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Cajun Culture

Cajun Culture Forum
Cajun Phrases

Anthony19th January 2008 - 9:45 PM
Hi, Im working on a project for school and i need some common Cajun/Louisiana Phrases. Sorta like "laisse bon temp roullez." Please it would help me greatly. Thanks.

bryan lafleur21st February 2005 - 9:19 PM
I dont know many off hand like that, but here are a couple.

Tonnerre mes chiens- literally means "thunder my dogs" in this form, but it is debated whether this is the way it is really said. It is used kinda like "holy cow". It is also the title of a good book by Amanda Lafleur of nothing but cajun sayings. Mostly very localized and not well known ones, but very interesting anyway.

Lache pas la patate- literally means dont drop the potato. Used for dont let go of what you got.

If I think of any more I'll let you know.

Good luck on the project,
Bryan Lafleur

/darbu22nd February 2005 - 10:07 AM
Let the good times roll

phyllis27th March 2005 - 10:03 PM
Lassaiz le bon temps roulez....not sure if it's spelled exactly right. This is the cajun french for "let the good times roll"
phyllis27th March 2005 - 10:04 PM
sorry....I just realized you already had this phrase!
gwendelyn29th March 2005 - 2:37 PM


Daniel Blanchard24th May 2005 - 2:32 PM
Check out Amanda Lafleur's site at Louisiana State University. Many of the words and sayings are audio, so turn your speakers on.
Here's the link:
See if this helps.

N'oubliez de ne pas lacher la langue,
Daniel Blanchard
Amelia20th October 2005 - 4:10 PM
I am opening a sports bar & grill in Bossier City Louisiana. It will have a cajun as well as a sports theme. I can not come up with a name for it can you please help.

Thank you
Rob3rd December 2006 - 11:33 PM
Amanda, did you open your restaurant?
Russell23rd December 2006 - 8:58 AM
Hi Gwendelyn

My name is Russell Im from England, isnt that strange the cajun sayin;

Tah-Tah (Give it to me )

We use that saying over here to but we use it when we say goodbye to a toddler

Interested in your thoughts on this

bryan lafleur24th December 2006 - 7:31 AM
I had never heard "tah tah" and am wondering what it came from. We say many things like that to kids but are usually a form of a verb said twice, like "deaux deaux", I guess from "dors". There are several others like this that I cant think of right now.
Linda10th April 2007 - 9:30 PM
"Stop the lights" turn off the lights, "come see" come here, "wanna go" do you want to go with me, "go to bed" go away from me,
Linda Duke10th April 2007 - 9:32 PM
"The Cajunturtle" Great name for a bar
TeeCar18th June 2007 - 6:43 PM
"that", used in place of him/her/personal name.

I always remember it specifically in reference to a person thought of negatively, or someone you're frustrated or angry with.
bayourouge17th July 2007 - 1:43 PM
how bout "passer le bon temps" pass a good time, as a name for your sports bar.
Michelle22nd July 2007 - 1:17 AM
I don't usually reply to message boards, but I just had to add this one because it always bothered me as a kid. When I was told to put something away, I was often told to "save" it. As in, "Save your toys" for "Pick up your toys." I never said it out loud, because I was an obedient little Cajun child, but I always thought to myself, "How am I supposed to save them? They aren't in any danger!"

A couple of French spelling corrections:
Quelle heure est-il? (What time is it? Is not really Cajun French, just regular French)

Also, "frissons" for goosebumps, "facher" for angry, and I have no clue as to how this is spelled because I can't identify the French words in the phrase but a snooping was called something sounding like "spee on est." These are all used in the Lafayette area. Hope this helps!
Michelle22nd July 2007 - 1:30 AM
Oh! Forgot another good one: "fais do do" which can mean both "Go to sleep" and is a name for an all night party.
Sue Adams26th November 2007 - 10:17 PM
I stumbled on this site and could not help but read some of the email messages. I am 51 years young and grew up in southeast Louisiana 65 miles southeast of New Orleans; yes, Bayou Country. The saying Tah-Tah was used on me by my grandparents and parents. I have a 31 and 25 year old sons that grew up knowing the term and now I have a granddaughter that we are introducing the term on. So far 5 generations of our family understands it to mean "Bring or Give it to me" I grew up with a broading understanding of the term to mean you should not have "this" (whatever you are trying to retreive from the child) "Tah-Tah" - give it to me and thank you at the same time.

