A couple of French turkeys, each pouting in his/her own corner après l'engueulade. Photo taken at Château Miraval, in 2005. Sign up for French Word-A-Day: it's free.

engueulade (ongh-lahd) noun, feminine

  1. argument, shouting match
  2. scolding

Also: a telling-off, bawling out, blowing up, chewing out or "a giving to another of one hell of a bad time". Get the picture?

"Arguing is to the modern Frenchman what thinking was to Descartes, a proof of existence....Vitupero ergo sum: I bicker, therefore I am." --from the book "Culture Shock! France" by Sally Adamson Taylor

Idioms & Expressions:
recevoir une engueulade = to be hauled over the coals (to be told off)

"Ils se sont quittés sur une engueulade. They parted after a stinking row."
--quote and translation from the Dictionary of French Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Henry Strutz

Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's words and example sentence:
Download engueulade.mp3 . Download engueulade.wav.

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse


Note: the following taradiddle (now there's a fun new word—for me anyway...) was written two or so years ago.


When Jean-Marc and I were in Paris last month, we stayed at Florence and Olivier's love nest in the onzième. A "shopping list" posted on the fridge had me admiring the couple's 15-year-old recipe for amour.  Scribbled on a piece of paper were these essential ingredients for a happy union:


- 1 kg de câlins
- 300 g de caresses
- 2 kg de tendresse
- 1/2 T de bisous
- 0 kg d'engueulades


- 1 kilo of cuddles
- 300 grams of caresses
- 2 kilos of tenderness
- 1/2 T of kisses
- 0 kilos of shouting

One thing that amused be about this list was the ingredient engueulades. But, of course! I thought, knowing all along that shouting somehow measures into real love. But just how much temper... tempers love? I wondered, rechecking the list of ingredients. That's when I noticed the zero allotment...

A little disheartened to realize that the Love Recipe was limited to only sweet ingredients (personally, our marriage "cake" has always included a good measure of salt), I had an inspiration....

I picked up a virtual crayon and crossed out that "0" as well as that "kilo". Next, having looked both ways and when the coast was clear, I scribbled in a new measurement in place of the "0":

"1 heaping, HOLLERING teaspoon!"

I may not be the best cook, but this is one recipe that I have been perfecting ever since cutting a frosty French wedding cake (with the help of my Sometimes Huffy Husband) a decade and a half ago.

A Sometimes Hissy Housewife

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Comments are the best part of French Word-A-Day. Thank you for leaving yours here! Can't think of anything to write? How about listing a few of the ingredients that make up your recipe for happy relationships? We're listening!

~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
taradiddle = silly story (also "fib); le onzième (m) = the "eleventh" district or "arrondissement"; l'amour (m) = love; le crayon (m) = pencil 
Read: Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

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Patrice Newman

Have you read Marjorie Price's book "A Gift from Brittany"? Just curious since you are an American living in France now as she was back in the 1960's even though you have both married very different French men and our book club was wondering your thoughts on the book.



I love your virtual addition of '1 heaping, HOLLERING teaspoon' of "engueulades". After all, it's only a teaspoonful, so, about six grams (?) - not that much, but enough to get the right balance with the 'sweet' arguments.

My husband has "une patience d'ange" and never raises his voice at anyone, so, "jamais d'engueulades entre nous". We do argue, discuss, throw our different opinions, I do raise my voice but no yelling. In other words, we try to find good compromises, but, "sans élever beaucoup la voix" (= without raising our voice a lot).

Arguments I used to have with my teenage daughter would sometimes end up with "des engueulades magistrales” (“magistral” = masterly, remarkable, brilliant).
She would yell back at me and get angry at the whole world! Never quite sure who started yelling first. Oh! blessed staircase that would carry her final shouting to her bedroom on the first floor. She would reach her room and would slam the door - final procedure that meant the end of the storm! She would reappear 1/2 hour to an hour later, "comme si de rien n'était" (as if nothing had ever happened).
The best was not to mention anything at all about the (still hot) yelling scene, as this would have been as bad as "jeter de l'huile sur le feu" (adding fuel to the flames).
No more crises of that nature these days...


