Whether you find swearing amusing or vulgar, you will enjoy this video because… it’s polite swearing! Perfect compromise!

In case you didn’t know, in case you haven’t noticed, the French swear a lot. I confess, we do. Even well mannered people, even sophisticated people, even old people, even erudite people swear. So don’t worry too much when you hear it. If you’re thinking “but I don’t want to swear on my next trip to France!” that’s ok you don’t have to! Yet, I tend to believe it’s always good to know what’s being said around you.

Mince & Purée

Let’s begin with “mince” & “purée”. Technically, mince means thin and purée represents mashed food. So far so good, we’re not being vulgar. Now if you’re thinking That’s a strange choice of swearing words thin & mashed food… you are correct but, it’s not the meaning, it’s the sound.


Mince begins with the consonant M and is only 1 syllable long like merde, which means shit. In English you trade shit for shoot to remain polite. So mince is our shoot. To be clear mince is polite, merde is not. Example:

Shoot, I forgot my key in the car! = Mince, j’ai oublié ma clé dans la voiture!


And now moving on to purée. Same exact logic. Purée begins with the consonant P and is 2 syllables long like putain, which originally means whore but in today’s language, the equivalent would be the f word. In English you trade fuck for fudge to remain polite. So purée is our fudge. To be clear purée is polite, putain is not. Example:

Oh fudge, I can’t believe this! = Oh purée, j’y crois pas!

Before we move on to my 3 favorite ones, the ones I use all the time, let us remain, for one more minute, in the… fecal field!


crotte = turd = poop

Oh poop he’s calling him again! = Oh crotte c’est encore lui qui m’appelle!

Flûte, zut, nom d’une pipe

While many people do, I must confess, I don’t use mince et purée very much as I personally prefer their rude counterparts, which I find much more enthusiastic. I do however love the next 3 and they are not vulgar, they’re kinda cute.

They are: flûte , zut, nom d’une pipe

Flûte & zut can be interchanged with mince.


Darn I totally forgot our appointment = Flûte j’ai complètement oublié notre rendez-vous


Darn it! = Zut alors!

Nom d’une pipe

In English, Nom d’une pipe would be Oh heck or Good grief!

Good grief, this book is quite heavy! = Nom d’une pipe, ce livre est plutôt lourd!

That’s it for today! Here’s your recap: mince as a polite alternative to merde, purée as a polite alternative to putain, crotte, flute, zut, nom d’une pipe. That’s plenty for you to choose from and enjoy while remaining polite yay!

Oh, and by the way, nobody says sacrebleu, nobody, so feel free to move on!

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