Posts Tagged ‘fesser’

A story in the Journal de Montréal tells of a restaurant owner who posted a complaint on Facebook. Her complaint was about a customer who’d brought lactose-free milk into the restaurant for her child to drink.

The owner argued that the customer should’ve ordered the milk in her restaurant instead of bringing it in from outside.

Long story short, her complaint on Facebook went viral because the Internet sided with the customer, not the restaurant owner. A marketing specialist commented on how the restaurant’s reputation will be affected:

À court terme, ça va fesser fort. […] C’est une petite entreprise, c’est sûr que ça va faire mal.
In short term, it’s going to hurt (lit., “to hit hard”). It’s a small business, it’s going to hurt for sure.

[«Un contenant de lait crée un tollé contre une restauratrice», Journal de Montréal, 21 août 2015]

Literally, fesser means to hit. It can be used in both its literal sense, or in a figurative sense meaning to hurt (one’s reputation, one’s ego, etc.).

This isn’t the first time we’re seeing fesser on OffQc.

In #285, we saw how a character called Stéphanie from the TV show La Galère was proud that her son had punched a sexual predator and eventually managed to get him arrested. As she takes care of her son’s hand, she asks him:

T’as fessé fort?
Do you hit [him] hard?

  • t’as, informal contraction of tu as

In #415, we saw how a character called Olivier from the TV show Les Parent got into a fight with another boy. When Olivier explains to his parents why he got into the fight, he says he was protecting his little brother Zak and his friend:

Y’était en train d’écoeurer Zak pis son ami.
Y’allait fesser sur Zak!
He was picking on Zak and his friend.
He was gonna hit Zak!

  • y’était, informal pronunciation of il était
  • y’allait, informal pronunciation of il allait
  • pis (sounds like pi), informal pronunciation of puis; means and here

In those last two examples, fesser is used literally. But in #547, we saw a figurative use: a radio show host wishes a happy 40th birthday to a listener and admits that turning 40 is hard to take:

40 ans, ça fesse.
[Turning] 40 hurts.

The Usito dictionary also gives a couple examples:

Fesser sur un clou avec un marteau.
To strike a nail with a hammer.

«J’ai remarqué que, quand Alexandre est fâché, il est violent; il donne des coups de poing, il fesse partout»
“I’ve noticed that, when Alexander is angry, he gets violent; he goes around punching, hitting everything.”

[Michel Gosselin, Le repos piégé, 1988]

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Heard on the radio — a radio show host wishing a happy birthday to a listener celebrating his 40th.

The radio show host then admitted that turning 40, ça fesse.

Fesser means to hit, which, according to the radio host, is what turning 40 does. A hit to the old ego…

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Here’s some more conversational Quebec French from the TV series Les Parent. If you have the possibility to watch it on television (on Radio-Canada) or on tou.tv, I recommend it. You can also check for it on DVD.


Natalie asks her teenaged son Thomas how his friend Félix is. Thomas tells his mother that he hasn’t seen him. He also tells her that he doesn’t hang around with that group of friends anymore:

Je me tiens plus avec cette gang-là.
I don’t hang around with those guys anymore.

Plus is pronounced plu is this example. (In full, it would be je ne me tiens plus…, but Thomas left the ne off.)


Olivier tells his younger brother Zak that he’s such an idiot:

T’es ben con!
You’re such an idiot!


Olivier explains to his parents why he got into a fight with another boy. It’s because the other boy was picking on his younger brother Zak and his friend:

Y’était en train d’écoeurer Zak pis son ami.
He was picking on Zak and his friend.

He also tells his parents that the other boy was going to hit Zak:

Y’allait fesser sur Zak!
He was gonna hit Zak!

Écoeurer isn’t as hard to pronounce as it looks. It’s just ékeuré.

[Quotes from Les Parent, “Fréquentations douteuses,” season 4, episode 4, Radio-Canada, Montreal, 3 October 2011.]

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