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I have heard the following (informal) dialogue in the TV series Marseille:

  • X: Je veux pas rentrer dans tes combines.
  • Y: Quelle combine?
  • X: Tu crois que j'ai que ça à foutre, de charger du shit.
  • Y: Ça y est, tu parles comme ça, maintenant. (after holding X's neck and approaching his mouth to X's ear) Tu sais que tu vas manger, petit enculé!

Context: Y, a neighborhood gangster, wants X to transport drugs in his car for him, but X doesn't want it.

The last sentence sounds like a threat. "manger" obviously doesn't mean "to eat" here. What does it mean? "to pay (for the lack of respect)" ?

  • The first thing that comes to mind is "manger de la prison" or its slang equivalent "manger de la tôle." However, given context, it doesn't seem like Y would be threatening X with potential jail time, correct? – spaghettibaguetti Aug 27 '20 at 19:44
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    @spaghettibaguetti No, the gangster (Y) doesn't want to send the young guy (X) to the jail, but rather make X work for him. It's more like the gangster is threatening to give him some kind of lesson for the lack of respect he demonstrated. – Alan Evangelista Aug 28 '20 at 0:19
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Here tu vas manger certainly means tu vas en prendre plein la gueule (You are going to be badly hurt).

Variants are:

  • Tu vas manger grave.

  • Ta vas manger ta race.

  • Or more threatening, tu vas manger des pissenlits par la racine. – livresque Aug 27 '20 at 22:59
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    @livresque That would work in a Michel Audiard movie but would be terribly dated in that series. – jlliagre Aug 27 '20 at 23:27
  • That equivalent expression "s'en prendre plein la gueule" seems to fit well the context. According to fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/s%E2%80%99en_prendre_plein_la_gueule , it can also figuratively mean "subir une sévère réprimande". This meaning fits better the context, as the gangster later punishes the young guy by exploding his car instead of physically hurting him. – Alan Evangelista Aug 28 '20 at 0:22
  • @livresque That is a distortion of the true expression, which is "manger les pissenlits par la racine" and is nothing more than a jocular way of saying "to be dead". – LPH Aug 28 '20 at 10:11
  • @LPH Livresque is clearly well aware of this meaning. – jlliagre Aug 28 '20 at 10:54

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