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How does one translate 'bully'into French?

I am usually reasonably satisfied with my knowledge of French, but sometimes I just can't find the exact word to translate a concept, and then I wonder if it is my ignorance, or whether the the equivalent actually exists in French

One such example where I am racking my brains is the word 'bully' both noun and verb.

I am thinking both of the school bully, and the workplace bully

I know « chantage «  which I think is nearer to blackmail

I know « Racket » which I think is mainly financial and isn't used for what can be purely moral pressure

I know « bizutage » which I think is more like silly initiation rituals

I can't find a word to express the cowardly domination of a weaker person (physically or because of position in a hierarchy ), and crucially the element of giving way when an even stronger person comes along.

Help please you bilingual francophones (Clair 5e etc)

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

I've heard the word "un bravache" used in this context to describe a bully
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back
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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

I struggle with many translations of concepts including bullying, others include trespass, taking advantage of, i.e. ripping the ar5e out of something/someone and many others, what is strange is that I need the words because I come across these things so often in France but even when going around the houses and explaining in detail I find that the concept is just not understood, perhaps explaining why the word is not in the language in the first place, could it that the French or perhaps the Academie Nationale are in denial of some national traits Devil [6]

For bullying I am forced to use harcelement morale ou physique but the only way I have of knowing whether I have used the correct words is the expression of understanding or otherwise on the other persons face/body language, in this case I dont think I have the right words if they exist.

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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

That was my thought too Chancer, if the word doesn't exist , then the act doesn't either .
My children couldn't think of a one word translation for bullying or bully, but described sentences of behaviours that profs would take exception to.
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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

Norman, I am very glad you brought this up: I have struggled with that very same issue myself, and have found it rather perplexing that there is not one word to translate bully into - there are only roundabout ways, all rather unsatisfactory. It's not as if the concept doesn't exist here!  Racket is what I had come up with too, except that it doesn't quite work, since racketter is taking someone's dinner money, or giving them a fine for alleged offenses. Not quite the same as persecuting. Un persécuteur is not exactly the same as a bully either?

It is no accident that the French word for "feeling" is now.... feeling. Plenty of gaps in the French language.

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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

Gaps in the french language - I was surprised to find there's no real french equivalent of "right" and "wrong" as in the right answer and the wrong answer.
I think they say "bon" for right, and ?"pas bon" for wrong.
They say language reflects a nation's mentality - perhaps the french think there's no such thing as absolutely right and absolutely wrong.

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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

It's true, when you think about it, there isn't really a word for bully.  "Brute", "brutaliser" might be the nearest?

That's why, when with someone who speaks both languages, it's so easy to slip into the use of words from both as they fit better.  Another one I can't find the equivalent of in English is "être de mauvaise foi".  It's just right, when "to be in bad faith" doesn't seem the same.


Patf, the nearest for me would be "juste",  "pas juste",  or "correct" and "incorrect", still not quite the same though!


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"Saving the life of one animal may not change the world, but the world will surely change for that one animal"

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Re: How does one translate 'bully'into French?

The bullied person is called "tete de Turc". ....don't ask me the origin of that expression though.....In the context you would say that "Pierre (the bullied person) est la tete de Turc de Alain (the bully)"

The bully can be "tyrant" or "la brute"

Les voyages forment la jeunesse
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