Caca Boudin | Your French Children’s first swear word

Caca Boudin | Your French Children’s first swear word

Imagine you have recently moved to France, and put your darling child in a well-reputed French School. You are expecting your sweet little one to become immersed in French culture, speak French fluently, and well, become French. Well, nothing is more French than that famous “first” swear word of those oh-so-perfect French children: Caca Boudin.

It doesn’t actually mean anything dreadful, except that it is a gros mot (swear word) that every parent kinda shrugs off when they hear their kids say it. Literally, “caca” means excrement and “boudin” which is a blood pudding sausage. Nobody said French kids were original.

Blood pudding sausages make me want to swear, but it’s supposed to be a gourmand delicacy in France, so “Boudin” in itself is not a swear word.

☞ READ MORE: 10 Expressions: Odd sounds French people make

boudin noir with potatoes
Boudin noir sausage with potatoes by Gabriel Vera

Now “Caca Boudin” is not a swear word that you will hear any French adult say. We have much better swear words like “merde” (shit), “putain” (fuck or whore), and “ta gueule” (shut up).   

The Meaning: What French toddlers are swearing about

In essence, French kids start maternelle (pre-school) in the calendar year they turn 3.  For this, they must be potty-trained. So a phrase with “caca” definitely catches their attention.  A few rounds of hearing this from classmates, who themselves have picked it up from an older sibling, and the next thing you know, your little sweet french child is throwing around “caca boudins” into every random conversation.

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Maternelle is also when your French 3 year old starts saying stuff like “j’ai le droit de faire ça” (I have the right to do that), and judging others with an “il fait n’importe de quoi ” (he is acting nonsensically) in a very important voice. The French love to discuss philosophy and debate, so French schools start them young! (As an aside, my 3-year-old was also served the boudin sausage at the school canteen for lunch.)

And what do most French parents do with these “gros mot” instances?  Under attack from these little French Revolutionaries, the parents do the same as parents elsewhere:  time to pick your battles, and let a few “caca boudins” slide…;)

☞ READ MORE: French kids: Sage or Sauvage?

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Caca Boudin | Your French Children\'s first swear word

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