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The French word "Bordel" explained

You are in the right place to discover all the things you want to know about the funny French word "Bordel". To be more precise, it includes a full definition of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example.In addition, we also added some useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

English translation

  • Translation : Dammit

  • Register : Informal - Funny - Swear

How to pronounce?



  • IPA : / bɔʁdɛl /

aesthetic french quote bordel

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What does bordel mean?


"Bordel" literally means "brothel" and is a common way to say "Fuck" or "Damn" in French. It's a popular swear word used in daily life.

How to use

"Merde / Putain / Bordel / Fait chier" are used exactly like "Crap / Fuck / Shit / etc." in English. But we like to make a sentence out of them according to the level of angriness and vulgarity we want.

So the more of "Merde / Putain / Bordel / Fait chier" we use in one sentence and the more pissed we are. And we also often add "Oh" before to make it more dramatic, let's see how it works...

Vulgar (Just one swear word):

Super vulgar (x2 combo):

Super mega vulgar (x3 combo):

Infinite vulgarity (x4 combo):

Finally, if you really want to express your frustration in formal contexts without using bad swear words, you can use instead:

N.B: It's not "formal" per se but "neutral" and so it won't be shocking

N.B.2: some translations above are a bit approximative since there is no direct English equivalent, but it reflects the spirit of each possibility as close as possible from the French version.

Funny stuff

French pro trick: sometimes you start to say naturally "Merde" (Shit) but before finishing the first syllable you realize you are in a formal context and that it wouldn't be appropriate.

So, if you just said "Mmm" you can switch to "Mince" which is not vulgar and has the same meaning → Mmmm...ince.

But if you already said "Merrrr", instead of finishing the word "Merde" you say "Mercredi" (Wednesday) instead → Mer...credi. In this case people will know you almost said "Merde" but it's still better than actually saying it.)

Example in a dialogue with French audio


Bordel ! Il pleut comme vache qui pisse !

Dammit, it's raining like a peeing cow!

Oh non, ça fait chier !

Oh crap!

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