French for ‘shut up’ is ‘ferme-la (bouche)’. However, I have come across ‘ferme-le’ which, judging from the context, could mean something similar. I have tried googling for it but came up with nothing. Is this some kind of frequent typo, or legitimate ellipsis, or yet something else... Many thanks in advance.

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    As la is a pronoun, not an adverb, that must be Ferme-la !, not ferme-là ! as it was initially written in the title. La is not an article either. The meaning is not ferme la bouche but ferme-la, ta bouche (more likely: gueule). A stronger synonymous of ferme la ! is ta gueule !. In addition to the hypothetical masculine antecedent that have been listed, there is also the possibility that the person you heard had a picard (a.k.a chti) accent, where la might be pronounced like lo and thus confused with le. – jlliagre Oct 6 '18 at 20:32
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    @jlliagre Many thanks. I understand that I made a mistake in writing là (not an adverb, as you say); i did assume that it was the article left after the elision of the noun, but now realise that it is in fact a clitic pronoun. Many thanks. – PamCam Oct 7 '18 at 9:13

Plusieurs possibilités pour un nom masculin :

  • CLAPET (~1947 in Mollo sur la joncaille...)
  • CLAQUE-MERDE (in Les tontons flingueurs...)
  • CLAQUET (in Winter...)
  • BEC (~1908 in Pieds Nickelés au Mexique...)
  • PLOMB (~1897 in Hors des lois...)
  • SUCRIER (~1925 in La bonne vie...)
  • MOULIN (à parole) (~1927 in À la revoyure...)
  • RIDEAU (~1975)

Noter tout de même que si ferme-la se comprendra, dans le contexte d'un dialogue, en tant que tel et sans nécessité que le mot bouche apparaisse précédemment, ferme-le ne sera immédiatement compris dans ce sens que si un des mots ci-dessus est explicitement présent dans la proposition qui précède (ou suit).

Et noter aussi que la plupart de ces tournures appartient au registre de l'argot.


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