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Chris asks about a French adjective that sounds like sou in the masculine and soule in the feminine. It means “drunk.” What word is it?

soûl (masculine; sounds like sou)
soûle (feminine; sounds like soule)

You’ll also see this spelling:

saoul (masculine; sounds like sou)
saoule (feminine; sounds like soule)

A québécois expression that comes to mind using the adjective soûl is this one: être soûl comme une botte.

If you’re soûl comme une botte, then you’re very drunk.

In Yves Beauchemin’s Le matou, we find:

Il était soûl comme une botte en quittant le restaurant.
He was totally drunk when he left the restaurant.

This is the masculine form of the adjective, so it’s pronounced sou.

A character on the 2014 Bye Bye used the vulgar expression en crisse after this adjective to make it stronger:

J’étais soûle en crisse!
I was drunk as hell!
I was fucking drunk!

This is the feminine form of the adjective, so it’s pronounced soule.

According to the rectifications orthographiques, this adjective can also be spelled soul and soule, without the accent.

saoul, saoule (older spelling)
soûl, soûle
soul, soule (according to spelling modifications)

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STOP COMPLAINING

stop complaining

I have a little birdie who whispers ideas to me for OffQc to keep me inspired (thanks, Maude!), so today I’m going to pick five of those ideas for us to take a look at:

1. sérieux
2. chiâler
3. stooler
4. être chaud, chaudasse, feeling
5. virer fou

1. sérieux

Listen for statements in French that begin with sérieux during colloquial conversations. It’s the equivalent to how anglophones begin a statement with “seriously.”

Sérieux, t’es full parano.
Seriously, you’re totally paranoid.

Sérieux man, t’es pathétique.
Seriously man, you’re pathetic.

Sérieux, ç’a pas d’allure.
Seriously, it makes no sense.

Non mais sérieux, t’es donc jamais satisfait, toi?
OK seriously, are you like never satisfied?

Don’t pronounce the c in donc in that last example. Parano in the first example is an informal short form for paranoïaque.

2. chiâler

Dictionaries say this verb is spelled chialer, but it’s pronounced chiâler in Québec and often spelled like that for this reason. Remember that â sounds rather like “aww.” I’ll spell this verb with the accent in the examples below.

In Québec, the verb chiâler can be used in the sense of “to complain.”

Arrête de chiâler.
Stop complaining.

Arrête de chiâler après moi.
Stop chewing me out.
Stop nagging me.

Sérieux là, on chiâle sur tout et sur rien.
Seriously, people complain about anything and everything.

Non mais sérieux, l’hiver tu chiâles contre le froid pis l’été tu chiâles contre la chaleur. J’ai mon voyage!
OK seriously, in the winter you complain about the cold and in the summer you complain about the heat. I’m sick of it!

3. stooler

This verb is pronounced stoulé. Stooler quelqu’un means “to rat someone out” or “to tell on someone.” If you’re not familiar with those English expressions, it means dénoncer quelqu’un.

For example, imagine a kid who wants to get back at her brother (get revenge on him) for something he said to her; she might decide to stooler her brother by telling their parents what he said so that he gets in trouble.

Mon frère m’a stoolé à mon père.
My brother told on me to my father.
My brother ratted me out to my father.

Le voisin m’a stoolé et m’a fait pogner un ticket.
The neighbour ratted me out and made me get a ticket.

The t in ticket is pronounced in that last example. Learn the noun form of stooler too: someone who does the stooling is un stool.

4. être chaud, chaudasse, feeling

If you’re chaudasse, then you’re on your way to getting drunk. You’re not full-on drunk yet; you’re buzzed or tipsy. But once you really are drunk, then you’re chaud.

Être feeling means the same thing as être chaudasse.

être chaudasse, to be tipsy, buzzed
être feeling, to be tipsy, buzzed
être chaud, to be loaded, drunk

J’étais chaudasse, mais pas chaud.
I was buzzed, but not drunk.

J’commence à être feeling.
J’commence à être chaudasse.
I’m starting to feel the alcohol.

Après deux shooters, j’étais déjà pas mal feeling.
After two shooters, I was already pretty buzzed.

The part that means “pretty” in that last example is pas mal. Don’t pause between the words pas mal. These two words must be pronounced together because they form an expression:

j’étais / déjà / pas mal / feeling
I was / already / pretty / buzzed

5. virer fou

In an article written by Brigitte Lavoie in Le Soleil (24 December 2013), a man named Rémi Guérin is quoted as saying:

Quand j’ai su que j’avais le cancer, je me suis dit : « Faut que je fasse quelque chose sinon je vais virer fou. »

When I found out that I had cancer, I said to myself: “I gotta do something or I’m gonna go crazy.”

That “something” was build a model of a church in La Malbaie.

virer fou
virer folle
to go crazy

Apart from the expression virer fou, there’s another useful bit of French to learn in that quote: quand j’ai su que…, “when I found out that…”

Virer fou is used in Québec, but quand j’ai su que is used by all francophones.

