Pardon my French [other idioms?]

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
I know that people say “pardon my French” when they have just been swearing or using a word they think will offend, they will apologize by saying “pardon my French”, as if the offending word was something they said in French which you must have misheard as a cuss word, or perhaps they infer that their French is a little faulty and can easily be misunderstood. But as Longman dictionary mentions, this idiom is used when people (in spoken way) and humorously want to say that they are sorry for using a swear word. If you agree with Longman's definition, then would you be so kind as to tell me what I have to use in not humorous way and in completely serious way to indicate this concept?
Example: Well Mr. Sandy is just a selfish, greedy f*****g son-of-a-b***h!............................
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Sources: [Longman dictionary + WR]
[I am looking for an expression to use in the above blank]
[In my opinion and as far as I am aware, in spite of Longman's description, this idiom can be used either in a serious or humorous way; I guess Longman's definition is not complete]
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Someone who uses that type of phrase is extremely unlikely to apologize for it in a non-humorous way. If they did, it would just be, "Sorry for using such language," or something similar.
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I think anyone making such comments would be saying them in frustration/temper so would be unlikely to apologise with humour. They might say "Excuse my language but..." and then continue to explain why they are so het up/agitated.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Sometimes a bad word slips out. Maybe the speaker just forgot himself, or maybe he didn't realize there was a small child in the room so he wants to apologise to the child's mother. Or maybe he doesn't mean to cuss in front of others.

    When you make such a mistake, you simply apologize as for any other mistake. "Pardon me." "Sorry, please excuse me." Or, if you think you need to clarify, "Oh, pardon my language."
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    It's complicated, and depends on the situation.

    You might also say: Sorry for putting/saying it that way.

    No apologies needed.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Suppose, for example, a man is a very old-fashioned gentleman and it is his habit to never use certain words in front of a woman. He is upset over a cat who keeps digging in his flower bed, and when he tells his neighbors about it he forgets himself.

    "That dammed ca..., oops, sorry Susan, that darned cat was in my begonias again!"
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Just to clarify, are you asking for a phrase that means same thing as "pardon my French" but doesn't have the jokey tone that "pardon my French" does?

    (Cross-posted with POB)
    Hello JustKate
    Actually I am going to realize that whether this phrase can be used in a serious way or it just includes humorous forms of an apology? In the other words I want to discover whether as Longman dictionary says, it is only (humorously) used as an apology for swearing or it can be used as a serious way to apologize because of a bad language (not merely cuss) or profanity you as a typical have just used??
     
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    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Hello JustKate
    Actually I am going to realize that whether this phrase can be used in a serious way or it just includes humorous forms of an apology?
    I suppose it can be used seriously, but it sounds pretty jokey to me, and that's the only way I'd ever use it. I think the variations mentioned in some of the other posts - such as "Excuse my language" - would work much better as a sincere apology.
     

    nuri148

    Senior Member
    Argentina, Spanish
    Is there any equivalent expression, that maintains the joking/sarcastic tone yet does not reference French? (or any language for that matter). I became curious on reading the phrase used in a text by a classmate where the speaker could not possibly know the existence of French (action takes place in the Stone age).
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    I now live in France and have spoken reasonably fluent French for a long time. I am also female. I used to find this sort of expression intensely annoying. It is often used by people who are deliberately foul mouthed but seem to think that to offer this sort of quasi apology to women is in some respect to excuse themselves. It is usually said by people who don't know French and have never been to France but who feel that women need to be shielded in some way since they are naturally too ignorant of the way of the world (poor little things). I find this usage stupid and not at all humorous.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Is there any equivalent expression, that maintains the joking/sarcastic tone yet does not reference French? (or any language for that matter). I became curious on reading the phrase used in a text by a classmate where the speaker could not possibly know the existence of French (action takes place in the Stone age).
    A: "If you want my opinion, Johnson is a fucking creep... but that is a technical term/as the bishop said to me/as we <insert occupation> say/to quote what you said yesterday/etc."

    "Pardon my French" is dated trite and unfunny. If anyone uses it, avoid them as you would a leper with cholera: they're going to be no fun.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Sometimes a bad word slips out. Maybe the speaker just forgot himself, or maybe he didn't realize there was a small child in the room so he wants to apologise to the child's mother. Or maybe he doesn't mean to cuss in front of others.

    When you make such a mistake, you simply apologize as for any other mistake. "Pardon me." "Sorry, please excuse me." Or, if you think you need to clarify, "Oh, pardon my language."
    I endorse this answer. If in a serious situation a not-so-nice word slips out, you probably want to say "pardon me" or "pardon my language" rather than "pardon my French".
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I use Pardon my French quite regularly. It's like a kind of 'noise' I make when I realize my foul mouth has probably gone too far for the company I'm in, male or female or mixed ... like saying Pardon me when I burp. I don't really care much whether people don't like me burping ~ or swearing: it's a conditioned reflex kind of jobbie.
     
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    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    As far as use/usage goes, I use it (Pardon my French) too, and don't think about it. Nor do I feel trite and unfunny, Paul. I don't take "French" too literally in the idiom. There are countless expressions like that, like "It's all Greek to me".

    Is there any equivalent expression, that maintains the joking/sarcastic tone yet does not reference French? (or any language for that matter). I became curious on reading the phrase used in a text by a classmate where the speaker could not possibly know the existence of French (action takes place in the Stone age).
    In that case, it is difficult, but you can't fault someone for using a current idiom in a dated text.

    But, maybe they had soap in the Stone Age (probably not).

    A to B: These insects are fucking annoying.
    A: Sorry, I'll go wash my mouth out with soap. :)

    That expression (to wash one's mouth out with soap) may be dated, but it used to be kind of jokey (sort of serious too).
     
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