Why Do We Say 'Pardon My French?'

26 September 2017, 15:35

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Picture: LBC

We use it to excuse our bad language, but where did the saying originate?

Mystery Hour Question

It’s baffled me for years. Why do we say “pardon my French” or “excuse my French”, where does it come from?

Matthew, Stockport.

Answer

Qualification: Used to work in the military.

The French have always been our natural enemies, with the excuse of WWI and WWII. Coming from the military I've heard this French derogation a lot. For example, syphilis was known as the ‘French Disease’, If you turn down parade badly it was known as ‘French Dress’, if you needed a condom you needed a “French Letter”.

Joe, Birmingham

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