Top 10 French words that come to us from Breton, we stole everything from them

France owes a lot to Brittany, and not only for introducing it to Nolwenn Leroy, pancakes, salted butter, bagpipes and Jean-Yves Lafesse. She also stole a lot of words from him, just to enrich his vocabulary.

1. Astride

A califourchon which, in French, roughly means, “astride”, would come from the Breton “Kall” which meant “balls”, and the word fork, which recalls the agricultural tool. If we recapitulate, “astride” would literally mean “astride the balls”. Logic.

2. Crush

The expression “What is this crush?” or if you prefer, “what the fuck?” comes straight from the Breton “Koc’hu”, of which we find written traces from the 13th century. Do not look for any reference to the wandering mores of a possible partner, the term Koc’hu simply designated a hall where merchants met. And obviously already at the time, there must already have been a hell of a crowd.

3. Gull

How do you already say “to cry” in Breton? Gouelan (with an egne accent on the n). Cry, like the noise the Seagull makes just before shitting on you, for example. And no need to quibble, if you are told that a gull is nothing but a big seagull, it means that we have read it somewhere).

4. Le Pilou

Toulon rugby fans know the famous song of the pilou-pilou, as for the others, the pilou remains above all an obsolete word to designate a very soft piece of fabric. That’s good, this word comes from the Breton “pilhoù” (un pilhoù, pilh), which means cloth. Unless this is all just a bunch of lies.

5. Jabber

If you jabber a little Breton, that is to say if you speak it vaguely, you may know that this verb comes from the Breton “bara” which designates “bread”, and “gwin” which means ” wine “. Rumor has it that Breton pilgrims once asked for hospitality with these two words. Pine, wine, what else? (Boursin did not exist, but the cheese is called fourmaj in Breton).

6. Go to the stake

It is not necessarily pure Breton, but what is certain, on the other hand, is that the expression comes from the workers once employed at the Brest arsenal. The latter used to take a snooze by stretching a canvas between two stakes. Hence the expression. A second version assumes that the term “pile” in Old Breton meant a form of skin on which people liked to lie down. Either way, you’ll go to bed less stupid tonight. and that’s not bad.

7. What the hell

“It’s too dark, I really don’t see anything”. To say that without knowing it, you are almost bilingual Breton. This popular expression comes from the Breton “dall”, which means “blind”. Be careful, let’s understand each other, “having the slab” does not mean “being blind”, but “having nothing (in the stomach)”. In this sentence, the word “slab” comes not from Breton, but from Romani (a Roma language originating from northern India) “dail”, which means “nothing”. You’re welcome.

8. Redneck

A redneck usually designates a guy who comes out of his country, even if between us, we are all the redneck of another. The French word comes from the old Breton “pluiu”, which then evolved into “ploe” then “plouk”, and which meant “village” and/or “parish”.

9. Jewel

In Breton, a jewel is called “bizoù”, a word also used to name a ring and “biz” which means “finger”, itself borrowed from the Celtic “bissi”. OK, kiss.

10. Cravings

Today, having a little craving is clearly having the slab, that is to say “nothing” in Romani (you follow?). When in fact, going back a few centuries, we discover that the word is a mixture on the one hand of the Latin “famis”, which designated both hunger and a violent desire, and on the other of the Breton ” gwall” which meant “bad”. So if we take into account the original meaning of the word, to have a craving means “to have a bad and violent desire to eat”. Not false.

I know that everyone doesn’t care but as I write pretty much what I want, know that Malo, my name therefore, comes from the old Breton Machlou which meant “brilliant pledge”. It’s classy except that it’s also the origin of the word Maclou… yes, the same as the sign of ugly carpets.


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