un pied-nickelé

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by e_caduc, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. e_caduc Member

    Moderator note:
    Two threads about the same subject merged.

    Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire?
    merci d'avance:)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2008
  2. carolineR

    carolineR Senior Member

    Indian Ocean
    it refers to the heroes of a French cartoon : see here; see also "les Pieds Nickelés" in Wikipedia.
    it is now used to describe someone who is not very good at what he/she does, someone clumsy and rather dishonest :)
  3. KaRiNe_Fr

    KaRiNe_Fr Senior Member

    France, Provence
    Français, French - France
    Dishonesty and not being serious is what came first to my mind because of the recent use of this image to qualify some French policiticians...
    (maybe it's related to your context, e_caduc?)
  4. e_caduc Member

    Wikipedia répond:

    Le terme de « pieds nickelés » a dépassé son créateur et est devenu une expression du langage populaire pour qualifier des personnages peu recommandables, comploteurs, filous. Cette expression est revenue au premier plan lors de l'affaire Clearstream où elle fut abondamment utilisée pour désigner les différents protagonistes.
  5. milimo New Member

    France - French

    I'm having trouble translating "pied-nickelé" which a french expression making a reference to an old comic ( a bit like the three stooges, I guess)

    Does any one have an idea how to translate it. I can't find any ideas

    here's the context :

    Et ce n’est pas fini : des trafiquants de drogue locaux prennent les pieds-nickelés pour de réels Marines et les prennent en chasse.

    my translation :

    And it’s not over: local drug dealers take the pieds-nickelés for real Marines and chasse after them.

    thanks all
  6. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    In an AE context, you might substitute the three stooges. I am not sure if a BE audience would understand this reference, however...
  7. clairet

    clairet Senior Member

    London & Bordeaux
    England & English (UK version)
    Although many Brits have heard of the 3 stooges, and understand the reference, it's mainly from having seen similar uses of the phrase, not from seeing their films. I can't think of a Brit equivalent. We sometimes still use "keystone cops" for complete incompetence, but presumably that wouldn't work here.
  8. aztlaniano

    aztlaniano Senior Member

    Lavapiestán, Madrid
    English (Aztlán, US sector)
    Would "rank amateur" be a possible translation here?:

    "Un pied nickelé". Robert Paturel, ancien membre du Raid, estime que le preneur d'otages est un "pied nickelé". Selon lui, il s'agit d'un acte isolé, d'un braquage qui a mal tourné. "Ce qui s'est passé à Toulouse (notament l'affaire Merah, ndlr) a créé des vocations", a-t-il déclaré sur BFMTV.
  9. clairet

    clairet Senior Member

    London & Bordeaux
    England & English (UK version)
    "rank amateur" can apply to people who are honest as well as those who are not, so I think it only deals with the incompetence aspect of the French term. e.g. "Well, there's no doubt he's honest but he's a rank amateur in this business."

    following the suggestions in some of the early replies, maybe (for BE) "petty crooks" would work, i.e small-time, shifty, largely incompetent, criminals
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
  10. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    Yes, small-time, bumbling, cack-handed, clumsy crooks.

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