12 different ways to express anger and frustration in French

Expressing frustration is an important aspect of everyday life in the country

There are so many ways to express annoyance in French
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In general, people in France are quite happy to express their annoyance and discontent, so it is unsurprising that there are a plethora of different ways to express frustration.

Some are fairly tame and can be used in everyday situations when you are feeling slightly wound up, for example if the train is running late or there is an unusually long queue in the supermarket.

Others, that are more extreme, should be reserved for situations when you are really at the end of your tether.

But again, you are likely to hear lots of these phrases peppered among your everyday conversations.

Aigri - embittered

Many of my French students like to describe themselves as aigri, which translates as embittered. They say this is because they like to râler, which means to grumble or complain.

Aigri can be used as bitter in the sense of taste, for example when describing a lemon, or a person.

If you describe someone as un aigri, it could be translated as a sourpuss in English.

Amer means the same thing, and suggests someone who is resentful.

Bouder - to sulk

After something has wound you up, you may well have a bit of a sulk, which is bouder in French.

You may even opt to bouder dans son coin which translates as to sulk in the corner, suggesting you are cutting yourself off due to your bad mood.

Ça m’enerve - that annoys me

There are a seemingly endless number of ways to say that something is annoying you in French, with ça m’enerve the phrase you are most likely to learn first.

This translates as that annoys me and comes from the verb s’enerver, but if you were expressing annoyance directly at someone, you could use tu m’enerves (you are annoying me).

Ça me gave - that annoys me

Continuing on with the list of phrases to express annoyance, ça me gave also means that annoys me.

It gives the impression of being fed up. Gaver can mean to stuff yourself with food, but it can also mean to bore or to have had enough.

Il nous gave à toujours rater nos projets translates as we are fed up of him always missing our plans.

J’ai la haine - I’m hacked off

La haine means hatred, however avoir la haine is a slang expression that translates as to be hacked off.

J’ai le seum - I’m annoyed

This is a very familiar phrase that was mainly used among young people until recently.

It comes from the Arabic expression sèmm which means venom or poison. In French, avoir le seum means to be annoyed or frustrated.

Read also: Ways to say ‘sticking your nose into others’ business’ in French

J’ai le mort - I’m annoyed

Again, this is a phrase that has entered the conversation over the past few years and is mainly used among people in their teens and twenties, and for some has replaced avoir le seum.

It is used when people are grave vénère which means they are seriously annoyed.

Etre fâché (e) - to be annoyed

This one is pretty straight forward and comes from the verb fâcher which is to anger or enrage.

Se fâcher means to get angry or to get cross, so je suis fâché (e) means I’m cross.

Ça me fait chier - It pisses me off

Faire chier quelqu’un means to piss someone off, while faire chier means to be a pain in the arse.

Literally speaking the translation is quite strange - the verb chier means to poo, so translated literally this phrase means it makes me poo.

Tu me gonfles - You annoy me

Gonfler can mean to blow up or inflate or it can mean to bore or get on someone’s nerves. Therefore it’s important to consider the context when you hear this because it could mean that someone is boring or annoying.

Another one with a double meaning is saouler; it can mean to get drunk or to be fed up of something or annoyed by something. For example il me saoule means he gets on my nerves.

Je suis hors de moi - I am raging

This is used in the context of being absolutely furious. Literally it translates as I am outside of myself, which suggests that you are so beside yourself with anger you are completely separate from your normal self.

Tu casses les couilles - You annoy the hell out of me

Casser les couilles à quelqu’un means to annoy the hell out of someone. Literally speaking, it translates to break somebody’s balls.

Another phrase using this verb is casser les pieds à quelqu’un, which means to get on somebody’s nerves or to drive someone up the wall.

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