sacrebleu / sacre bleu


New Member
USA English
Hello. Just registered so this is my first post. I spend most of my time at the STRAIGHT DOPE.

okay, I would like to know the meaning of the phrase "Sacre bleu". I tried to look it up but couldn't get a meaning for anything but the separate words. I think "sacred" covers sacre, and "blue" means blue, but "sacred blue" doesn't signify any thing to me. Obviously I'm mis-reading it somehow. What's my problem?

Thanks in advance.

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  • le chat noir

    Senior Member
    "sacrebleu" is a old-fashioned swearing, probabliy tied to the royal family (the "blue blood" of the kings). It would be equivalent to "gosh" or "by jove" (excuse my French ;)).


    Senior Member
    hi,this is the translation the wordreference dictionary gives.
    For sacrebleu:
    Principal Translations:
    sacrebleu (familier) = -my god



    New Member
    USA English
    Aha! I was searching for it as two separate words, so that probably explains that.

    Both definitions are somewhat different, but I think I get it, especially as I belatedly remembered that another meaning of sacre is goddamn or goddamned. (Those goddamned blue bloods?)

    Zounds, you folks are fast. mia04 and le chat noir, I salute you.


    Senior Member
    sacrebleu is not tied to the royal family. it's a 'polite' deformation of 'sacre dieu' which is a blasphemy.

    nobody uses it in france anymore. it's very obsolete.


    New Member
    USA English
    Ah,outdated blasphemy. Every once in a while someone on my favorite message board will use it, and so I supposed it was still in use.

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    Senior Member
    i've heard, oddly enough, people in the usa use it (sacrebleu i mean). nobody seemed to realise how old-fashioned it is in france ! in fact, i doubt that many a french teenager would even know the noun, but i may be wrong.
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    Senior Member
    french of FRANCE
    xxwhatsernamexx said:
    is the word "sacrebleu" in french considered rude at all?
    The termination /bleu /of curse words , like in /sacrebleu /crébleu /palsembleu/parbleu /were used to end those rude words in place of the word dieu (for god ) .This was used in the XIX e century .With this end , instead of the previous -dieu end (pardieu sacredieu....) used before .After the french Revolution of 1789 the catholic clergy managed to rule the lexicon to discipline consequently the rude way of speaking in use before by the people of the streets . The turn of them into not-at-all blasphemous words could made them allowed again .
    Nowadays those not-at-all-rude-words are only used by few religious people .
    But are actually used (sorry Bernik ) . Specially by traditionalist clergymen who want to nail a rood in a church withe a bad hammer .


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    emma42 said:
    Also, struth - (by) God's truth.
    Yes, and, of course, I forgot to mention that there is one place where a lot of this is going on daily. Our friends in Québec have a whole series, used all the time:


    And I leave it to them to explain...


    Senior Member
    France - French
    It is "tabernacle" and "calice" (cf. posts about "ciboire"). Yes, in France, all these words ("ventrebleu", "palsambleu", "sacredieu"...) are definitively outdated. They were used in the country in the 70s, but today they are dead.

    Thanks for all these interesting messages. I would add to Chimike's list : "saperlipopette", which I used sometime without knowing its meaning...

    About Coton, he was worse than a "renégat" and I understand Protestants use this word. I think it had 2 meanings : "Je renie Coton" = I don't use the word "jarnidieu" = I am always secretly Protestant...
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    Amda Zako

    Senior Member
    France / French
    "by Jove" is probably famous to French comics readers as it is one of the favorite expletives in "Blake & Mortimer", unless I am mistaken...

    Thanks klod, I was trying to remember. I'd be surprised if any living English speaker actually uses it. Anybody own up?

    A French equivalent would be "Sacrebleu!"

    Moderator note: This thread has been split from this thread, entitled "by jove". This particular post has been copied to show the context for the following posts. This post did not go off topic but others which followed did.


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Thanks klod, I was trying to remember. I'd be surprised if any living English speaker actually uses it. Anybody own up?

    A French equivalent would be "Sacrebleu!"
    Sacre bleu ! (written in two words) is actually an expression English-speakers will use to imitate (in a bad fake French accent) how French people would swear. It was popularized by Agatha Christie, who often had her Belgian inspector character, Hercule Poirot, saying it.

    So as the link explains, it's just about as up-to-date to say by Jove as it would be to use sacrebleu in French today.

    PS aux Canadiens : Wikipedia prétend que cette expression est toujours courante chez vous--est-ce vrai ?


    New Member
    Well, as much as I'd like to say I've read all of Agatha Christie's novels, I was first exposed to Sacrebleu! by the esteemed Pepe Le Pew on the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour... That's all folks!