by Roger Thomas

The French have a way with insults—even if something is a bit lost in translation.

1. VA TE FAIR VOIRE !

All this means is "Go be seen [somewhere else]!" Mild as it sounds, it's very ill-mannered indeed.

2. ANDOUILLE

While in America we think of Andouille as a smoked Cajun sausage, in France it’s one made from pig intestines—and also an insult meaning you’re bone idle or a dummy.

3. BONHOMME

Yes, it literally means "good man," but roughly translates as "geezer" or "bloke," with contemptuous overtones.

4. UNE VACHE ESPAGNOLE

Is your French poor or your accent inauthentic? If so, you speak the language like "a Spanish cow."

5. TU ME GONFLES.

"You are inflating me." This is a sharp, impolite reprimand to someone who is pushing you, the implication being that anything over-inflated is likely to explode.

6. TA GUEULE !

This is slang for "Your mouth!" It's actually short for "Ferme ta gueule" ("Shut your mouth") but somehow seems even ruder.

7. LAVETTE

Are you weak-willed and indolent? You are a dishcloth, perhaps not unrelated to an English "limp rag."

8. CASSE-TOI !

An instruction to "break yourself." Bugger off, basically.