8 Insults That Only Work In French

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iStock

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.

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

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iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to HuffPost, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Uitwaaien, or Outblowing, Is the Dutch Cure for the Winter Blues

sergio_kumer/iStock via Getty Images
sergio_kumer/iStock via Getty Images

Hygge, a Danish philosophy that's recently caught on in the U.S., is all about feeling cozy and relaxed indoors when the weather is cold outside. Uitwaaien takes the opposite approach to winter. Dutch for "outblowing," uitwaaien involves doing physical activity, like going for a brisk jog, in chilly, windy weather. It may lack the warmth and fuzziness of hygge, but many Dutch people swear by its energizing effects.

The practice known as uitwaaien has roots in the Netherlands going back at least a century, Nautilus reports. The name comes from the concept of replacing "bad air" with "good air." While there may not be a lot of science to support that idea, exercise does have scientifically proven benefits, such as boosting energy and lowering stress. And while spending 30 minutes on a treadmill in a stuffy gym can leave you feeling sweaty and gross, running outside in the wind can be refreshing and exhilarating.

There's another benefit of uitwaaien: It's an excuse to get outside during a time of year when you'd normally be cooped up indoors. Research shows that being out in nature can enhance our creativity, sharpen our focus, and help us feel more relaxed. And if temperatures are too low for your comfort, a few minutes of cardio is the best way to warm up quickly.

Still need motivation to exercise in the cold? Think of it this way: Every minute of uitwaaien you take part in will make your hygge time that much sweeter. Here are some ways to practice hygge in your home this season.

[h/t Nautilus]

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