Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Les petits boudins (Little Boudins)

Sung by Dominique Walter:

Translation after the jump...

I need some serious help with this one...
(Update: I got help, see Débordante's excellent comments below...)

Dans mon agenda
In my notebook
Quand j'en pique un
When I pick a
Un petit boudin
A little boudin (see comments)
Je l'mets sous mon bras
I put it under my arm
Jusqu'au matin
Until the morning
Ce petit boudin
This little boudin

C'est bon pour c'que j'ai
It's good for what I have
Ça me fait du bien
It makes me feel good
Les petit boudins
Little boudins
C'est facile et ça
It's easy and it
N'engage à rien
Commits to nothing
Les petits boudins
Little boudins

Au départ c'est rien
At first it's nothing
Qu'une petit' gourde (see comments)
But, a small gourd
Un petit boudin
A little boudin
Il suffit d'un rien
Just a touch
Et ça devient
And it becomes
Un petit boudin
A little Boudin

Ça n'sait pas dir' non
It doesn't say no
C'est ça qu'j'aim' bien
That's what I really like
Chez les p'tits boudins
In the little boudins
Ça n'pose pas d'question
It doesn't ask questions
Ça n'mange pas d'pain (see comments)
It doesn't eat bread
Les petits boudins
Little boundins

Mais il n'y a pas dans mon calepin
But it's not in my notebook
Que des p'tits boudins
Those little boudins
Il y a surtout toi, toi qui n'as rien
There's only you, you who have nothing
D'un petit boudin
Of a little boudin
T'as rien de commun
You've got nothing in common
Avec les petits boudins
With little boudins

Lyrics by Serge Gainsbourg, Translation by Greg Smith


  1. Oh this is a wicked one. :D Very ferocious towards "petits boudins". So who are they?

    The first meaning of "boudin" is "black (blood) pudding", a kind of rustic plump sausage. And the meaning of this word in slang is a girl or woman who is sort of the exact opposite of a "femme fatale". Just as a femme fatale has an aura of charm and mystery, a "boudin" has an aura of charcuterie, you see? In other words, a "boudin" is ugly and fat.

    The use of the adjective "petit", which has a connotation of nearly tender affection, moderates a bit the crudeness/cruelness of this word applied to women. So "un petit boudin" (an idiom which is widely used in French) is a girl or a woman with no particular charm, insipid, commonplace, but kind of nice for everyday use (misogyny inside).

    Now let's see the other tricky idioms in this song and you'll get it all:

    "Quand j'en pique un" - "Piquer" (verb) : in slang, "steal", "pinch". Otherwise, to "pick" (you pick sausages, don't you?).

    "Une petite gourde" - in slang, "gourde" means an awkward girl, lacking social grace and assurance. (here again, the use of the adjective "petite" brings moderation)

    "Ça ne mange pas de pain" - an idiom meaning that the thing you're doing is neither very interesting nor very useful, but it doesn't cost much and won't have any consequence.

  2. I've always read the song as about females with small breasts, and the beauties of such. It is like a confession and confirmation of affection to them. And in the end it says that "you have nothing common with them" meaning the size is not so small this time, but it is also OK. A song of Beautiful Times indeed...