Anyone got good French?

even Owen Jones, The Guardian’s enfant fastidieux

Google tells me this means “fastidious child” but I’m sure that it has a nastier meaning than that. Prissy child?

19 thoughts on “Anyone got good French?”

  1. I think the closest english idiom would be “tiresome”, although that may well be rather dated.

    I believe the modern-ish vernacular would be “asshat”.

  2. The Meissen Bison is the place to go with questions like this (although it couldn’t help with “asshat”, alas).

  3. My French speaking friend says:
    … “that is the actual translation but can be used when a child is being strong willed/defiant. It’s a polite way of saying it”

  4. It’s not a phrase as such. is good for this sort of thing; it gives you multiple translations in different contexts.

  5. It could mean fastidious (choosy) but there are quite a few “faux amis” as the French call literal translations that are wrong. Nit picking? Choosy? Likely it’s just a snark about someone who isn’t an enfant terrible.

  6. We were walking along a street in Tours. Every now and then a garden gate would warn of a “chien méchant”. Eventually we saw one warning of a “chien bizarre”. We felt like applauding.

  7. Cet animal est très méchant; quand on l’attaque, il se défend.

    (apparently from a French music-hall song of the 1860s)

  8. It’s obviously a word-play here on enfant terrible.

    It’s usually applied to a child who will only consent to eat specific items conforming exactly to their requirements. A fussy eater, or a ‘fussy’ child in other words.

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