FR phoque / foc in the expression "pédé comme un phoque"

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by clopac, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. clopac Senior Member

    Boston
    French - France
    MODERATOR NOTE: This thread has been split from an earlier thread "pédé comme un phoque", which discusses the variety of equivalent English expressions for the French expression.

    This new thread discusses the etymology of the words foc/phoque/folk as it relates to the above French expression.


    NOTE DE LA MODÉRATION : Ce fil provient d'un fil précédent, " pédé comme un phoque ", qui traite des équivalents en anglais de l'expression française.

    Ce nouveau fil discute de l'étymologie des mots foc/phoque/folk par rapport à l'expression française en question.

    [...]

    By the way, on dit "pédé comme un foc"(la voile du bateau qui prend le vent par l'arrière) et non phoque l'animal
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  2. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    "Pédé comme un phoque" est la seule variante que j'ai jamais vu depuis 20 ans que j'habite en France ; on m'a expliqué ce cela vient non pas de l'animal mais d'un jeu de mots bilingue phoque/f*ck.

    Il existe en anglais l'expression "as queer as fuck", retranscrit dans le titre d'un feuilleton télévisé comme : "Queer as folk".

    Autrement, j'aime l'expression "As camp as a row of pink tents".
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  3. tluaertetl New Member

    english - USA
    La vrai expression "c'est pédé comme un foc"....parce que elle est une voile d'un bateaux qui prend du vente en derrière, ya rien avoir avec l'animal. gay as it gets, i suppose would be the best response, though we dont really have a direct translation. the ones listed above are pretty humourous.
     
  4. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I think that this is another of those expressions where everybody will come up with their own etymology and argue about foc/phoque till the cows come home. Usually in this type of case, I apply Ockam's razor and go for the simplest explanation; to my mind this is a straight borrowing from the English "as queer as fuck". Who on earth dreamt up a relationship with seals or sails? That would be queer!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
  5. William1234 New Member

    French
    'There's nought so queer as folk' English saying (East Anglia, North). From that old-fashioned expression comes the title of the famous TV drama. So no borrowing from the English for 'pédé comme un foc'. The French expression (old-fashioned as well) has been used for quite a long time. I agree, francophones do borrow words and phrases from the English languages but not always!
     
  6. Jocaste

    Jocaste Senior Member

    Français
    C'est faux.
    La vraie expression est "pédé comme un phoque".

    Cf : Beaucoup de personnes pensent que la véritable expression est "pédé comme un foc". Eh bien, non ! L’expression véritable s’écrit "pédé comme un phoque". L’écrire autrement est une faute (Dictionnaire des expressions et locutions", d’Alain REY et Sophie CHANTREAU).

    source
     
  7. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    仏(佛)法語צרפתית Clodoaldien
    On devrait ouvrir un autre fil pour cette histoire de phoque et de foc .
    Moi, je voterais plutot pour foc et l'histoire de
    (en pensant aussi a "à la voile et à la vapeur", même si pas vraiment de rapport ...) car que viennent faire les phoques dans cette histoire, on ne sache pas que l'homosexualité soit particulièrement répandue chez ces phocidés (j'aime cette fin de phrase) ...
     
  8. Viobi

    Viobi Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Françoué (standard)
    [...]

    Autre explication, inverse (vraie? aucune idée):
    "D'après nos analyses très poussées sur la question et nos connaissances en matière de voile, d'expressions françaises et d'homosexualité,
    nous pouvons attester que l'expression correcte est "PD comme un FOC ".
    Car, quand on veut tourner face au vent, la grand voile change rapidement de côté mais ce n'est que quand le foc bascule lui aussi que le bateau change de direction. Il est donc décisif dans la manœuvre. En résumé, le foc permet de "virer de bord"... relatif à l'expression plus connue désignant un changement d'orientation sexuelle.
    De plus, en soutenant notre camarade quelques commentaires plus haut, l'expression " à voile et à vapeur" (bisexuel) ne vient-elle pas elle aussi du monde marin ? "

    Plis de détails
     
  9. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    The problem with all these assertions is that etymology doesn't mean "what an interesting coincidence". It means "I have documentary proof that at such and such a date, such and such a person used this phrase in the following way/with the following spelling".

