I'm looking for a translation of "Crâne de piaf", in English, in the context of a nickname given to some fictional character.

Google translation gave me "skull sparrow", which doesn't look right. Nothing can be found on Linguee.

What does “Crâne de piaf” mean? What might it connote for a character?

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    I'm rolling back your question because asking about the meaning of a French expression is on-topic here, but asking about how to express an idea in English is not. You should post your expanded question on English Language & Usage. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Oct 11 '14 at 14:27
  • Not to mention that the OP asked the SAME QUESTION on English Language Usage. Such cross-posting should be frowned upon. – Drew Oct 11 '14 at 22:37
  • @Drew OP posted on ELU after we advised them to do so, so fair enough on that point. The question should have remained closed or transferred in the first place. See original OP's question before it was edited and reopened. – None Oct 12 '14 at 12:21
  • @Laure: OK. Agreed, on both accounts. So why is it open here also, and not just transferred? (Not that I really care.) – Drew Oct 12 '14 at 13:53

First, crâne de piaf literally means “sparrow skull”, not “skull sparrow”. But that would not be an accurate translation: piaf is a slang term for any kind of small bird. It often alludes to the fact that birds have small heads, and thus connotes a lack of intelligence. Crâne (skull) is simple metonymy for head and transitively for brain, and commonly used thus in slang expressions. So crâne de piaf means “small brain”, i.e. someone who is not intelligent. It's an insult. English has a similar expression in bird brain.

I would a character nicknamed Crâne de piaf to be especially stupid. Of course the expression could be used in an ironic way.

Linguee's database is built from “serious” texts (it's strong on legal and technical documents), so it isn't very useful for slang. Reverso indexes more fiction, and it finds many occurrences of crâne de piaf.

  • I have added some useful details. What do you think would be a good translation ? Birdbrain, braindead ? – davcha Oct 11 '14 at 14:14
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    @davcha C'est une question d'anglais, donc la question n'est pas à poser ici mais sur ELU – None Oct 11 '14 at 14:20

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