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In an Urbania blog post called Maudite boisson, Marie Darsigny writes about the challenge of breaking an alcohol addiction and staying sober.

In particular, she writes about the challenge of doing this at social events where alcohol is served. In her blog post, she talks about the time she was at a bar for a friend’s birthday party.

I’ve pulled 11 examples of French from her blog post for you to learn.

1. un 5 à 7 poche
2. ça fait un boutte
3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien
4. mes lendemains de veille
5. on a en masse parlé de ça
6. ça lui tentait pas
7. un shooter sur le comptoir
8. échapper son verre
9. les conversations sont plates
10. écouter House of Cards
11. je me sens cheap

_ _ _

1. un 5 à 7 poche

= a lame 5 à 7 [after-work social gathering]

Marie begins her blog post with an open question to other readers who may also be taking a 28-day no-alcohol challenge called le défi 28 jours:

Hey, pis, votre défi 28 jours sans alcool, ça se passe bien? Avez-vous succombé et bu une p’tite goutte de bière dans un 5 à 7 poche pour chasser l’ennui avec Kevin Parent?

Hey, so, your 28-day challenge without alcohol, how’s it going? Have you given in yet and had a beer to drink while listening to Kevin Parent just to chase away the boredom at some lame 5 à 7?

Le défi 28 jours is an initiative that occurs in February to help encourage alcoholics to break their drinking addiction — 28 days, no drinking.

Un 5 à 7 is an after-work social gathering where people go for a drink. The numbers in the term refer to the time: from 5 to 7 o’clock. Tourisme Montréal writes about the 5 à 7 tradition here.

If the 5 à 7 is poche like the way Marie said it in her blog post, it’s a lame one. The adjective poche is often used to describe something as being no good, lame, etc. It’s an informal usage.

_ _ _

2. ça fait un boutte

= it’s been a while

Marie writes that she craves alcohol less than before, now that some time has passed since she stopped drinking:

Moi, ça fait un boutte que j’ai moins envie de boire qu’avant, que je suis plus relax.

It’s been a while that I’ve had less of a desire to drink than before, and that I’ve been more relaxed.

Boutte is an informal pronunciation of bout that you’ll hear people use in Québec. Here, you can understand un boutte to mean “a bit (of time).”

Ça fait un boutte que j’y pense.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

Ça fait un boutte que j’apprends le français québécois.
I’ve been learning Québécois French for a while.

_ _ _

3. la FOMO ne me fait pu rien

= FOMO doesn’t bother me anymore

When you want to avoid drinking, you may find yourself obligated to turn down offers of going out with friends. Marie writes that she’s able to turn down these offers with greater ease now:

Je dis non à des sorties et je peux même affirmer que la FOMO, fear of missing out, ne me fait pu rien pentoute.

I don’t go out and I can even say that I’m not at all bothered any more by FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Last year, a reader of OffQc called Josh asked if there was a French term for FOMO (the fear of missing out). I don’t think there is one. FOMO can be described literally as la peur de manquer quelque chose in French. If you want to read more examples of FOMO in French, check the comments section of entry #539.

Pu is an informal pronunciation of plus. Pentoute (more often spelled as pantoute) means “(not) at all.”

La FOMO ne me fait pu rien pantoute.
[La FOMO ne me fait plus rien du tout.]
FOMO doesn’t bother me at all anymore.

_ _ _

4. mes lendemains de veille

= my hangovers

Marie writes that she began caring less about FOMO once her hangovers started becoming too much to handle:

Ça date peut-être de quand mes lendemains de veille ont commencé à durer plus que 24h.

[Not being bothered by FOMO anymore] maybe dates back to the time that my hangovers began lasting more than 24 hours.

If we translate literally lendemain de veille, we get “the day after the night before.” Le lendemain is the day after, and la veille is the night before. And the day after getting drunk the night before, you feel pretty crappy. So, this expression is used to refer to a hangover, or suffering the lingering effects of drunkenness the next day.

The expression être lendemain de veille means ”to have a hangover.”

Parle moins fort, chu lendemain de veille!
Don’t talk so loud, I’ve got a hangover!

_ _ _

5. on a en masse parlé de ça

= it’s been talked about endlessly

Marie writes:

Je sais comment ça peut être difficile de ne pas boire. On a en masse parlé de la banalisation de la consommation de l’alcool.

I know how difficult it can be to not drink. The trivialisation of alcohol consumption has been talked about endlessly.

If you’ve got something en masse, you’ve got that thing in a huge quantity.

Y’a des problèmes en masse!
He’s got so many problems!

J’ai bu en masse de vodkas.
I drank so many vodkas.

J’ai bu en masse de bières.
I drank so many beers.

J’en ai bu en masse.
I drank so many of them.

Je t’en ai déjà parlé en masse!
I’ve already talked to you about that so much!

