1. Randisi Senior Member

    Boalsburg, PA
    English, USA
    Hello all,

    At issue is whether 'piss' is too vulgar to translate 'pisser,' or if something like 'pee' would be better. In other words, is 'pisser' less vulgar in French than 'piss' is in English?

    "Nous courons, marchons, pissons, exécutons mieux une tâche compliquée… en pensant à autre chose."

    Thanks
     
  2. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    pee would be faire pipi.
    Pisser = piss, même niveau de langage.
     
  3. Randisi Senior Member

    Boalsburg, PA
    English, USA
    Merci beaucoup!
     
  4. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    pisser? What's that supposed to mean? :confused:
     
  5. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    Pisser = to piss. Ne laisse pas ton chien pisser dans mon jardin!
     
  6. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I would add, though, that there is a universal permissiveness in French as far as swearing is concerned that means that any swear word is not as "harsh" as its English counterpart, and from what I've seen I'm not sure that this is different. Having seen grandmothers and grandsons groaning "merde" at each other each time they take a shot at tennis, I have the impression that the same grandson might tell idem grandmother that the dog "pisse dans la rue" whereas an English grandson would not say "a dog is pissing in the street" to his grandmother.

    A small point - I don't deny that "pisser" and "to piss" are as close as synonymous as swear words get between French and English, just that there is a difference in cultural usage of swear words full stop.

    For further example - I think an English home owner would say to his neighbour "don't let your dog loose in my garden!". "Don't let your dog piss in my garden" would be sure to start a feud;).
     
  7. la reine victoria Senior Member

    I've always found the French to be far more comfortable with the verb "pisser" than we Brits are with the English word.


    Many a French wall have I seen with the command "Défense de Pisser" painted thereon. Do they still exist?

    Also the famous "pissoirs". Can they still be found?



    Thanks.


    LRV
     
  8. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Hum, Tim, je ne suis pas trop sûre que tu aies raison, là.

    Pisser is seen as very uncouth, people tend to avoid it and say faire pipi instead, which I personally see as slightly if not totally childish.
    In a way pisser is felt as being ruder than merde.:eek:

    LRV as far as I know, the "fameux pissoirs" are called urinoirs or pissotières (fam.). :D
     
  9. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    To be fair, I wouldn't use "pisser" when talking to a neighbour either! I may be an exception among French people, but all swearwords were banned at home so I never got into the habit of using them :D

    Why I swear like a trooper in English is a total mystery.
     
  10. Randisi Senior Member

    Boalsburg, PA
    English, USA
    So are you suggesting a milder term? I tend to agree. 'Piss' has a slight hard edge to it. It would definitely stand out in a work of philosophy. But 'pee' is too childish. Any suggestions? Take a whizz?
     
  11. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Well it's all a pissing mystery to me!:D

    That's interesting, isn't it, Egueule's and Auryn's answers to what I wrote. I would accept what you say without more ado, but LRV makes a good point, doesn't she? There are "défense de pisser" signs, or were, and how about pissoires ? Is it that this word, a perfectly respectably Latinate word after all, has become more rude in recent decades?
     
  12. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    Yes, I agree. Pisser is quite vulgar and would make people cringe if used in polite company.
     
  13. MonsieurAquilone Senior Member

    Auckland
    NZ - English
    ben, il faut inventer un mot, sans doute. On peut dire, "s'en oublier" n'est-ce pas", ou bien, mot invente "pleuvoir un peu".....je veux pas etre impoli.
     
  14. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    No way they were official signs ! :D
    I've always seen signs saying
    Défense d'uriner
    and you don't really seen any of those any longer (just like you don't see those wonderfully stern and basically self-contradicting signs reading défense d'afficher.).
     
  15. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    ah! haha ok. I thought it was being used as an English word!
     
  16. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    I don't know about "défense de pisser"... maybe people were more crude back in the day. "Pissoirs" are actually called urinoirs.

    As for a milder term, you can always say "uriner" but it sounds a bit medical...
     
  17. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    La preuve! :D
     
  18. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    But those metal sheds randomly placed on streets are "pissoirs" aren't they? It has quite a large google presence.
    Edit before even sending - actually, reviewing the list there is an unusually large number of foreign sites, mainly English and German (although French do feature too). Perhaps this is one of those words that has become more famous outside its native language than within, like "al fresco" in Italian or "double entendre" in French or "shampooing" in English (or innumerable other words the French like to regrammaticalise on our behalf!:D).
     
