A "real Gratien Bonheur": I've heard it a lot, lately, in my (French) workplace. I asked about the meaning of the name and was told it's like a "Ducon Lajoie" (humph. OK, thanks anyway).

Seems like it functions as an antonomasia based on some horrible movie character. Like "a Doktor Klaus" for "a Nazi pedophile".

What is it taken from? How would you translate a Gratien Bonheur or a Ducon Lajoie?

Thanks a lot for your coming answers.

  • 5
    Did you heard it lately or six month ago ? forum.wordreference.com/threads/gratien-bonheur.3203607/?hl=fr
    – jlliagre
    Jan 2, 2017 at 14:40
  • 1
    Are you sure absolutely sure you heard "Gratien Bonheur", spelled like that?
    – None
    Jan 2, 2017 at 18:28
  • Could it be "grossier something"?
    – xenoid
    Jan 2, 2017 at 22:50
  • Is that your French workplace or your French-speaking workplace in Canada, for instance? If the latter, is it in the Maritimes?
    – user3177
    Jan 3, 2017 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


"Ducon Lajoie" is derived from "Dupont Lajoie". Dupont Lajoie1 is a name derived from a 1975 movie and it personifies a racist cowardly common man.
Deriving Dupont into Ducon makes the person even more stupid. Calling someone ducon in French is an insult, it means you're telling the person they're stupid.

I have never heard "Gratien Bonheur", but you might have misheard and your workmates could have been talking about "Gontran Bohneur", a cartoon character usually known just as Gontran ("Gladstone Gander" in English), Gontran is a lazy unpleasant character who keeps bragging about his good luck.

Even if both depict unpleasant stupid characters there's a difference between calling someone a "Ducon Lajoie" or a "Gontran Bonheur". Calling someone a "Ducon Lajoie" stresses the racist feature. "Gontran Bonheur" is not as common as far as name calling is concerned and it applies to someone who likes boasting and whom you think doesn't really deserves his good luck.

The film is known has The Common Man in the English speaking countries.

  • 1
    From memory "Ducon-Lajoie" as an insult predates the "Dupont-Lajoie" movie (as do other similar nicknames: "dugenou", "dugland", "dunoeud"...). The name of the character in the movie is a plain "Lajoie". Why would they name the movie "Dupont-lajoie" if it were not to reference something else?
    – xenoid
    Jan 2, 2017 at 21:31
  • @xenoid The name of the character in the movie is Georges Lajoie. Georges is nicknamed "Dupont" to show he personifies the "common man" since Dupont personifies in French the common man (hence the English title of the film).
    – None
    Jan 3, 2017 at 6:44
  • @xenoid Do you have evidence that Ducon Lajoie was used before the movie came out ? I do not think so. The insult is just plain "ducon", lajoie was added after the movie.
    – None
    Jan 3, 2017 at 6:54
  • Personal memory. Do you have any evidence to the contrary (slang dictionary, etc...)?
    – xenoid
    Jan 3, 2017 at 7:56
  • “qui répond au nom de Lajoie, mais que ses proches appellent avec une amicale dérision Dupont Lajoie, par connotation, bien sûr avec « Ducon Lajoie »” (Guy Hennebelle, Cinémas de l'émigration, 1979). Seems that the expression used to be spelled “ducon-la-joie”. Jan 3, 2017 at 22:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.