Posts Tagged ‘écoeurant’

Méchant beau char

Méchant beau char

In entry #684, a girl exclaimed celui-là est malade! as she pointed to a famous building made of Mega Bloks at a centre d’achats (shopping centre).

Although the literal meaning of malade is “sick,” it meant “awesome” or “amazing” when the girl used it to describe the Mega Bloks display.

Way back in entry #267, Hugo from the television show La Galère uses the word écoeurant to describe his new appart (informal word for “apartment” which sounds like the English word “apart”).

The literal meaning of écoeurant is disgusting, but this word can also take on the meaning “awesome” or “amazing.” So when Hugo says that his appart is écoeurant, he means that it’s amazing… not disgusting!

In La Galère, Hugo also says that he’s going to get une job écoeurante, “an amazing job.”

Ken asks whether méchant has this double meaning as well. Recently, I saw a sign for a lost dog in my neighbourhood. The owner of the dog was offering une méchante grosse récompense to the person who could return his dog to him.

The literal meaning of méchant is “wicked,” but, on the sign for the lost dog, it takes on a positive sense (an amazingly big reward, a wicked big reward).

Celui-là est malade!
That one’s awesome!

un appart écoeurant
an awesome apartment
(and not “a disgusting apartment”)

une job écoeurante
an amazing job
(and not “a disgusting job”)

une méchante grosse récompense
an amazingly big reward

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Yesterday’s entry Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois use of ÉCOEURANT contained a lot of info, and words with double meanings can be intimidating.

Here’s a simplified version:

If the adjective écoeurant is said in a negative tone (like yuck), it means “disgusting.”

If the adjective écoeurant is said in a positive tone (like wow), it means “awesome.”

The noun un écoeurant is an insult meaning “bastard.”

That’s it!

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Before reading, you may like to read a simplified explanation of what écoeurant means, and then come back to this entry for all the details. Otherwise, dive in!

Something that’s écoeurant in French can be described as disgusting in English, such as une odeur écoeurante.

The use of écoeurant in the sense of disgusting is understood by francophones everywhere. But, in Québec, écoeurant can take on some additional meanings.

One of the additional meanings given to the adjective écoeurant is in fact a very positive one, and has nothing to do with being disgusting.

Ils ont donné un show écoeurant! (Y’ont donné un show écoeurant!)
They put on an awesome show!

J’ai une idée écoeurante!
I’ve got an amazing idea!

Comment ç’a été? (How was it?)
Super écoeurant! (Super amazing!)

Wow! C’est écoeurant ça!
Wow! That’s awesome!

You may also come across the expression en écoeurant, like in this example from a blog comment on La Presse:

L’appartement sent bon en écoeurant […].
The apartment smells amazingly good.

When écoeurant is used in a positive sense, you’ll know it because the speaker’s enthusiasm conveys it.

Be careful, though: referring to a person with the noun form of écoeurant sends us back into the negative end of this word’s meanings.

Lui, c’t’un écoeurant!
He’s such a bastard!

Va chier, mon écoeurant!
Fuck off, you bastard!

In an article from Le Devoir, we find a good example of the insult used in the political arena:

« Vous êtes une bande d’écœurants », crie le ministre Antoine Rivard.
“You’re a bunch of bastards,” yelled minister Antoine Rivard.

In an example on OffQc from 2010, Claude from the television show La Galère refers to her boyfriend as an écoeurant:

Oh l’écoeurant! […] le salaud d’écoeurant!
Oh that bastard! That dirty bastard!

An amusing example from Les chroniques de Karîse Dondelle, humour domestique, p.11, by Caroline Côté:

Deux minutes plus tard, [mon mari] renverse sa bière. De la faute à qui? Moi. Si j’avais oublié de l’apporter aussi, il ne l’aurait pas renversée. Mais là, n’allez pas croire que mon mari c’est un écœurant, là. Wow! Il ne dit pas que c’est toujours ma faute, non, non, des fois il admet que c’est lui. Par exemple, quand on peinture la galerie pis tout le monde trouve ça beau, il dit que c’est lui.

Two minutes later, [my husband] spills his beer. And whose fault is that? Mine. If I hadn’t remembered to bring that to him either, he wouldn’t have spilled it. But don’t go thinking my husband’s a bastard just because of that. Wow! He doesn’t say that it’s always my fault, no, no, sometimes he admits that it’s his. For example, when we paint the veranda and everybody thinks it looks nice, he takes the blame.

That quote also contains an example of used at the end of a statement:

Mais là, n’allez pas croire que mon mari c’est un écœurant, là.

To learn more about this usage of là, take a look at:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the québécois use of LÀ

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