Hi There - I must admit that I love the word 'engueulade'. It's very expressive. I'm trying to translate it into English. Would that be 'mouthing', as in 'she gave me a serious mouthing'? But it's not really that because it's more of a joint endeavour. What about a slanging match - could that be it?
All the best, Sab

Lee& maureen

Cher Kristen, Merci Beaucoup por votre reciept for a happy marriage!!
Maureen and I have the same one. I think it works for both of us!!
It was so nice to share time with you & JM the other day! Our guest left today for Aix & Nice, great fun but today is for relaxing!
Kisses Maureen & Lee


With the word "engueulades", there is the idea of telling off, with a very loud voice. If the other person yells back, it can turn into a yelling (and nasty) row.

I must try to find out how people can "s'engueuler" ("engueuler" each other) or "se faire engueuler" (to receive "engueulades" by somebody) -> "comme du poisson pourri"<- (literally, 'as rotten fish').


This is what I found for "engueuler comme du poisson pourri":
= to tear a strip off somebody / to scold vigourously
= to tell off, using insults, swearing and a lot of shouting.
This is surely nastier than when simply yelling at each other. It's when “les engueulades” become really rude and nasty!

... "comme du poisson pourri"? The 'rotten fish' here makes an allusion to the women who used to sell fish on the market (fishwives would be a bit derogatory...). They were all very famous for bawling when 'inviting' people to buy their (dead!) fish.
'to bawl' = "brailler"

Herm Meyer

Salut Kristin,

I guess one might say……

The “hissy” wife and the “huffy” husband hold hands in harmony in a happy home with a heap of hollering! Halleluiah!

À bientôt,

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Julie F

I love your revised recipe. I know it's beyond my character to include 0kg d'engueulades. I'm not even sure I believe in the oft recommended bit of marital advice - "never go to bed mad." Sometimes it just seems better to get some sleep (even if you really don't sleep well after an argument) and face the situation with a new day and a new perspective.


Dear Kristin,

I love the recipe of that couple. Personally I prefer to have 0 kg of enguelade but not always possible. Hope it is a lovely week with 0 enguelade!



Hissy wife and huffy husband? maybe... from time to time... but the recipe does work... and I'm absolutely sure "les engueulades" are not that frequent and they never reach a degree of bawling and insults!

Ahaah! I've just written a comment on a photo in CINÉMA VÉRITÉ. You really ought to see that priceless picture of both of them.
Highly recommended!
Premier Prix!
You'll love it!
Have I convinced you?


Being ourselves with our spouses and surviving the worst of us is what makes a strong marriage. Viva le Kristin!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

I understand hissy wife, but I never seem to have a huffy husband. At times I wish he would especially when I am hissy. But then it passes as quickly as it came.

I agree with Newforest you must check out the beautiful picture.

Very cool for this time of year in Phoenix today. Yesterday wind and cool temps came in at around 80 degrees, unheard of for May.


We definitely have our ups and downs......I may or may not have poked a hole in a wall with a broom once upon an angry time :)

Marianne Rankin

Life takes so much out of us sometimes, and demands so much from us, and situations can be enervating and frustrating . . . it's hard not to lose your temper with anyone, children as well as spouses.

I think if couples agree they will not raise their voices, and are willing to talk, differences can usually be resolved. The point above about not going to bed mad makes sense. Somes when husband and I weren't totally in sync, I'd lie down for a little nap instead of arguing, which usually helped.

Other useful questions to ask are, "What is it like to be married to me?" or "What is it like to have me as a parent?" Put yourself in another's shoes, and try to see what he/she sees. You will want to be your best self.

Dana C Thomas

I think I would alter the last item in the recipe to read....
- Un pincement d'engueulades avec 1 kg de résolution.

Since they appear to be shouting matches I lowered the dose but as a passionate person myself I assume they will be present from time to time. However I can't stomach them without resolution.

Thank you so much for this blog. It brings constant delight to my week.

dorothy dufour   Abbotsfortd, BC

Oh Kristen, ENGEULADE is a wonderful word! French Canadians dearly love to argue too.
I'll take this opportunity to announce that mine died in February, aged 90. He had a sweeter nature than I (no PMS). He was in a home for dementia, but cause of death was a kidney infection. When he was in early stages of that cruel disease we had some beauties, and the way he acted the morning after (as if nothing had happened) was my clue that his memory was gone. I know - too soon old, too late smart. Your blog is the best thing I've found on the net.


