As promised in yesterday’s post on French slang, here is the bawdier level of French slang: the contrepet, or contrepeteries
I never heard of ‘Contrepet’ or ‘Contrepeteries’ until we spend time as ‘stagiares’ or deckhands on the Belem, a 19th century sailing ship. Contrepets is a play on words which depends on switching letters and syllables to come up with a phrase that always has a bawdy connotation if you can figure out how to switch around the words.
Example: Il ne faut pas couper les nouilles au secateur. (This is a classic). Don’t cut noodles with a secater/clipper. You switch the n from nouilles with the c in secateur and you get something totally different.
Il e faut pas couper les couilles au senateur. (just for an example). We would sit around the mess hall aboard the Belem and people would throw around some of these expressions – so you have to be quickwitted and a little perverse to catch on. BTW, not only sailors know their contrepeteries. The weekly newspaper “Le Canard Enchaine issues contrepetries on Wednesdays.
Here’s another handy site for a complete bibiliography on contrepeteries: