con - usage


Senior Member
British English
Est-ce que ce mot-ci est toujours offensant? Il y en a plusieurs traductions - "cunt", "bastard", mais aussi "idiot". Peut-on dit "Quel con, toi!" a un ami qui, par exemple, a laisse tomber quelquechose? Merci d'avance.
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  • DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    French (lower Normandy)
    Ah!! we could spend hours talking about this word.

    It can be offensive: ce mec est vraiment con: this guy is really stupid.
    You can use it when you're angry at somenone: espèce de pauvre con!
    But it can also be positive, for exmample when talking about someone saying something funny but not particularly politically correct:
    "t'es con, tu sais" (but that was funny!)
    I think it can even be affectionate: stupid but in a good way:
    ce film est trop con (mais je l'ai adoré).

    I hope it helped you. I think you will receive lots of different opinions that may be more helpful than this one.

    I forgot to say that it depends on the way you say it, if you're serious (là, c'est offensant) or if you smiling ("ah, you're doing stupid things sometimes but I like you my friend!")
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    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, Prudence. That is really useful. So it never corresponds to the deeply offensive word cunt in English? [...]
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    Senior Member
    emma42 said:
    So it never corresponds to the deeply offensive word cunt in English?
    It sometimes does but much less than it used to. Nowadays it would sound a little bit like 18th century erotic literature, in that sense. (Marquis de Sade and all that stuff).
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    Senior Member
    France - Français
    [...] the word con also designates in mostly older litterature the female's genitalia. Although not used verbally these days, you might read it in some books - and it's not a insult then. ;)
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    Senior Member
    France / Français
    If you travel to the South-West of France (in the Toulouse area), you might hear "con" very often in popular language, used as a punctuation mark.
    It's not intended to be offensive, but just to give more weight to a sentence. :)
    For instance:
    -"Qu'est-ce qu'il fait chaud, con !".
    -"Oh oui, con."

    But be careful: if a non-native speaker (detected by his accent) uses it, it will be considered as offensive.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    So, it's tagged on a bit like "quoi" but affirmatively. I'm now imagining some Toulousian conversations.
    Mais je fais attention - merci pour l'astuce, con - (no offense).


    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    I rarely use the word con (OK, perhaps to describe somebody who cuts me off in traffic :( ), but I use conneries often, as in Ces politiciens, c'qu'ils en racontent, des conneries!


    Senior Member
    toulouse, french
    As olivierG noticed, be very careful with the use of "con": in many cases it can be heard as offensive or affective depending on the intonation, the pronunciation or even the accent !


    Senior Member
    English, UK
    I can never understand why, considering the amount of swearing that goes on in English these days, how the English word cunt has still such force,so that I write it here with some trepidation, whereas its French cognate con is comparatively anaemic. I have seen the French word as part of a title on a record sleeve, and more recently it was in the title of a major French comedy "La Fête des Cons", I think it was called, in which each of a band of buddies has to bring an idiot to a special dinner and wins if his guest is voted le plus con. The story ends up with the biter bit.


    New Member
    English - Liverpool, England
    My french girlfriend suggested that french words carry less weight than the way they are stressed an dintoned in conversation, in comparison to english words. She cites that word censorship (for example, as found in UK watershed censorship on TV and radio) would seem comical in france, because words themselevs do not carry innate power in the same way. Certainly, even as with time and familiarity, a word like 'fucker' gets closer and closer to 'con' in losing its punch, there's still something very stomach-churning about 'cunt' in english that is independent of its usage. Obviously this is an acquired taboo, but I'm not sure the same parallel exists in words in modern French.

    I like the idea of the theory, it seems to back up what I've seen living in Paris for 5 years - lots of politeness, lots of harmless swearing with very little real offence given. :)


    Senior Member
    france, french
    As an adjective, "con" means stupid.
    For example: J'ai été con = I've been stupid.

    But as a noun, it can mean 2 different things :
    1. a stupid person
    2. someone you disapprove of, someone not cool, a nasty person...
    3. or it can mean something intermediate between 1 and 2

    So, the meaning of the word isn't very precise.

    I think it's the same as "jerk" in English.
    According to the WordReference dictionary:
    Jerk = (obnoxious man) salaud / (stupid) crétin

    If you call someone a "gros con", it means that you disapprove of him for some reason, not necessarily stupidity.


    English, USA
    Alors, selon vous, serait-il approprié/acceptable d'écouter une chanson avec le mot "con" dans le titre dans ma classe de lycéens? (Je suis prof.) Il me semble que je vois le mot "con" partout, mais évidemment j'ai peur de leur enseigner quelque chose de trop vulgaire.

    Conseils? Opinions?

    (Je pense à la chanson "Jeune et Con" pour être précise.)


    Senior Member
    Dans le contexte de cette chanson ce n'est pas du tout vulgaire.
    D'ailleurs on associe souvent "jeune et con" pour dire de façon familière en fait "jeune et naïf" (c'est un peu l'esprit de con dans ce sens là).
    Tout dépend en fait du contexte pour cet adjectif.


    English, USA
    From what I've been able to tell, the word "con" can have a lot of different meaning that range from casual to vulgar. Would you say that it is a swear word all the same, or does it depend? For example, let's say you're in a high school theatre class, and you're putting on a skit that includes a character who is a little bit nasty. Would this be a word that you could possibly use in front of a teacher in such a case (I know it depends on the teacher, but let's say they have a fairly strict "no cussing" policy)
    I was listening to a song (Je Suis Un Homme, Zazie) that goes like this:
    "Je suis le roi de l'illusion
    Au fond, qu'on me pardonne
    Je suis le roi
    Le roi des cons"

    Would you say it is a swear word or being used vulgarly in this case?


    English - England
    In modern day French, youths (like myself:cool:) would say:

    'Ah je suis con moi' or 'T'es vraiment con toi'

    Something to express how idiotic someone is. That's how I view it anyway after being surrounded by a bunch of French youths for a lot of the time.


    English, USA
    So, it would be kind of like how cunt is used in Britain? Offensive, but casually offensive? (I'm American so forgive me if I'm a little bit unclear on how you would use cunt lol)
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    "T'es un vrai con" and "T'es vraiment con" are both correct. They mean the same thing; the only difference being that one is an noun, the other an adjective.


    French / France
    [I suppose if you know someone well enough to use the familiar form of address with them, you'd know whether they'd be offended by the use of "con".] I don't think it's used very often with its original meaning today, more like 'asshole' (for a person, not anatomically!) - again, a question of whom you're talking (or writing) to.

    I agree, nowadays the vulgarity of "con" will be driven by the tone of the voice, and by the rest of the sentence. For instance, when one of your friend make a stupid joke or prank, you can say "t'es con" while laughing, without him being offended.

    However, using offensive words in a non-offensive way is very sensitive. It's not a good idea to try it if you aren't a native, unless you have spent 10 years in full immersion...

    For example, let's say you're in a high school theatre class, and you're putting on a skit that includes a character who is a little bit nasty. Would this be a word that you could possibly use in front of a teacher in such a case (I know it depends on the teacher, but let's say they have a fairly strict "no cussing" policy)
    It can be used in a casual way but remains nonetheless a curse-word, so in case of non-cursing policy, you should definitively ask for permission, to be sure it can be allowed as a song quote for instance.