I know that in France they often use mercredi, miel, mince as euphemism for merde. Do people in Quebec use the same words, or perhaps different ones?

  • In France, I never heard anybody saying "miel" for merde (However, I found this reference in the web).
    – Graffito
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 16:35
  • 1
    Isn't merde more or less mainstream now, and not in need of any euphemism? It's really not that bad as far swear words go.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 17:49
  • 1
    @Graffito One could hear it decades ago, but my feeling is that saying it is "often used" is not in keeping with how people have been speaking in France well before the 20th c. ended. It's true as well of the other two. Hearing them, or reading them in a conversation in a book would make me think of the bourgeoisie in the 1st half of the 20th c. Agree with Frank totally mainstream, and not a euphemism for merde either (euphemism for merde would be le mot de Cambrone.)
    – None
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


Wiktionnaire says "marde" is a "déformation phonétique" de "merde". In the latter entry, you will find interesting usage notes explaining that in some instances in Canada you'll hear a speaker using "merde" but the construction will differ "[sujet] à' marde" vs. "[sujet] de merde"; according to the same entry, "marde" was not entirely unknown in France, albeit more than a century ago.

That being said, this is not about the interjection. My experience is that I basically never use "marde" alone to curse like you would hear someone in France say "Merde !". I will resort to using... "Merde !" too in that context, or use a swear word (crisse, tabarnac, ostie etc.) or even "fuck" (which is considerably less potent a word than it is in English when used in my sociolect). Of course these mince nothing. I see there is also "merdre" with the extra "r" which is a pleasing variation, but I would never go through the lengths of using this, as it requires some effort with the pronunciation to sound this "r".

So in a way in Quebec/Canadian French you could argue the interjection "merde" is a minced form for the "marde" because of what I explained. As for the quality of an object or a situation, it depends, "cochonnerie", which is not Quebec/Canada-specific, comes to mind, for products especially. The loanword "scrap" is though : "c'est de la scrap". There must be many others.

  • "Cochonnerie" works for poor quality products in France too.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 0:25
  • Ce n'est pas moi - j'ai mis un +1 au contraire. Ta réponse me paraît appropriée. Bizarre.
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 16:11
  • @Frank Je me doute bien que non. T'as quelques utilisateurs dont l'essence de la contribution est le vote négatif et pas grand chose d'autre. Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 16:27

Canadian won't use "marde", because their culture is slightly different from the French one. A French will "jure" (swear) (using all sort of words such as "merde", "putain", "bordel", etc...) while a Quebecers will sacre. Meanings a Canadian will say "tabarnak", "Estie", "Calice", etc...

To sacre come from the christian's language, and to not blashpeme they used euphemism such as:

For the most famous Note that there is no official spelling for those euphemism, everybody can write Estie like he want (because the goal is to say "Hostie" without actually saying it).

So in a nutshell: a Quebecer will never use "marde" or even "merde".

  • to sacre come from the christian language?
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 15:37
  • @Lambie yeah, it's quite very old but in old french peoples from France used to sacre to, they used more "common" words such as "sacredieu", "vaindieu" (currently pronounced "vindiou" to mock french farmer or low cultured peasant), "nom de dieu", "pardieu", etc... But the French language did evolve when Quebecer not really. More info: fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacre_qu%C3%A9b%C3%A9cois
    – Paul-Marie
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 15:41
  • 1
    I am saying that is not English. sacré is of course a word in French, and sacred is one in English. However, they are not verbs. So, I have no idea what you mean.. sacre is a swear word in Québec, yes.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 15:43
  • 1
    Bienvenue ! Ton propos est un peu exagéré à mon avis quand tu dis qu'un Québécois n'utilisera jamais "merde", j'utilise ça quand même assez souvent. Le commentaire de Lambie c'était surtout que "to sacre" n'est pas un verbe en anglais. Évidemment. Tu aurais pu mettre "to « sacrer »", c'est juste ça. Peut-être que tu vas trouver ceci intéressant : french.stackexchange.com/questions/14387/… N'hésite pas à écrire en français indépendamment de la langue de la question. Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 22:15
  • 1
    @Lambie Sacrer is a verb, totally. fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/sacrer See meaning #6. Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 22:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.