1. Tout le kit
The whole shebang, the whole kit and caboodle, everything.
This may be derived from the current British slang noun and verb kit, e.g. “Nigel is ready to hike the downs. He’s all kitted out.” But tout le kit is more immediately influenced by the American and Canadian “the whole kit and caboodle.” Caboodle is a folk extension of the originally American boodle (1833 ‘lot, group’).
The secondary semantic extension of boodle, also American, meaning counterfeit money or stolen goods, or ill-gotten pelf obtained through bribery or fraud, begins to appear in American print around 1855. Boodler was once a synonym for con-man.
Boodle was probably brought to America by Dutch immigrants to New Amsterdam and lurked in early Dutch-English slang until borrowed directly into English. The Middle Dutch noun boedel has meanings like ‘estate, possession, inheritance.’ In Modern Dutch the intervocalic d withered first to a glottal stop and then disappeared as the vowels became pronounced as a diphthong, so that the form today is boel ‘a whole lot, a great many of.’
In James Joyce’s seminal 1922 novel Ulysses, characters were “ready to decamp with whatever boodle they could.”
2. se laisser manger la laine sur le dos
To be a total dupe, to be exploited.
Literally, ‘to let the wool be eaten right off your back,” that is, to be a sheep, to lose not only your shirt, but also the material to make your shirt!
3. Puis tu chies de l’or en barre?
So you think you’re King Shit, eh?
Literally, ‘then you shit gold bars, do you?’ You think you have some special status that sets you apart from common mortals.
4. J’ai vu neiger.
I’m not just off the boat.
Literally, “I’ve seen it snow before.” I am not some naïve goof fresh from Hicksville.
5. Maudit bloke!
God-damn English Canadian!
Literally, ‘cursed bloke.’ The usually friendly British term bloke is always pejorative when used in current Quebec French.
That's our take-five on some popular street phrases from la belle province.
© 2012 copyright William Gordon Casselman
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