
-A French Business Colleague You’ve Just Met
-Someone of Distinguished Stature
Do you curse in French? Other languages that aren’t your native tongue? Let me know in the comments!