While we wait for La grande rousse to return from hiatus (or, as she puts it, activités carnetières limitées), there is consolation in the form of Les Amoureux du français, a language blog run by Fabienne Couturier, an editor at La Presse, and Paul Roux, “conseiller et chroniqueur linguistique.” This week they discuss “Les mots en «oune»”—a category peculiar to Québec. To whet your appetite, the list starts off with three sexy items:

Bizoune : pénis (se dit aussi « zoune »)
Foufoune : fesse
Noune : vulve

Thanks to Beth of The Cassandra Pages for the tip!

Update (2010). Alas, both La rousse and Les Amoureux are long gone, but the proprietor of Écarts de langage writes to let me know it’s covering similar territory.

Update (2013). Alas, alack: “ecartsdelangage.wordpress.com is no longer available. The authors have deleted this site.” For here on the internet have we no continuing city…

Update (Apr. 2013). The Wayback Machine has archived all the sites, so I have replaced the URLs with ones that work.


  1. interesting: as one commenter (MH09, aka Michel Hannequart) already noted over there, in “français de France”, foufoune / foufounette means vulve. I always assumed some vicinity with touffe (extremely short mini-skirts are vulgarly known as jupe à ras-la-touffe or ras-la-foufounette round here).
    As for bizoune, people here say zigounette, hypothetically an hypochoristic of *zigoune, which, however, I have never read or heard anywhere.
    (Given the popularity of my last comment on “sexual language”, I probably shouldn’t indulge into this, but this time I’m on topic, at least.)

  2. I already knew about the France/Quebec ‘foufoune’ contrast – but this kind of slight meaning shift is not unusual. Of the top of my head, cf English ‘fanny’, which means ‘bottom’ in US English, and ‘vulva’ in many dialects of Northern England and Wales.
    In a side note, coincidentally enough I was at a show last night at a well-known bar here in Montreal called ‘Les Foufounes Electriques’

  3. Well, ‘Les Cowboys fringants’ are in Paris, but that’s not as amusing. I just remember another ‘faux ami’: gosse (‘kid’ in France, ‘bollock’ in Québec).

  4. Letter to Kevin and Pauline, Bilingual Kiwi Kids in France, a mommy-blog, recently had a post about what French words to teach the kids.

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