Cartoon about bunny flying hard made by Gobelins studio is named "Le coup du lapin". Google told me that "coup du lapin" can be translated like "whiplash injury" and I've already known that "lapin" is bunny. Did I get the wordplay right?

3 Answers 3


No, it's not a wordplay, it's an expression which takes its origin in the way rabbits were killed in farms1. It's in fact a modus operandi, it consists of a quick but steady strike to the neck, killing swiftly and (supposedly) not too painfully/messily.

The other meaning, found in conversations way more often, belongs to car safety vocabulary. It's an analogy to the previous sense, designating the danger of being injured, disabled, or even killed by a rear impact on seats without head restraints. As one can imagine, the blow pushes the body forward but inertia snaps the person's neck, inducing mild neck pain to fractured vertebrae and permanent disabilities.

By the way, it seems that the "plot" of the cartoon is not really about any of this, but given that there's a rabbit in it, the makers must have just opted for the first rabbit-related expression they could feel legit enough for a cartoon title. (Just my 2 cents here on this last idea, asking them would be better of course.)

(1 traditionally, not in the modern farms, obviously)

  • I know of a friend who had grandparents on a farm. One day, she saw a demonstration of this: her grand-ma standing in front of her and showing her a rabbit, then passing it behind her back. Just the time it takes to pass it from one side to the other, and the rabbit came back dead. Trauma for a kid, obviously, but maybe that helps illustrate.
    – Chop
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 5:36
  • @Chop Some people will probably recall the french 80' movie Le grand chemin when reading your comment. There's a scene specifically depicting the trauma you're talking about. Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 14:38

The translation is "rabbit punch".

As @RomainVALERI answered, it is a strong shock to the neck that breaks cervical vertebrae.

It gaves its name to a boxing cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny. The rabbit punch is illegal in boxing, MMA, and other combat sports that involve striking.

In french wikipedia article, it is explained that direct traumatism is "rabbit punch" while the indirect traumatism is "whiplash injury". This explains your mistake.

As much as I can see your cartoon is linked to this expression seeing how much this poor rabbit is hurt.

  • To add a little about the translation, it can also be translated as karate chop, but then we lose the context. (since we are talking about rabbits). The move is a karate chop though.
    – Sake
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 6:56
  • 1
    @PaulPicard The karate chop does not indicate where it hits right?
    – Yohann V.
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 7:09
  • 1
    Indeed, because you can karate chop someone on other parts of the body (but the neck is usually the first place we think about when we picture the move in our mind, I think. Not that I have murderous intents all the time...). That's another context loss, I can't edit my comment, but well, now it's there. Thanks !
    – Sake
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 7:24
  • 1
    +1 for the reference to this use in fighting sports that I forgot to mention, thanks. Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 14:33

I don't know about the cartoon, but it can also be interpretted as cunning plan of the rabbit.
So it could be a playword if for instance, the rabbit is trying to suicide with a very clever plan (or you are trying to kill the rabbit).
As Romain Valeri said, the "coup du lapin" is well known when we talk about breaking neck on car accident.
On your cartoon, it looks like the rappid it trying to reach the carrot, but he is being disturbed by a well organised group of animals. It could be the "cunning plan about the rabbit"
I saw an other exemple here :

It looks like this is a book with many cartoons about a rabbit trying to suicide. It would so be a wordplay about the rabbit doing a clever plan and dying quickly.
We see more infos here. We see the original title is Return of the Bunny Suicides.
We also see many other way to suicide with very imaginative plans

  • The cartoon (45s long) is about a rabbit being dropped by several bigger animals until he swatted on screen.
    – Yohann V.
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 8:06
  • @YohannV. I edited about that indeed, so the "cunning plan" may be against the rabbit (bigger animals trying to throw it away), or the plan of the rabbit, trying to reach the carrot.
    – Random
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 8:16
  • I disagree but ok. Nice cartoon anyway. ^^
    – Yohann V.
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 8:42
  • +1 for the good laugh. How do you say Schadenfreude in french, again ? ^^ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 14:31
  • @YohannV. The question was quite rhetorical, though ;-) ...and jubilation is close, yes, but I feel it sometimes lacks a bit of the cruelty present in the original word. Anyway, sorry for the hors-sujet, my bad. Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 14:40

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