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A char de marde has nothing to do with Arctic char.

It’s the truth; a “char de marde” has nothing to do with Arctic char.

During your ventures into Québécois French, it’s only a matter time before you hear one francophone tell another to go eat un char de marde.

Now, if you had heard this when you were new to French and the way it’s spoken in Québec, perhaps you’d have thought that un char de marde was a strange way of pronouncing un char de mer and ended up thinking it was some sort of culinary delight, like Arctic char.

But I’ll bet you’re a little wiser now and realise that the char in question here tastes less like fish and a whole lot more like shit.

That’s because un char de marde is just that — a load of shit. And although it’s no culinary delight, this doesn’t stop the Québécois from encouraging one another to eat it.

Mange don un char de marde.
Eat a load of shit.

In other words, fuck off. 😀

You might even hear the expression used between friends, perhaps in a toned-down version. For example, if Friend A were teasing Friend B, Friend B could tell Friend A to take a hike by saying this in a playful tone:

Mange don un char!
Eat a load!

It’s understood that the load to be eaten is one of shit.

Of course, instead of mange don un char de marde, one could also simply say mange don d’la marde in a moment of anger, but it’s just not as fun, admit it.

The don in these examples should really be spelled donc, but I use don to remind you to not pronounce the c here.

You’ll also frequently hear this expression used with the verb aller:

Va don manger un char de marde.
Go eat a load of shit.

Je vous invite à aller manger un char de marde. Bon appétit.
I invite you to go eat a load of shit. Bon appétit.

Tu peux ben aller manger un char de marde.
You can just go eat a load of shit.

La prochaine fois qu’il t’appelle, dis-lui d’aller manger un char de marde.
The next time he calls you, tell him to go eat a load of shit.

Instead of just telling someone to go eat un char de marde, perhaps you’re feeling generous and would prefer to actually offer one to somebody? How sweet of you. The expression donner un char de marde à quelqu’un means exactly what it sounds like: to give someone shit (as in to yell at that person, to lecture them, to chew them out).

Le policier m’a donné un char de marde.
The policeman gave me shit.

Je vais l’appeler ce soir pour lui donner un char de marde.
I’m going to call him this evening to give him shit.

Mon ex vient de me donner un char de marde.
My ex just gave me shit.

Le garage était fermé, donc j’ai pas pu aller leur donner un char de marde.
The garage was closed, so I couldn’t go give them shit.

Je vais aller demain donner un char de marde au gérant.
I’m going to go tomorrow to give the manager shit.

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