_ _ _

6. ça lui tentait pas

= he didn’t want to
= he didn’t feel like it

Marie writes:

Hier, après avoir fini ma petite bouteille de cidre, j’ai eu comme une boule dans l’estomac. Mon corps me disait que ce soir, ça lui tentait pas.

After finishing up my bottle of cider yesterday, I had like this kind of knot in my stomach. My body was telling me it didn’t want to [drink] tonight.

You already know that you can use the verb vouloir when you need to say “to want,” but the verb tenter is used very often in the same sense.

The form that this verb takes is tenter à quelqu’un.

Ça me tente pas.
I don’t want to.
I don’t feel like it.

Ça me tentait vraiment pas.
I really didn’t want to.
I really didn’t feel like it.

Ça lui tente pas.
He doesn’t want to.
He doesn’t feel like it.

Est-ce que ça te tente?
Ça te tente-tu?

Do you want to?
Do you feel like it?

_ _ _

7. un shooter sur le comptoir

= a shooter on the counter

While at a bar with friends to celebrate a birthday, Marie avoided drinking her shooter by putting it back on the bar counter while everybody else drank theirs:

Pendant que tout le monde grimace, je pose le shooter sur le comptoir.

As everybody else smirks [from drinking their shots], I put my shooter on the [bar] counter.

They were smirking because of the strength of their shooters.

Shooter is pronounced like its English equivalent.

_ _ _

8. échapper son verre

= to drop one’s glass

At the bar, Beyoncé’s song “Single Ladies” was playing when someone dropped their drink:

Bang, quelqu’un échappe son verre. Beyoncé aurait tellement jamais échappé son verre.

Bang, someone drops their glass. Beyoncé would so never have dropped her glass.

In Québec, the verb échapper is used in the sense of to drop something on the ground. For example, if you dropped your wallet, you could say j’ai échappé mon portefeuille.

Monsieur! Vous avez échappé vos gants!
Sir! You’ve dropped your gloves!

_ _ _

9. les conversations sont plates

= the conversations are boring

Because she’s not drunk, Marie notices how uninteresting the conversations at the bar with her friends are:

C’est drôle comment je remarque à quel point les conversations sont plates.

It’s funny to realise just how boring the conversations are.

She used the word plate, which is a typically québécois way to label something as dull or boring.

Ce livre est tellement plate!
This book is so boring!

C’est vraiment plate ici.
It’s really boring here.

The adjective plate can also be used to say that something “sucks” in the expression c’est plate.

— J’ai pogné un ticket de trois cents piasses!
— Shit, c’est plate.
— I got a three-hundred dollar ticket!
— Shit, that sucks.

The final t in ticket is pronounced in that example.

_ _ _

10. écouter House of Cards

= to watch House of Cards

Marie writes that when you admit to someone that you’re refusing to drink, you’ll get asked all kinds of questions as to why, like these ones:

Tu travailles tôt demain? Tu prends des antibiotiques? Tu es enceinte? Tu fais le défi 28 jours? Tu as trop écouté House of Cards et tu as peur de finir comme Peter Russo?

Are you working early tomorrow? Are you taking antibiotics? Are you pregnant? Are you taking the 28-day challenge? Have you watched too much House of Cards and you’re scared to end up like Peter Russo?

In Québec, television shows are more often “listened to” than “watched.” If you hear someone say écouter la télévision, it means the same thing as regarder la télévision. You can say it either way, but know that the Québécois will more spontaneously use écouter.

Veux-tu écouter La Voix avec moi?
Do you want to watch The Voice with me?

_ _ _

11. je me sens cheap

= I feel bad [for what I did, said, etc.]

Marie writes that it’s tiring having to avoid drinking. She’d rather go home:

Ne pas boire, c’est fatigant. Je veux aller chez moi. C’est pas parce que je suis à jeun que je vais prendre mon temps pour dire bye à tout le monde, oh non: je prends mon manteau et je me faufile dehors en me disant «Demain, ils vont avoir oublié ça!» Bon, par contre, le lendemain, moi je m’en rappelle et je me sens cheap d’avoir filé en douce.

Refusing to drink is tiring. I want to go home. Just because I’m abstaining doesn’t mean that I’m gonna take my time saying bye to everybody. No, no: I get my coat and I sneak off while telling myself, “Tomorrow, they won’t even remember!” But me, on the other hand, I do remember the next day, and I feel bad for having secretly taken off.

Sometimes you’ll hear cheap used in French to describe a stingy person or something made of poor quality. Other times, it will be used to label someone as a lowlife or their behaviour as a cheap shot.

T’es ben cheap, toi!
You’re so cheap! stingy!

C’est un peu cheap de faire ça.
That’s kind of a cheap shot.

Je trouve ça cheap de ta part.
That’s pretty low of you.

Je me sens cheap d’avoir fait ça.
I feel low for having done that.

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All quoted French text written by: Marie Darsigny, «Maudite boisson», Urbania, Montréal, 26 février 2014.

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