When someone is taken/in a relationship, on dit que cette personne est maquée.

Can anyone explain the usage of this expression more precisely? I know that the etymology comes from the world of prostitution, but I don’t understand how familar or vulgar it is to use “maqué” in a conversation.

Also, can a person say “je suis maqué(e)” or is it too pretentious? Is it better to say “j'ai quelqu'un”?

  • 2
    In Belgium, "je suis maqué" means "I'm completely astonished", "I've been left speechless". Nothing to do with the other usage (that I've learned from this question) since it's a loan from Walloon rather than a clipping of maquereau, but it's a potential source of confusion Apr 22, 2021 at 18:57
  • @Eauquidort This definition of the Belgian maqué perfectly fits the French estomaqué although the similarity is clearly accidental.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 22, 2021 at 20:49
  • @jlliagre Yeah that's where I assumed it was from as a kid. Looking into it, the Wal. verb it was borrowed from means to strike or to stun, and is onomatopoetic in origin. Apr 22, 2021 at 21:08
  • 1883. Apr 23, 2021 at 2:48

2 Answers 2


"Être maqué" is just an informal way (close to vulgar) to mean someone is in a relationship (often married, but not necessary). It's not used so often.

And yes, I can totally say "Je suis maqué" on a friends talk, but never on a professional context for example. I can totally say that a friend "est maqué", it's not insulting, just really informal.

Moreover, "Seul" means "Alone", so in your context, the contrary of "Maqué"

  • 1
    Thanks, I had a feeling it was not so common and slightly vulgar. I wrote "seul/e" by mistake, thanks for pointing that out. Besides the most common "je suis célibataire", what would you say are some other common ways of saying one is single?
    – alouette
    Apr 22, 2021 at 16:14
  • [with a friend]
    – Lambie
    Apr 22, 2021 at 17:42
  • 1
    @alouette Je suis célibataie / Je ne suis pas en couple. But all these are contrary to Être maqué
    – Adept
    Apr 23, 2021 at 7:05
  • I know, it was just a side question. Thank you.
    – alouette
    Apr 23, 2021 at 13:11

"Maqué" comes from the word "maquereau" which means "pimp". So, at first glance the expression “je suis maqué(e)” seems vulgar.

However, the Larousse dictionnary says that "se maquer" means "to live in a household with someone" and is considered as "très familier" and not as "vulgaire".

So, two things to remember:

  1. "Je suis maqué" means the contrary of “je suis célibataire”.
  2. "Se maquer" isn't a vulgar, be cautious though, since it should be used in informal contexts.

N.B. I can't help you further, since I am not French nor living in France.

  • "se maquer" could mean also "fréquenter", "s'accoquiner" in a more general sense. Ex : "moi je me maque pas avec les politiques".
    – XouDo
    Jun 15, 2021 at 12:10
  • I didn't know. It's interesting, since it is nearer to the original meaning of "maquer" or "maquereau".
    – The Moor
    Jun 17, 2021 at 7:48

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