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N’importe quoi meaning in French: Anything, nonsense

N’importe quoi meaning in French: Anything, nonsense

In today’s lesson we’ll have a look at one of my favorite expressions in the entire French langauge: N’importe quoi. Translations include “anything”, “nonsense” and “bullsh*t”. Tu racontes n’importe quoi! You’re full of it! Let’s jump right into the lesson!

n’importe quoi

anything, nonsense

N'importe quoi means anyting or nonsense in French.

N’importe quoi meaning in French

Listen to the podcast of this lesson!

The French n’importe quoi is comprised of n’importe, which means “any” and quoi, which means “what”. This lesson on our site covers quoi in detail.

One usage of n’importe quoi is for expressing that a person is carrying out an action wrong or incorrectly. Another usage is to express “nonsense” or “hogwash” and another usage is to express “whatever!”. The following examples illustrate these points.

Example sentences

This first example sentence uses the expression il faut, which translates literally to “it is necessary”. Hence, we loosly translated il ne faut pas écouter Géralde to “don’t listen to Geralde”. In French both raconter n’importe quoi and dire n’importe quoi mean “to talk or say nonsense”.

Il ne faut pas écouter Géralde. Il raconte n’importe quoi !

Don’t listen to Géralde. He’s full of it (talking nonsense, bullsh*t).

This example was really hard to translate. Il fait n’importe quoi translates literally to “he does anything” but really means “he has no idea what he’s doing”. Wordreference suggests that faire n’importe quoi means “to be out of control”. That translation would also work here.

Claude ne sait pas faire du ski. Il fait n’importe quoi sur la montagne !

Claude doesn’t know how to ski. He has no idea what he’s doing on the mountain.

For this example, n’importe quoi is an exclamation meaning “whatever!”. I couldn’t find this definition or usage on any online dictinary but I instist that the French use the expression in this way. I used my own voice on the n’importe quoi on the audio for this clip to make it seem like two people arguing.

Tu n’as même pas ecouté ce que je viens de dire, chérie ! – N’importe quoi!

You didn’t even listen to what I just said, dear. – Whatever!

In this final example, n’importe quoi means “anything”. This sentence is meant to be ironic. I hope you are getting something out of my word-of-the-day lessons!

N’importe quoi serait plus interessant que cette leçon !

Anything would be more interesting than this lesson!

Conclusion

Et voilà ! You should now have a very good idea of how to use n’importe quoi in French. Now check our our lesson covering the slang vachement, which means “really” or “very”.

N'importe quoi is a French word meaning "anything" or "nonsense".
N’importe quoi is a French word meaning “anything” or “nonsense”.
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David Issokson
David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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