Bonne merde is a very common French proverb which is remarkable considering it is about excrement 😂 ! 💩❤️
Bonne merde in English
It is such a weird French expression this one ! 😊 Now what do you think this very popular French expression means in English: let’s have a look at the picture :
Something good 😀
some crap 💩
Two French words :
“bon” = good
“merde” = poo
It literaly means “Good shit” ?!?
What can it possibly mean ? To find out let’s have a look at the origin quite “malodorous” of this French expression ! ❤️
Bonne merde Origin
Saying ” good shit” to wish yourself good luck has its origins in the entertainment world. In the 19th century, the bourgeoisie went to the theater or the opera in a horse-drawn carriage, and the horses inevitably defecated in front of the entrance. The more successful the show, the more the carriages flocked and the more the spectators walked in the dung and carried some under their soles into the auditorium. The success of a play could therefore be measured by the layer of droppings that stained the room, and the people of the show got into the habit of wishing each other “shit” before each performance. Source : The internaute article
Thus the more done you have inside a theatre hall, the most successful the play was. Wishing “good shit” meant “good luck” 🙃
Bonne merde French definition
Dire merde à quelqu’un, par antiphrase, lui souhaiter bonne chance.Dictionnaire Larousse
“dire” ou “souhaiter bonne merde” is “to wish good luck” in French ! 🇫🇷 ☘️
Bonne merde Example in French
“C’est ma première représentation ce soir, j’ai le trac !”.
– Je te souhaite bonne merde.
🇬🇧 “It is my first performance tonight and I am feeling nervous.
– I wish you gook luck !
Bonne merde Translation in English
I think that a suitable translation for this colloquial French idiom : Bonne merde would be of course “Good luck”, but a more subtle one comes to my mind 🧐
💡 By the way, did you know that this English expression “Break a leg” also comes like “Bonne merde” from the theatre world. The expression probably reflects a superstition (perhaps a theatrical superstition) in which directly wishing a person “good luck” would be considered bad luck, therefore an alternative way of wishing luck was developed. Article source : Wordorigins.
The origin of this expression in English dates back to 1930. The first publication appeared in 1957, from the 29 May Associated Press wire service story about a dancer who literally broke her leg during a performance 🥺
French GCSE idioms
How could you use this idiom in your GCSE French speaking exam ?
Edexcel Theme : International and global dimension
GCSE French speaking question : A ton avis, quelle sera la plus grande menace pour la planète à l’avenir ? Pourquoi? In your opinion, what will be the greatest threat to the planet and why ?
GCSE French speaking answer : ‘A mon avis, la plus grande menace pour la planète est le réchauffement climatique. Je pense qu’il est très important de s’impliquer dans la protection de l’environnement et ne plus dire ‘bonne merde’ aux générations suivantes. Il faut résoudre les problèmes écologiques maintenant et agir pour sauver la planète.
Translation in English : In my opinion, the biggest threat to the planet is global warming. I think it is very important to get involved in protecting the environment and not saying ‘good shit’ to subsequent generations. We must solve the ecological problems now and act to save the planet.
Why is this a good GCSE French speaking answer :
✅ Expressing opinion in French ☞ A mon avis, je pense que
✅ Using intensifiers in French ☞ très
✅ Using complex vocabulary in French ☞ réchauffement climatique, protection de l’environnement, problèmes économiques, sauver la planète (environment vocabulary in French)
✅ Adding French idiom in French ☞ bonne merde
✅ Using have to in French ☞ Il faut
✅ Using linking words in French ☞ et
Bonne merde in video
Other positive French idioms
- Etre au taquet : To be ready to go
- Etre sur son 31: to be smartly-dressed
- C’est mon dada : it’s my cup of tea
- Les doigts dans le nez : to do something with ease
- ça marche : it works / it goes well
Voilà, this was today’s French idiom in English, I hope you liked it. Click here to find out about the challenge of 50 French idioms in English.
I am a French teacher, please see my students testimonials here.👩🎓👨🎓
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any French class or are interested in my new learning course. Contact me here.
Please feel free to comment this article, your opinion matters. Click on the green logo on your left to access the comment box straight away !
And I’ll see you tomorrow for more French idioms in English !
Happy learning ! 🇫🇷😀❤️