I want to know the meaning and level of offense/informality of the phrase:

Une personne bêche une autre.

I know that the verb literally means "dig over" and that it has to mean something like ignore/snub/mock.

I would be happy with any more precise information.

  • I heard some anglophones (UK against US ? I don't remember for sure) rage against what they call verbing). That's what you did with a french verb, didn't you ? But it's not an accepted usage in french language, anyway.. No offense at all, of course, but I mean, know that everyone would probably stare blankly at someone saying this sentence. At best. Jun 8, 2012 at 21:40
  • 1
    @RomainVALERI No, that is not what I did. I took the sentence from an email from a French person to a French mailing list, changed it to singular and edited out who did the action to whom for obvious reasons. As a foreigner, it is not easy if native speakers use phrases that are not in any dictionaries. I feel slightly put off that you now in addition assume that the phrase was coined by me.
    – Phira
    Jun 8, 2012 at 21:53
  • 1
    Ils bêchent quelqu'un ? It sounds very odd to me. Could it be a typo somewhere ? Jun 8, 2012 at 22:59
  • @RomainVALERI No, it is not a typo. I asked the person who clearly referred to the word above, but the answer was not helpful to understand the language level. I cannot ask the author of the email if it was rude.
    – Phira
    Jun 8, 2012 at 23:03
  • But please don't take offense, I tried to imagine where the sentence was from, now you added some context. I'm sorry if it disturbed you. Just trying something else : the verb bicher exists also, with a totally different meaning. Likely or not ? Jun 8, 2012 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


I personally never heard nor used it as a verb, but rather as a noun/adjective, and always in its feminine form (bêcheuse).

C'est une bêcheuse could be translated as She'll bore to death or She's very annoying. It can also mean pretentious, condescendant, snobbish.

  • 2
    +1 for the noun/verb usage. However, the masculine form exists, even if rarer than the feminine (mysoginy, anyone ?) Jun 8, 2012 at 21:43
  • So rare that I actually never heard nor used it. :) Jun 8, 2012 at 22:21
  • I forgot the (CNRTL) reference, sorry. Here it is. Jun 8, 2012 at 23:14
  • @AlexisPigeon: "Always in the feminine" ! Come on! Males can be as bêcheurs as females, and then of course, we say quel bêcheur.
    – None
    Jun 10, 2012 at 17:38
  • @Laure Totally agreeing with you here, bêching is not about gender at all. I just wanted to point out that I personally never heard or used the word bêcheur with that meaning in its masculine form, and as a consequence can't say anything about its use or even existence. Please let me clarify that in my answer. Jun 10, 2012 at 18:59

CNRTL for "bêcher" has 2 tabs, the second lists meanings like "to insult", "to scorn". However, if you look at the years listed for the sample sentences, you realize that these examples are WAY outdated (1883, 1931). I seem to remember seeing bêcher with the meaning of "to scorn" once, in a 19th century novel. But I've never heard it used "live", and even bêcheuse is something I haven't heard/read in the last 20 years or so...

Your Answer

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

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