13 Quebecois Swear Words that Confuse the French

Quebec Flags | © Tony Webster/ Flickr
Quebec Flags | © Tony Webster/ Flickr
Photo of Emily Paskevics
18 June 2017

Quebecois French is a colourful language that is very distinct from the French spoken in Europe – including its swear words. Many profanities in Quebecois are known as sacres, referring to words and phrases that are related to the Catholic Church. For people from France, most of these expressions would have no particular profanity associated with them, but in Quebec French, they are considered to be vulgar. Here are some Quebecois swear words and expressions that might confuse people from France or other French-speaking countries.

Tabarnak, Câlice, Baptême

Directly translating as tabernacle, chalice, and baptism, these are three of the most common sacres that can be heard in Quebecois. Tabarnak is considered to be the most profane. In its full glory, you might hear something like: “Osti de tabarnak de sacrament, de câlice de ciboire de criss de marde!” The expressions can take on different spellings, and are often pronounced slightly differently from the official words. All of them have the approximate weight of “fuck” in English.

Pas de publicité tabarnak (No fucking advertisments) | © Gates of Ale/ WikiCommons


Like the words above, sacrament connects to Catholicism and can be roughly translated as “goddammit!”

Ostie de colon

Again drawing on liturgical terms, ostie de colon is generally used to refer to someone as an idiot.

On s’en coliss

Coliss is a variation on the above-mentioned câlice, and the expression can be translated as “we don’t care.” Another spelling variation is “calisse.”

On s'en calisse la loi speciale | © Gates of Ale/ WikiCommons


Guidoune is an informal and offensive word referring to a promiscuous woman. Another word with a similar word is pitoune.


Something that is niaiseux is stupid, whether it’s a person, an object, an idea, or a situation. T’es donc ben niaiseux means “you’re really stupid,” or in a lighter tone it can mean something more like “silly.” The feminine form is niaiseuse.

Savons sacrés | © Exile on Ontario St/ Flickr

Donner un char de marde

The literal translation of this phrase is “ to give a car of shit.” The English equivalent would be “to give someone shit,” an argumentative sense.


A slightly milder expression on the sliding scale of Quebecois profanities, vidange means garbage. Tu es une vidange means “you’re garbage” or “you’re trash,” which gets contracted to T’es une vidange, or can be rendered more offensively as T’es une osti de vidange, adding in a well-placed sacre.

Mais pourquoi diable me fait ça?

This can be interpreted as “why the hell did you do that?”

Même ma pancarte est en tabarnak (Even my sign is fucked) | © JustinLing/ Flickr

J’ai le feu au cul

Meaning “I’m pissed” or “I’m mad,” more literally this means “I have fire in my ass.”


Get out! This has the weight of “get the hell out” or “get the fuck out.”