bien foutu

deshawn

New Member
French
Hi,
Could you help me translate the expression "bien foutu", considering that the meaning is "well-built", something whose realization is satisfactory.

I hope I'm being clear enough.
 
  • yannicus

    Member
    france - french/english
    i'd say "well put together", "well thought-out", for objects, machines, whatever; and "fit" if talking about a hot person.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    In view of the "foutu", the Americanism, built like a brick shithouse may be most appropriate. It is an exclamation of admiration and not at all pejorative. Bob Hope describes Dorothy Lamour in this way in "The Road to Bali" but changes shithouse to pagoda to escape the censor, and add some local colour.
     

    Phyllogian

    Member
    Anglais
    Je dirais que quelqu'un bien foutu est "stout", which could mean anything from "fit" (musclé) to slightly "corpulent" (avoir de l'embonpoint). I think it's a bit up to the speaker on how they describe themselves/others (self-image/perception of attractiveness...).
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Je dirais que quelqu'un bien foutu est "stout", which could mean anything from "fit" (musclé) to slightly "corpulent" (avoir de l'embonpoint). I think it's a bit up to the speaker on how they describe themselves/others (self-image/perception of attractiveness...).
    to me stout is fort (femme forte)

    nowadays - buff (male or female)
    in Bob Hope's day, stacked was the word used for a woman; built like a brick shithouse for a man.

    (His joke was original, but built like a brick (anything) would normally have only referred to a male.)
     

    sarahgk

    Senior Member
    American English
    In view of the "foutu", the Americanism, built like a brick shithouse may be most appropriate. It is an exclamation of admiration and not at all pejorative. Bob Hope describes Dorothy Lamour in this way in "The Road to Bali" but changes shithouse to pagoda to escape the censor, and add some local colour.

    Yikes, there is a very serious mistake in this translation! We (americans) would never say someone is "built like a brick shithouse". That would be very disgusting and hilarious to us if soemone said that.
    However, there is an expression "She's a brick house" (not a shithouse!) that comes from a 1970's funk song which means she is voluptuous. Everyone knows this song and the expression, but no one would actually use this expression in speaking today.
     

    anangelaway

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi Sarah, :)

    I think you may find the following article interesting:
    How did the phrase "built like a brick shithouse" get to be a compliment?
    From the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang we learn that: (a) the phrase and its euphemistic variants date back at least to 1903; (b) said variants replace "shithouse" with switch shanty, schoolhouse, slaughterhouse, or backhouse, among others; and (c) all were originally--and more sensibly--applied to men of solid or powerful build. [...]
    Edit: Or even that thread and the following one too.
     
    Last edited:

    sarahgk

    Senior Member
    American English
    Frankly this is incorrect. We would never say someone is "built like a brick shithouse". The expression is "like a brick house".

    If you went anywhere in the US and said that to someone, you would see some very large eyeballs and at the very least some stiffled laughter.
     

    lamberjack

    Member
    English - England
    Hi Sarah,

    In the UK, the expression "built like a brick shithouse" is fairly common, though it wouldn't be used in polite company and I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a compliment.

    If you used "like a brick house" instead people would know what you mean, but it's not an off-the-shelf expression in the way that "like a brick shithouse" is.

    If you want to avoid the swear words, there's always "built like a tank".
     

    xtrasystole

    Senior Member
    France
    We (americans) would never say someone is "built like a brick shithouse"
    And yet back when I was in the United States I remember having heard the expression as men's talk, applied to a woman (while she was out) as a compliment ("she's built like a brick shithouse", meaning, I presume, "elle est bien foutue/roulée").
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Frankly this is incorrect. We would never say someone is "built like a brick shithouse". The expression is "like a brick house".

    If you went anywhere in the US and said that to someone, you would see some very large eyeballs and at the very least some stiffled laughter.
    Sorry, Sarah, I completely disagree on that. I have often heard (and on occasion, confess to using!) built like a brick shithouse. It's far from unusual, at least in the eastern US where I live and grew up. See here.

    On the other hand, I've never heard built like a brick house. Where are you located that you hear that expression?
     

    sarahgk

    Senior Member
    American English
    Nope you are wrong, I have lived on both coasts and in the midwest. The expression is "like a brick house" not "a brick shithouse". However if you would like to say "brick shithouse", I suggest you go right ahead!
     

    probono

    New Member
    English - American
    Nope you are wrong, I have lived on both coasts and in the midwest. The expression is "like a brick house" not "a brick shithouse". However if you would like to say "brick shithouse", I suggest you go right ahead!

