Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 decade ago

Where and How did the phrase, "Pardon My French" originate?

I mean, why are we picking on the French? Why not "Pardon My German," "Pardon My Russian," or "Pardon My Spanish?" I was just wondering if any of you knew the origin of this expression.

Please no commentary on current world geopolitical issues. This is a serious question.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Several expressions in French attempt to link various practices perceived as unsavory to England, e.g., "l'éducation anglaise" (disciplining children by sexually-tinged spanking). Ironically, several expressions are used by both the English and the French to describe the same unacceptable habit, but attributing the habit to the other people : e.g., "taking French leave" (leaving a party or other gathering without taking polite leave of one's host) is referred to in French as "filer à l'anglaise" (literally, "flee English-style"), while the (now somewhat archaic) expression "French letter" (referring to a condom) is rendered in French as "capote anglaise". During the 16th century in England, genital herpes was called the "French disease" and "French-sick" was a term for syphilis. These are also considered examples of Francophobia.

  • 4 years ago

    When trying to describe the flavor of meat the listener has never eaten, a common declaration is that it tastes like chicken. The expression has been used so often that it has become somewhat of a cliché. As a result, the phrase also sometimes gets used for incongruous humor, by being deployed for foods or situations to which it has no real relevance. The expression has made its way into popular culture in a variety of contexts. The phrase has made modern appearances in the media, such as in The Lion King, Six Days Seven Nights, The Matrix, Stargate, Surf's Up and the initial season of the reality television show Survivor. As an explanation of why unusual meats would taste more like chicken than common alternatives such as beef or pork, different possibilities have been offered. One suggestion is that chicken has a bland taste because fat contributes more flavor than muscle (especially in the case of a lean cut such as a skinless chicken breast), making it a generic choice for comparison. Also, chicken reportedly has lower levels of glutamates that contribute to the "savory" aspect of taste sometimes known as umami; processing or tenderizing other meats would also lower glutamate levels and make them taste more like chicken. Another suggestion, made by Joe Staton of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, is that meat flavors are fixed based on the evolutionary origin of the animal. Accordingly, birds (the most numerous form of meat by type) would naturally taste more like chicken than mammals. Furthermore, based on evidence for dinosaurs as the ancestors of birds, reptile meat might also taste somewhat like chicken. Seafood, however, would logically have a more distinctive flavor. Staton's lighthearted study of the question was published in the Annals of Improbable Research.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's a late 19th century euphemism which first appeared in Harper's Magazine in 1895.

    Some English-speakers stereotype the French as permissive about anything risque . This phrase, in which French refers to "bad language", is employed when the speaker feels compelled to use an obscenity despite having listeners who might be offended.

    It is thought that the term French is employed in this sense as it already had a history of association with things considered vulgar. As far back as the early 16th century, French pox and the French disease were synonyms for genital herpes, and French-sick was another term for syphillis. The Oxford English Dictionary also equates the adjective French with "spiciness", as in French letter for "condom", French kiss (1923) and French (i. e. "sexually explicit") novels (from 1749).

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both virus types can cause sores around the mouth (herpes labialis) and on the genitals (genital herpes). Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

    Cold sores sometimes called fever blisters, are groups of small blisters on the lip and around the mouth. The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore. The blisters may break open, leak a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. They usually heal in several days to 2 weeks.

    The herpes simplex virus usually enters the body through a break in the skin around or inside the mouth. It is usually spread when a person touches a cold sore or touches infected fluid—such as from sharing eating utensils or razors, kissing an infected person, or touching that person's saliva. A parent who has a cold sore often spreads the infection to his or her child in this way. Cold sores can also be spread to other areas of the body.

    Luckly there is a cure for herpes

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  • 6 years ago

    it's to 'joke' that you didn't really swear - you mispronounced a french phrase. French is proably the best known-language forgeign language by english-speakers, there are loads of loan-words and phrases from it and was and is often used to suggest high-education. Probably simply because France is the nearest country to England so makes most sense to learn.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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  • Dad411
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    "Pardon my French" or "Excuse my French" is a common English language phrase ostensibly disguising profanity as French. The phrase is uttered in an attempt to excuse the user of profanity or curses in the presence of those offended by it under the pretense of the words being part of a foreign language

  • kate
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Although it is generally a precedent to excuse swearing ,

    Wiki does Not indicate it's origin except to note that it

    was used as early as 1935 by the 3 Stooges , so it must be older than that .

    good luck


  • Anonymous
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Herpes Treatment
  • 1 decade ago

    Because everyone (in american schools) usually take french, mostly because of popularity, its more of a joke than picking on the french.

    Usually its used to excuse curse words, but personally I think "excuse my german" would be more appropriate since that language is spoken (or seems to be spoken) in a direct or hard tone, whereas french is so soft and subtle...

    But that's just me so :)

    • Tom6 years agoReport

      everyone takes french because of 'popularity'?

      surely popularity comes from everyone taking it, you basically said it's popular because it's popular.

      knowing french was a sign of higher-education in England, France being the nearest non-English speaking country

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