George Brassens wrote many songs in which he talks about "croquantes et croquants", as if speaking of a particular kind of people.

For instance:

Les croquants, ça les attriste, ça
Les étonne, les étonne
Qu'une fille, une fille belle comme ça
S'abandonne, s'abandonne
Au premier ostrogoth venu
Les croquants, ça tombe des nues

Who are these people?

2 Answers 2


It's an old derogatory word similar to "peasant".

In modern French, péquenot (redneck) might be used with a similar meaning.

In this song, croquants is definitely used to name peasants, and in this case relatively healthy and avaricious ones, as shows this verse:

Les croquants vont en ville, à cheval sur leurs sous

See the TLFi


Although croquant has a very definite meaning, Brassens is using the the metaphor with a rhetorical strategy to designate middle class persons, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes.

  • +1 for referring to the original meaning, and for raising the point that Brassens develops a vocabulary on social and moral issues that is entirely his own. A Brassens concordancer (I don't think there is one...) would point to many uses of croquant, as the OP notes, and always with that meaning - rural, middle class, materialistic, conservative, awful.
    – boisvert
    Aug 24, 2021 at 8:32

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