T’es un vrai rabat-joie, toi!

T’es un vrai rabat-joie, toi!

tay uh vray rah-bah zhwah, twah! Click below to hear this.*
You are a real killjoy!

Or spoilsport, or wet blanket. Any one of them will do. This epithet belongs to the fellow who mentions the chicken recall just as your fork is poised over Aunt Sally’s to-die-for chicken salad. It’s for the grouch who never smiles at a party and can’t wait to go home. It’s for the gal who loudly points out the moral pit we are tumbling into when we turn on the dance music.

I don’t believe in fun so you shouldn’t have any!

Rabattre means to beat back (an attack), to fold back (the blankets, a piece of fabric), and so on. So un rabat-joie is a person who beats back any possibility of joy in a group.

Just don’t confuse un rabat-joie with un abat-jour. They may look similar on the page, and sound somewhat alike, but they are at opposite poles. The fellow wearing the abat-jour on his head (that’s a lampshade, pronounced ah-bah-ZHOOR) is the one who thinks everyone should have as much fun as he is having. The rabat-joie thinks no one should have as much fun as they think they are having.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

un_vrai_rabat_joie.mp3

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