Fascinated by the word 'darradiddle'. Such a fantastic word!
→ “une histoire à dormir debout” (a cock-and-bull story)
–> or quite simply: “ une histoire invraisemblable” - unlikely / unimaginable story (but nothing as exciting as 'darradiddle'!)

“diddle” rings a bell... the 'Hey Diddle Diddle' nursery rhyme
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed
To see such fun, (such sport, in older version)
And the dish ran away with the spoon

Smokey, I think you could very well be that little dog in the nursery rhyme! unless you'd rather pretend be the cow jumping over the moon (-?-)


Hi Kristin,
I love the happy union recipe. Tell Jackie "merci" for pronouncing today's word. I would have said it wrong....on-glaad.
Is the photo taken at the same Chateau Miraval that is owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie?

Kristin Espinasse

I am loving your thoughts and additions on the Recipe for Happy Relationships

Dana, your pincement dengueulades avec 1 kg de résolution is a delightful amelioration to this recette :-)

Merci, les amis!

Kristin Espinasse

Bonjour Patrice,

No, I havent read A Gift from Brittany. I hope youll share with us your thoughts on the book. Ïve been meaning to write a post on summer reading... so get ready, les amis, to share your recommendations!


I hope my friend Suzanne* doesn't mind my sharing her helpful note (received via email)

"I differ w you about the pronunciation you wrote for "engueulade".

ENGUEULADE has 3 syllables. Very distinct ones. EN - GUEUL - ADE.... it's a good practice word for learning students too because it has EN which is on classic difficulty for anglophones. GUEUL which is that hard for anglophones to pronounce eu sound and ADE which is also a classic mistake for anglophones who tend to get their French A's mixed up with English ones. The see ADE and want it to be the ADE in Lemonade.

All A's in France are pronounced like the A in FATHER. No exceptions. That way they are not allowed any goofs.

Btw the above was not meant to be an engueulade or even a critique. Just a trick out of an old French teacher's sac de noeuds."

Thank you Suzanne! Your note is a helpful lesson.

*Check out Suzanne's books and more here:


Very useful indeed, Suzanne. If we followed the written pronunciation, "eu" would have been missed out and "engueulade" would have sounded like "englade", (and not understood!) instead of:
- en .... nasal "en"
- gueu .. pronounce hard "g" + "eu" (gue)
- lade .. with "a" as in 'fAther', as Suzanna said, (or, as in "pApA"). Elision of final "e".
“Engueulade” comes from gueule, hence "gueuler", "dégueuler", "engueuler" (so gueu + l... not gl..and the sound “eu” must be kept)

I just listened to Jackie. She gave the right pronunciation. I noticed she detached "une" from "engueulade". She could have made a liaison, starting with "u", then linking "n" with "en" ... but here, it's ok.

Suzanne, I had a quick look at your webside and was dazzled by all your astrological treasures!


I don't know of any other French noun ending with ...”eulade”, like “engueulade”. Do you?

Interlude with French words ending with elade - enade, to see what happens to the middle "e" sound.

...“elade” → la marmelade.
With French marmelade, the middle "e" must be pronounced.
- mar (with a nice French “r”
- me
- lade (elision of final "e")
So, no marmlade, but... mar-ME-lade.

French word ending with “enade” → “promenade”:
is it pro-me-nad(e)? ... or ... prom(e)-nad(e)?
Here, the middle "e" is mute, as in the verb it comes from → "promener". So:
- prom
- nade (with elision of final "e")
You must drop that middle "e" between m and n – unless you are spelling or dictating the word.
Result? with "prom", "m" sort of 'stays in the air' and "n" friendly grabs "ad(e)"

Fin de la récréation.
Merci FWAD!

Lee Ann

I cannot get the pronunciation of the word of the day to download correctly. Any suggestions? Comment vont Smokey et Braise?


It's been a while since I visited the comments corner. I remember all over again how much I like it. Like Meredith, I might or might not have kicked a hole in the drywall of our rented kitchen many years ago. I'm calmer now, and I know how to make repairs to drywall.

But what I really wanted to say was that this week , on one of his not very frequent trips to Portland OR, my (the same one who taught me to repair drywall)husband went armed with a list of vendors for Rouge-Bleu wine. Success! He's brought home a 2007 Mistral and a 2009 pink one that I can't find right now to type the name. We can hardly wait for nice weather to sip some on the deck.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Eileen, yes, it is the same chateau. The photo was taken several years ago.

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