Il me fait des chiquenaudes!

Il me fait des chiquenaudes!

eel muh fay day sheek-NOHD! Click below to hear this.*

He’s hitting me!


That’s right, Mom is the arbiter in cases like these. Or Dad, if he’s the one behind the steering wheel. Ignoring the disturbance doesn’t usually work; it just escalates to red level.

I translated this French expression as he’s hitting me! because there’s no good English word for une chiquenaude. But we all know what it is. It’s how you get the paper football between the finger goals at the lunch table. It’s how you chase away the spider crawling up your arm. And it’s certainly one way to drive a smaller sibling crazy, especially when said sibling is trapped in a car seat and unable to retaliate.

So here is a chiquenaude for you–the kind that doesn’t hurt, so you won’t have to wail for Mom or Dad to save you from your sibling. Just be nice and don’t pass it on.

*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:



4 responses to “Il me fait des chiquenaudes!

  1. Is it perhaps “flicking”?

    • Yes, that is indeed the name of the action. I would say something about flicking a bug off my arm, but “he’s flicking me” sounds very peculiar. I suspect no one in the history of time has ever said that. :-) So we’re stuck with “hitting”, I guess! Thanks!

  2. Some things just don’t translate. At such times, we could just say, “He’s bothering me!” At which, the parent would ask for a clarification and then we’d have to say, “He’s flicking my arm with his finger.” Or tickling me, crowding me, staring at me. Or even, “Her foot is touching mine!” as a relative of ours once complained to her mother.

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