D. Trump used the expression "Smart cookie" to qualify (disqualify?) the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. I heard the French translation "malin", but I feel that it does not convey the derogatory tune of D. Trump's wording. "Astucieux salopard" would be probably too strong, "Petit malin" too weak. Thanks for your help. That question was posted on English language and it was suggested by a reader to post it here.

1 Answer 1


Toute la presse (ou du moins ce que j'en ai lu et entendu) a traduit les paroles de Trump par « petit malin ».

Sinon, smart cookie étant quand même très familier on le traduit parfois par démerdard. Mais je ne vois pas le mot dans la bouche de Trump, du moins dans le contexte des paroles en question.

« Futé » ou « débrouillard » pourrait aller aussi, mais je préférerais : « Kim Jong-un se débrouille bien » ou quelque chose de plus familier: « il sait tirer son épingle du jeu ».

  • 2
    +1 for your favorite («se débrouille bien»), especially since it is not only not derogatory at all, but even possibly complimentary which, despite OP's curious belief to the contrary, would capture perfectly the totally non-derogatory notion of "smart cookie." (Maybe OP [and even Trump, himself] is confusing this with "Smart Alec/k")
    – Papa Poule
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 21:01
  • The 'petit' derided by Bazin is what gives the proper derogatory undertone to 'malin'. The latter can be a compliment when alone, but not when associated with 'petit', which in this case is not 'sweet, little -' as it can be otherwise, but 'small, petty' and emphatically not a plus.
    – user13512
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 20:47

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