  19. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
  20. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    I know them as [SIZE=-1]pissotières too, not pissoirs.[/SIZE]
     
  21. Randisi Senior Member

    Boalsburg, PA
    English, USA
    Well, even if 'piss' is a little more vulgar than 'pisser,' the difference seems minimal, if it is being discussed this much.

    So to H#@* with it,

    I refuse to f@&*ing bowdlerize!
    (If I used emoticons, there would be one here with a big sh@#-eating grin!)

    'Piss' it is.
     
  22. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Well, we certainly don't use that term generally. I see that that site gives the etymology as old French "pissier" "to urinate". The evidence all seems to point to "piss(i)er" being a perfectly inoffensive verb in old French that has become offensive in more recent times. For example, if public urinals used to be called "pissoires" in English it's unlikely that someone made up that term ex nihilo based on a foreign language. More likely is that that was the term, or a term, in French which has fallen out of usage. But that's all by-the-by, thanks to all for correcting my impression of the level of the French word "pisser"!:)
     
  23. Hello everybody, I'm living in Switzerland and sorry but I prefer to write in french 'cause it's easily for me.
    Constatation: en anglais il suffit d'ajouter une préposition au mot piss ("piss off" = "dégage" ou "tire-toi", "casse-toi", "barre-toi" ) et on obtient une insulte qu'en français, on peut traduire littéralement par "va pisser au loin" ou "va pisser ailleurs" mais c'est peu utilisé et pas très choquant, pas au point de déclencher un duel. Parcontre "je te pisse à la raie" "= I piss on your ass?" est plus insultant.
    C'est peut-être juste ces petits mots presque inaudibles comme "off" qui font toute la différence et que pour les anglophones le mot piss est plus directement lié à une provocation ou une insulte, donc plus vulgaire, violent, non ?
    Certaines personnes (suivant leur culture mais pas forcément leurs origines) sont aussi plus ou moins sensibles au fait de parler des excréments humains (sujet tabou, dégoûtant, en fait je crois que personne n'aime parler de ça, en omettant les scatophiles bien sûr!)...
     
  24. MonsieurAquilone Senior Member

    Auckland
    NZ - English
    Bienvenue aux forums. Bien entendu, je pense que t'as raison. En fait c'est tout a fait notre propre opinion du mot. Mais, ca c'est bien dit, j'suis d'accord.
     
  25. wonderful Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    NFLD - France
    I agree with Egueule
    I have never seen the sign "défense de pisser" (it's really too vulgar). It would be "défense d'uriner"
     
  26. la reine victoria Senior Member

    Dear Wonderful,

    I am twice your age (plus a few more years) and can assure you that "Defense de Pisser" was painted on many a French wall of my acquaintance, not only in Paris but in other cities and small towns.

    Are you saying that French men have given up the habit of relieving themselves in public places?

    I shall be so triste if they have. To me it was the equivalent of that nerdy male hobby - train spotting. I've spent many a happy day with my rucksack, binoculars and notebook "zizi spotting"! :eek: :D



    LRV
     
  27. KittyCatty

    KittyCatty Senior Member

    Cambridge
    English UK
    :D
    I would just like to add that, although I understand that pisser is still relatively vulgar I agree with timpeac that it is still milder than the english word piss, which is to be used with extreme caution. Having got off the coach from a long journey in France I was desperate for the loo but my corres was hanging around. I went "Je suis desesperée" in a kind of wail, and she said to her friends, I have to go, "elle a envie de pisser". There was laughter at this, and I was really offended, thinking she had told her friends I needed a piss which would be really rude in english. My dictionary agrees that it can mean to have a pee (*) or to have a piss (***) (* = level of rudeness). I really hope she meant the former, there! Piss does seem unnecessarily rude in that situation. And therefore I would hesitate to always translate pisser by to piss, when it can harmlessly mean to have a pee.
     