    Hello Sarahgk:

    I'm curious as to why you insist that you are right and everyone else, including the various dictionaries cited, are wrong. I've heard the expression "She's built like a brick shithouse" many, many times. I was an adolescent in the 1970's in the US (East Coast) and that's when I remember learning it. I've heard it very often since. I always thought it funny since a brick shithouse doesn't necessarily connote much, but still, that's the way people speak!
     

    blackheart-uk

    New Member
    English, UK
    I still don't clearly understand bien foutu, does it mean muscly with a large build (as in built like a tank) or does it mean large/fat, as in somewhat bigger than "pleasingly plump"?

    Though someone earlier did mention it just meant fit, as in a bit buff?

    For the first two possibilities I'd say built like a tank (generally for a bodybuilder-type man) or built like a house side (generally for a very fat woman), though I have heard the phrase built like a brick shithouse, but in my experience it's not a compliment and describes the sort of person you don't mess with if you don't want your face rearranging, certainly not in Bradford anyway!
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    I still don't clearly understand bien foutu,
    Yes, what's great is that at no point did anyone explain what "bien foutu" is supposed to mean! :eek:

    For a man, I would say that it can't mean:
    "mean large/fat, as in somewhat bigger than "pleasingly plump""

    I would say it's more "to be athletic", but not necessarily with very broad shoulders for instance.

    (muscly with a large build (as in built like a tank) could be "Arnold est une armoire à glace")
     

    pyan

    Senior Member
    English, UK, London
    I still don't clearly understand bien foutu, does it mean muscly with a large build (as in built like a tank) or does it mean large/fat, as in somewhat bigger than "pleasingly plump"?

    Though someone earlier did mention it just meant fit, as in a bit buff?

    [...]
    I think "fit, as in a bit buff" seems to be a good equivalent.
     

    colliert

    New Member
    English - England (Midlands)
    is it ok to ask for how 'bien foutu' works in a different context here? thought i would avoid a new thread. referring to a written style, 'c'est un peu bébête...mais comme c'est bien foutu'.

    Partly, I want to know if the vulgar meaning of 'foutu' could also be lurking as a kind of pun in there; the writer has just referred to the author of that style as 'salaud', which makes me wonder.
     

    Dragonseed

    Senior Member
    France - French
    ...but "bien foutue", when used by a heterosexual male to describe a woman will mean "very pleasing figure" (i.e. with the right curves in the right place), not necessarily muscular.
    And abovementioned heterosexual male would do well to NOT use this phrase when the lady is around to hear it... It has a quite strong sexual meaning.

    "Foutu(e)" comes from the verb "foutre" that originally means "to have sex with..." (the idea could be that the lady looks like she does because she is well taken care of in this aspect?). It is now almost never used in that direct sense anymore.
     

    Souxie

    Senior Member
    French - France
    "C'est un peu bébête...mais comme c'est bien foutu" se dit aussi pour parler de quelque chose de bien construit, bien arrangé, dont le résultat est satisfaisant. On parle d'une vue d'ensemble, et dans cette vue d'ensemble, tout semble parfait. Comme décrit au début du fil, il me semble.

    En fait, la définition de bien foutu est à peu près la même pour les objets ou pour les êtres humains: un résultat total qui plait. Sauf que concernant les êtres humains, être bien foutu(e) veut dire avoir un corps qui correspond aux critères de beauté: mince, harmonieux, avec ce qu'il faut, là où il faut.
    Tout le monde voudrait être bien foutu. (Même si on peut aussi penser qu'il y d'autres priorités...)
     

    xtrasystole

    Senior Member
    France
    '(Quelqu'un/quelque chose) est bien foutu(e)' --> slang for '... est bien fait(e)'.


    Exemples :

    - 'Sandra est (sacrément) bien foutue !' (she's built like a brick shithouse)

    - 'Tu as lu le rapport que Sandra a rédigé ? Il est bien foutu' (her report is well written/ well presented)

    - Le nouvel appartement de Sandra est (vraiment) bien foutu'
    (her flat is well laid-out)
     

    Rashama

    New Member
    English-American
    Yikes, there is a very serious mistake in this translation! We (americans) would never say someone is "built like a brick shithouse". That would be very disgusting and hilarious to us if soemone said that.
    However, there is an expression "She's a brick house" (not a shithouse!) that comes from a 1970's funk song which means she is voluptuous. Everyone knows this song and the expression, but no one would actually use this expression in speaking today.
    Actually the term wasused by Americans in reference to women (other countries only use it in reference to men with a lot of muscles). Back when it was made a brick s***house was a prettier alternative to the normal wooden ones. They also were built better than was necessary. So, when used meant that the girl was prettier than other women and built better than was necessary.
     
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