Oh, la vache!

Oh, la vache!

oh, lah VAHSH! Click below to hear this.

Phooey!

Fiddlesticks. Darn it. Heck. Damn it!

Disgusted, frustrated, annoyed, irked, fed up. That’s how you feel when this expression comes to your lips. You are not a happy camper.

On the other hand, you are not furious. This is not a swear word, and there are plenty of stronger epithets in French. I don’t plan to list them here, because you can never beat a native speaker at his/her own game. Non-native speakers, including myself, lack a clear sense of the strength of a given “bad word”.

It’s better to stick to the mild exclamations, where you can’t offend anyone by using a word that is too strong for the situation, or that insults someone.

On a par with Oh, la vache! you can also say fichtre! or zut! among others. Yes, you can say all of these in front of your mother.

Interestingly, French speakers shy away from single-syllable expressions. So if you are going to say Zut! you should either add alors after it (the famous zut alors!), or draw the one syllable out like this: zuuuuut, which must be spoken in a whiny voice.

Oh, you still want to know exactly what Oh, la vache! means? It means Oh, the cow! I won’t even attempt to guess how that came about.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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2 responses to “Oh, la vache!

  1. Oh la vache ! comes from French slang ” il ou elle est vache “, meaning somebody hard, stern, mean, even violent . From there came the expression ” c’est vache ! ” to speak about something bad happening to somebody .
    But the key point is I have no idea why a cow first became an image of somebody mean . Perhaps because of unexpected horn strokes ?

    • Thank you, that makes sense! Yes, cows have acquired a bad rep… Up close, those horns look pretty threatening, and a cow is a big animal. If you’re not used to them, cows can appear mean and ugly! :-)

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