  28. wonderful Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    NFLD - France
    Well you may be older than me but I have been living in France for 20 years and it is a fact that I have never seen such a sign in my region or somewhere else in France. So, I'm not saying that you are lying but I am sure that you saw them a long long time ago (maybe in pubs, streets... but I really doubt that it was an "official" sign). That's why I wanted to say to correct this point...;)

    Moreover, it is quite vulgar to say "défense de pisser", a correct sign would be as I said in my previous post "défense d'uriner" . And this does not mean that French men have given up relieving themselves in public places (althought it is forbidden)

    (By the way, if you write this expression "défense de pisser" in Google, you will see that it is not a common expression and correct way of speaking)

    :)
     
  29. la reine victoria Senior Member


    Poor KittyCatty. :eek:

    I would have been mortified.

    I hate to hear anyone use the word p*ss over here, let alone in France, probably in your case among strangers.

    Never mind, put it down to experience.:)




    LRV
     
  30. wonderful Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    NFLD - France

    Well it is common to hear boys saying "je vais pisser" (not at work of course but at a party, between friends, ...) but I think that it's awful to hear a girl say that. It is better to say "je vais aux toilettes"
     
  31. KittyCatty

    KittyCatty Senior Member

    Cambridge
    English UK
    :eek: She probably thought I wouldn't understand... Yes, it was all an experience! Ah well...
    .I know, I was a bit like, in my mind, 'Did she just say...???'
    But reassure me, could she have simply been saying I needed a pee? Hm this is getting personal... from your replies I guess she didn't... Yes, I'll put it down to experience and move swiftly on!
     
  32. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    This is a total illusion Kittycatty, there is only one meaning in French, only one level of rudeness for that verb - some people won't even use it talking about their dog.
     
  33. Paulinne

    Paulinne Junior Member

    Prague
    czech, the Czech republic
    It is funny... In the Czech republic we call them "pisoár" (pissoire) :D I have never realised that it came from the word "pisser" :)

    It is wonderful that every day I discover something new :)
    P.
     
  34. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France
    France, French
    I fully support my francophones co-foreros about the use of pisser meaning urinate in French.
    It is vulgar.
    I would suggest a quick look at the TLFi to get convinced about it.

    And I've never seen Défense de pisser sign either... some Défense d'uriner, yes (all very old).
     
  35. la reine victoria Senior Member

    How about "le piss en lit" for a dandelion. Is that now demoted to "le pipi en lit"?





    LRV
     
  36. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France
    France, French
    Please, LRV...
    If you look at the origin of the word pissenlit, you will note that it has been created during the XVth century and is from a military origin...
    It says all, doesn't it?

    Source : TLFi
     
  37. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    No, it's not; thank goodness for small favours.:D
    But just like anglophones were saying that they did not think of a mare whenever they came across the word nightmare, we francophones don't really hear the word pisse in pissenlit, which is perceived as one whole concept, and is evocative of things light and poetical just like dandelion fluff. :)
     
  38. Auryn

    Auryn Senior Member

    London
    France, French
    A really insulting word for a young girl is "une pisseuse". As if boys didn't have a bladder! :mad:
     
  39. KittyCatty

    KittyCatty Senior Member

    Cambridge
    English UK
    OK, I understand now that it is a vulgar term, as you, the natives, all agree, and it makes sense because the english word is also vulgar. But now my Collins Robert appears to be lying to me. Where one asterisk "indicates that the expression, while not forming part of standard language, is used by all educated speakers in a relaxed situation but would not be used in a formal essay or letter" it suggests:
    ca ne pisse pas loin *- it's nothing to write home about
    ca l'a pris comme une envie de pisser * - he suddenly got the urge to do it
    laisse pisser * - forget it.
    And there's not even an asterisk for:
    pisser du sang - to pass blood with the urine
    son nez pissait le sang - blood was pouring from his nose.
    Now, would you say pisser du sang to your doctor? It sounds like you all wouldn't dream of it. But that's what Collins Robert suggests. Do you agree with the dictionary here? This is what it's telling french learners. After this thread I am just going to avoid the word at all costs. Mainly because, I admit, I am confused now! I'm being told different things. Why doesn't Collins Robert back you up?
     
