What does "s'en fout la mort" mean?
August 17, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe

What's the literal translation of the French film title "S'en fout la mort"?

The English title is "No Fear, No Die," but I know enough French to know that that's not the actual translation. If it matters, in the movie, "S'en fout la mort" is a name given to a fighting cock.
posted by Awkward Philip to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It means something like "I don't give a shit about death." On s'en fout is a vulgar way of saying "I don't care."
posted by oinopaponton at 10:40 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe "Death can go fuck itself" would be a better approximation, actually, since la mort would act as the subject here.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:52 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't think Death is the subject here, I think the fighting cock is. The name means "Doesn't give a fuck about death."
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:29 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I hope some linguist can come along to diagram the phrase, since it's structured confusingly, but the "s'en" means that it's reflexive. If you say "On s'en fout," the on is fout-ing itself, so I think la mort is just replacing the on here. I could be very wrong, though. My French is more or less on life support.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2009

I worked (as a marketing assistant) on the video release of this film in the US and remember having this discussion at the time, and about the relationship between the rooster name & the film name, and how the name was to be used. I love that film; thanks for the reminder to go watch it again.
posted by judith at 12:05 PM on August 17, 2009

se foutre = to not care
en = it/that (generic pronoun)
la mort = death

So my literal translation would be "it cares not for death".
posted by blue_beetle at 12:21 PM on August 17, 2009

Best answer: That dictionary link is far to genteel; se foutre is pretty much the direct equivlaent of to fuck [someone]. It's not quite a vulgar as the English four letter word, but it's not for polite company either.
posted by bonehead at 12:42 PM on August 17, 2009

Yeah, Death can go fuck itself, is very close to the French meaning.
posted by bonehead at 12:44 PM on August 17, 2009

Se foutre is pretty much the direct equivalent of to be fucked - that is, it's reflexive. Bonehead has it best. "Je m'en fout" means "I don't care" with emphasis, very much like "I don't give a fuck", but it literally translates to "I fuck myself about it".
posted by megatherium at 1:26 PM on August 17, 2009

I would cosign Pallas Athena - as a name, implying "[He] doesn't give a fuck about death."

(francophone, but not a native speaker.) But.. it's weird. If it's not a name given to the rooster, but just a phrase itself, and la mort is the implied subject, it would say "death doesn't give a fuck," wouldn't it?
posted by citron at 9:25 PM on August 17, 2009

se foutre is pretty much the direct equivlaent of to fuck [someone].

You know, it totally isn't, as least insofar as "fuck" = "have sex with". On the other hand, "foutre!" makes for an amusingly vulgar (if old-timey) interjection, and remains an excellent and robust word for sexual secretions.

Yes, "va te faire foutre" is "go and get yourself fucked", but generally foutre is used as a substitute for "faire", e.g. "Qu'est-ce que tou fous là?"
posted by Wolof at 11:08 PM on August 17, 2009


Le fuck.
posted by Wolof at 12:33 AM on August 18, 2009

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