    Gimme some historic evidence. Otherwise we can all think up our own "eymologies" and they'll probably be some far-fetched acronym.
     
  10. LILOIA Senior Member

    I'm sorry to have to say that, but who on earth would borrow an English word to coin an old phrase ? A word that the French don't pronounce "fock", anyway. I agree with William1234.
     
  11. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I quite agree. And who on earth would liken gays to seals? And who on earth would dream up a complex relationship between sails and homosexuality? All these sound totally ridiculous, and only hard historical facts can help us through.

    You say "old phrase"; which one and what date?

    (PS: many English-speakers pronounce fuck as /fok/.)
     
  12. wistou Senior Member

    Toulouse, France
    French - France
    L'idée des phocidés serait une fausse idée, quelle déception ?
     
  13. Tidoudoux Senior Member

    French - France
    A mon avis la vraie origine de cette expression c'est perdue au fil du temps, c'est souvent le cas.

    Par exemple "qui dort dine" ne veut pas dire qu'en dormant on peut sauter un repas. Ça vient des auberges d'autre fois ou cet écriteau indiquait qu'un client qui passait la nuit devait forcement prendre un repas sur place.

    Ou "au temps pour moi" que tout le monde écrit "autant pour moi".
     
  14. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Si l'expression est effectivement pédé comme un phoque, le même Alain Rey, dans son Dictionnaire historique de la langue française, précise que son origine est bien un jeu de mot sur foc, la voile qui prend le vent par l'arrière ...
     
  15. LILOIA Senior Member

    English-speakers, indeed. French speakers would probably say something like "feuk", or "fack" (ask round you). It so doesn't sound like "phoque".

    Tidoudoux is quite right : very few people know the true meaning of "qui dort dîne" or the spelling of "au temps pour moi" !
     
  16. djmc Senior Member

    France
    English - United Kingdom
    As an expression it sounds like the English "as queer as a coot". I don't think this particular aspersions on coots just as I don't think the French cast aspersions on seals. I am not convinced that it is a borrowing from English, and I don't think it has anything do do with foc. The English for foc is gib. Often these sort of expressions seem to be adopted because they seem to trip off the tongue in a satisfying way. Similarly "as queer as a clockwork orange" is fairly common.
     
  17. terrybrasil New Member

    French
    I think phoque should be spellt 'foc' (jib...a triangular sail) no relation to the animal at all...I might be mistaken but the expression refers to one of the sails that gets the back wind at sea, allowing the boat to move..
     
  18. Babbana Senior Member

    English hybrid UK/USA

    I really enjoyed this thread and thought I'd chip in my two cents worth. And just in case you are wondering, I came across foc as an example of words borrowed from French into Dutch. Who knows what the origin of the phrase is and you are right that making up your own etymology doesn't help. As a case of mismatching elements of an expression, my sister who is just too young to have used the expression queer for gays, insists on describing her many friends as "gay as a three pound note". I cannot get it into her head that this is meaningless, whereas the original was quite a clever pun.
    That's all.
     
  19. Nouus-rxf

    Nouus-rxf Senior Member

    brittany
    standard french
    Hello,

    I'd vote for "phoque" as it sounds funnier, and that's really the only thing that matters about this phrase. :D

    $0.02
     
  20. CarlosRapido

    CarlosRapido Senior Member

    Québec - Canada
    français - English (Can)
    Pour ceux intéressés, cliquez ici pour un article amusant sur l'origine de cette expression surprenante et peu logique.
     
  21. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    It seems all we can say is that the etymology of the expression is unknown and that all attempts to explain its origin are mere speculation (the Wiktionary entry).

    Moderator note: Please don't come up with yet another folk-etymology. We'd all be grateful for some solid information.
     

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