You won’t go long in Quebec without hearing someone use the word niaiseux in an informal conversation, so you’ll want to learn this adjective.
In a scene from Les Parent, Olivier, a teenaged boy, is talking about how using trick questions in multiple choice exercises at school seems stupid to him. He describes the whole idea of using trick questions as donc ben niaiseux.
If something’s niaiseux, it’s stupid. And if something’s donc ben niaiseux, well, then it’s really stupid! Donc ben sounds like don ben. It’s an informal way of strengthening an adjective.
So, when Olivier said that using trick questions in multiple choice exercises was donc ben niaiseux, that was his way of saying it’s a really stupid thing to do.
Niaiseux can be used to refer to pretty much anything a speaker finds stupid: people, objects, ideas… The masculine form is niaiseux; the feminine form is niaiseuse.
Sometimes people poke fun at each other in a light-hearted way by saying, for example, t’es niaiseux! When said playfully, niaiseux means something more like “silly” or “goofy.” But, if that playfulness isn’t there, it’ll sound much more insulting, like “stupid.” So be careful with your tone of voice if you use the adjective niaiseux.
[This entry was inspired by the character Olivier in Les Parent, “Étude des moeurs,” season 1, episode 1, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 8 September 2008.]
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