What Does Bordel Mean in English?

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The French word bordel, pronounced "buhr- del," literally means "brothel," but is commonly used in casual expressions to mean "mess" or "chaos."

Examples and Common Expressions

Quel bordel! - What a stinking mess! What a shambles!

Ça va être le bordel! - It'll be chaos!

Other common French expressions that use bordel include:

  • mettre/foutre le bordel - to create havoc
  • mettre/foutre le bordel dans qqch - to screw/bugger something up
  • bordel de merde (vulgar expression used for emphasis) - for God's sake, goddamnit
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Lawless, Laura K. "What Does Bordel Mean in English?" ThoughtCo, May. 23, 2017, thoughtco.com/le-bordel-vocabulary-1371654. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, May 23). What Does Bordel Mean in English? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/le-bordel-vocabulary-1371654 Lawless, Laura K. "What Does Bordel Mean in English?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/le-bordel-vocabulary-1371654 (accessed January 22, 2018).