  40. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Generally, expressions with the word pisser are less vulgar than pisser on its own, because I guess the event referred to also has an influence on the resulting degree of vulgarity.
    I'll try and sort them out from the least to the most rude.
    ça pisse le sang (or son nez pissait le sang)
    ça ne pisse pas loin
    ça l'a pris comme une envie de pissser
    laisser pisser
    pisser du sang.
    Some could disagree with that order but the main thing is that none sounds as rude as pisser on its own (except, maybe, the last one).

    To be totally honest, I must admit I've heard a few doctors use pisser as they would any other word. I think it's just another medical term for those who do.

    But I wouldn't ask my neighbor to empêcher [son] chien de pisser sur mes gardenias (if I had any).
    However I can use it between close friends and I don't object to my (grownup) children's using it.
     
  41. Lezert

    Lezert Senior Member

    Midi-Pyrénées
    french, France
    Et
    "pisser de de rire"
    est vraiment commun, et même gentillet, non?
     
  42. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Tiens, je l'avais oublié celui-là. Allez, je m'en vais le glisser juste après ça ne pisse pas loin
    Gentillet ? Non, quand même pas.
     
  43. zam

    zam Senior Member

    England
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Mes excuses à l'avance si ça a déjà été dit, j'ai parcouru le fil sans le remarquer mais 'c'est comme pisser dans un violon' est assez innocent aussi, très utilisé et ça peut se traduire ainsi= it's a waste of time/there's no point/it's like banging your head against a brick wall.
    Aussi, pour continuer la série 'dans la famille PISSER je voudrais les moins vulgaires' on peut proposer 'ça lui a pris comme une envie de pisser' pas trop vulgaire et très courant (approx: he did it suddenly/out of the blue)
     
  44. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Le premier manquait, en effet. Le deuxième avait déjà était signalé par KittyCatty (#39).
     
  45. bernik Senior Member

    Brittany - french
    "c'est comme pisser dans un violon"

    à l'intention des anglophones, rappelons que l'expression d'origine était : c'est comme de siffler dans un violon !
     
  46. Lezert

    Lezert Senior Member

    Midi-Pyrénées
    french, France
    et quand il pleut vraiment beaucoup,
    "il pleut comme vache qui pisse"
     
  47. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Maybe it is its usage in such phrases - which are not so shocking - that has given so many anglophones the idea that the verb "pisser" on its own is less offensive than "to piss". I don't think our shocking words lose their "bite" in phrases - that's a dangerous comment to make round here, I expect I'll now be proved wrong with a dozen examples to the contrary.:D
     
  48. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Je pense que Tim n'avait pas tout à fait tort quand il disait que, d'une manière générale, le français est plus tolérant que l'anglais à l'égard des gros mots.

    Ce qui va suivre n'est peut-être qu'une projection de ma part (peut-être est-ce seulement moi qui ai cette attitude). Mais il me semble que le français a tendance à considérer comme vulgaire uniquement la vulgarité gratuite.
    Je me souviens d'un fil où il était question de "foutre la tarte dans le four". Ici, le mot "foutre" ne s'impose pas, il n'est ni plus chatoyant ni plus pittoresque que le verbe mettre qui convient parfaitement. Donc, très peu de gens seraient susceptibles de prononcer une telle phrase.

    Ce n'est pas le cas pour des expressions comme "ça l'a pris comme une envie de pisser" ou "son nez pissait le sang" (proposées par kittycatty) qui sont plus difficilement remplaçables par autre chose, qui apportent un "plus" au niveau de l'image et qui, par conséquent, ne sont pas totalement gratuites. Raison pour laquelle, à mon avis, elles "passent" mieux en français.

    Ce n'est qu'une hypothèse et, comme telle, elle est contestable, ne vous en privez pas :)

    EDIT : Tim, I hadn't seen your post but I think mine answers it in a way.
     
  49. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I've thought of "cock-up" but according to this thread the derivation is natutical rather than "cock" (bitte) as I had always assumed it was.
     
  50. Randisi Senior Member

    Boalsburg, PA
    English, USA
    It is my impression that in AE too, 'piss' used in a phrase has less 'bite' as Timpeac put it, but still wouldn't be used in polite company. The phrase 'his nose was pissing blood' is less shocking than 'he pissed.'

    Lezert, I've heard the colorful phrase: it was pissing like a cow on a flat rock.

    Though this is not at all common. In fact, it could be that my friend is the only one to use it. But that's no reason not to…
     

Share This Page