OK, so now you can play pétanque fairly decently… you can point and you can almost shoot, but does that make you a genuine pétanque player?
Could you go to France and feel comfortable playing with the natives?
I don’t think so!
Regardless of your newly acquired skills, you cannot pretend to be a real pétanque player without speaking the lingo.
It would be like eating sushi with a fork!
To help you fully integrate the pétanque fraternity, I have gathered a few words and expressions that you could (carefully) use to ingratiate yourself with the Snail Eaters.
Biberon: (un) a baby bottle. A boule hugging the cochonnet.
Bien joué! Well played!
Boule Devant: Boule in front. The French say “Boule devant, boule d’argent” (a boule in front is worth its weight of silver).
Bras d’or (un): Golden arm. A player with a golden arm is an individual who plays extremely well.
Casquette (une) A cap. A shot when a boule bounces off the top of the target boule without moving it.
Casser le bras (break the arm): To distract a player when he is shooting. Tu me casses le bras! (You are breaking my arm).
Baiser Fanny: To kiss Fanny.
According to tradition, when players lose 13-0, they must kiss the buttocks of a woman called Fanny (usually a cardboard cut-out).
Caution: use the word “baiser” very carefully. It could mean either kiss or fuck.
Les pieds dans le rond! Feet in the circle!
Plomber: consists of throwing a boule relatively high in the air (like a mortar shot) to land it and make it stop it near the cochonnet.
Poussette (une): a little push. To slightly push one of your team’s boule toward the cochonnet.
Têtard (un). “Téter » means “to suck”. Therefore a “têtard” is a boule that literally sucks (hugs) the cochonnet.
Tirer au fer: shoot the iron. To hit an opponent’s boule without touching the ground.
Merde: Shit. Indispensable French word when playing pétanque (or doing practically anything else).
Putain: Whore. Exclamation of wonder, or disappointment. To be used carefully.
Hope that this will help.
See you on the field.
Alain La Foudre