I have heard the following sentence in a French movie:

C'est mal foutu!

Context: A group of friends are having dinner in the house of one of them. Suddenly, an alarm rings in the cellphone of one of the friends. The phone owner stands up, runs to a place without furniture and start doing jumping jacks. His friends ask him what's going on and he tells them that he has recently started a training program to lose weight provided by a cellphone app and he has to exercise whenever the app alarm rings. Then one of his friends says the sentence above.

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/mal-barr%C3%A9-mal-foutu.2043648/ says that "mal foutu" means "fucked up" and it can be used in several contexts such as:

  • ugly, out of shape. Ex: "elle est vraiment mal foutue"
  • sick, wounded. Ex: "je suis vraiment mal foutu aujourd'hui"
  • poorly conceived "cet appartement est vraiment mal foutu"

I have initially thought that the last meaning is the one meant in the sentence above, but the English subtitle says: "What a rip-off!" . Is that a particular interpretation of the person who translated the line to English or is it clear that it means that the mobile app is overpriced?

  • 1
    I wanna add two things: "mal foutu" for sick has for the most part fallen out of use (not idiomatic anymore). And for ugly it's not used that much either, it's mostly an antonym to "être bien foutu", which is used for "to be hot", "to have a nice body" (which can include the face). Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 10:11
  • @TeleportingGoat > In Belgium at least, "Être mal foutu" or "Être mal fichu" is pretty much idiomatic to mean "being sick"
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


Without seeing the movie, I'd also say the likely meaning is the third one.

There is however no big difference between "it's poorly conceived" and "it doesn't worth its price".

  • @jiliagre Thanks for the answer! The translation sounds odd to me because the friends don't even know how much the mobile application costs (or if it even costs anything), so they can't judge if it is financially worth it or not. Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 11:37
  • There is no such thing as free lunch ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 11:58

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