Hope this additional information can be of help...

george19th January 2008 - 9:45 PM
These links may help ya:


Tammy31st December 2008 - 10:51 AM
Ive never heard that expression used directed to an adult.... lol unless they are just WAY to drunk to reason with.....
CCR6th March 2009 - 1:32 PM
Ca c'est bon- That's good!
C'est magnifique- That is great!
Mon cher- My dear.
Fais-do-do- An Acadian dance.
Lagniappe- Something extra, similar to a bonus.
Laisser les bons temps rouler- Let the good times roll!
Bonjour Mes Amis- Good day my friends.
Merci Beaucoup- Thank you very much.
PJ11th March 2009 - 4:16 PM
Call your bar "Amelia's" after your name sake and the LA town of my birth (just outside Morgan City).
michelle10th September 2009 - 12:30 AM
i would go with something like "Mason De' Amelia" its means house of amelia( well ur house lol)
Pat Masson30th November 2009 - 11:23 AM
Correct spelling is 'Laissez les bon temps rouler.' Standard French spells it 'Laissez le bon rouleau de temps,' so you can see some of the differences with Cajun vs standard French.
john 7th December 2009 - 12:39 PM
sa sais kik chauz spelled wrong bu t it might help
Solesurvivor27th January 2010 - 8:11 AM
"Tah Tah" or Tata is something we use often in Africa.

It's often use with babies and small children for goodbye (Say tata to your ouma), sleep (come now, time to go tata) or even for give (Tata mummy the teddy, come on tata)

Maybe it's something that went that way with the slaves?
Mark Moskvitch2nd February 2010 - 4:50 AM
Have developed an interest in Cajun culture since recently visiting New Orleans.

The discussion around the phrase "tah tah" is interesting.

Strangely enough, Australians use the word "tah" as a shortened and more casual version of "thank you".

It is mostly used in casual or friendly settings, not in formal Australian English.
Casey18th April 2010 - 3:31 PM
I lived in Louisiana breifly with my husband, he had lived there since 8th grade. Being from Oklahoma I've got a ton of heat all my life for things like "ya'll" or "Fixin' ta do it" So living there I was very amused by thier "slang". My husband
"Ya gonna get down"- you getting out too?
"come see"- come over here
"save it"- put it up
deseray30th April 2010 - 2:41 PM
You Can L0ook UpThe Stuff On Goole But
Type It In As French Cajun...
jon4th May 2010 - 9:19 PM
"Fixin' to" is one. Though it is widely used in mississippi as well, but we r neighbors and share a lot of slang and sayings. Lagniappe for somethin exta or somethin for nothin is a good one too. "How's yo momma and dem" is popular as well. There are a lot of old wise tales to scare the kids if they actin foolish that are worth looking up too. The honey island swamp monster and coco robisheaux are a couple of examples...
CajunQT7th May 2010 - 8:00 PM
Some of my favorites and some common phrases-
"I've got the Chure Rouge" (pr.: Choo Roo-ge) which means "I have the Red Ass"

"Couillon" (pr: Coo-Yaw) means idiot or goofy. When someone acts a fool you call them a couillon

"Make groceries" or to "Make a bill"- To go to the store and buy grocerys.

"Get Down" Means you're going to get out of the car. "At Mcdonald's are we going to get down? Or are we going through the drive-thru?"

"Mais No"= means no. (pr. May No) "You gonna pick up the tab? reply: Mais, no!
"Mais, Yeah" Means yes and is very widely used.
It can be used a variety of ways - "Mais, Yeah!" like "Well of course! "You coming to the wedding? Mais, Yeah!) or to ask if you are in agreement with the statement- "That girl is up to no good. Mais, Yeah?" or to ask someone to confirm something you're saying is accurate -"His house is Blue- Mais, Yeah?
Someone said it earlier but to "save something" is to put it away. "Save the Groceries" "Save the Dishes" I grew up in a Baptist family where you got "Saved" at church meaning you denounced Evil and accepted Jesus into your heart. I always pictured the dishes being "Saved" by a fire and brimstone preacher

"I got the Freesons!" (Pr: Frees-awe) I got the Goosebumps!

"Mes Amis" means my friends - "Good Morning Mes Amis!"

"Canais" (pr: Kuh-nIe) means sneaky or up to something
mischevious. "That Katie, she's canais - Mais, yeah?"

"Come pass by" - An invitation to come to your house. "On your way into town, you want to pass by? I'd love to see you!"
"Pass a good time" means to have a good time. "We gonna pass a good time at the Festival!"
"Pass a Mop" means "To mop." "I'm gonna pass a mop then do the dishes" or "Pass a Vacuum"

"Go Do-Do" going to sleep. "i'm gonna go do-do, I'm tired."

"Cochon de lait" (Coo-Shawn Duh Lay)is a traditional cajun party where a pig will be roasted

Amy Bayliss30th July 2010 - 8:25 AM
I'm 35 and grew up between Iberville and WBR parish. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and mom always used the phrases ta ta when speaking to babies or toddlers. For example, if a child had a trinket they shouldn't be playing with you might hear:
"Ta ta to maw maw, cher."

We also used "make do do" to tell our babies to go to sleep.

Another one that I have heard is rooted in Cajun culture is "noonie" used for a child's pacifier.

And us girls were often told that we looked like a chaoui (pronounced SHAH wee) if we didn't comb our hair.

Then there was that uncle of mine who was always accused of being, "Cootered up." That meant he was very intoxicated. I believe the root of that saying is from another saying, "drunker than Cooter Brown."

Mark22nd August 2010 - 9:14 PM
correct spelling Laisser les bons temps rouler
Mark22nd August 2010 - 9:16 PM
correct spelling Laisser les bons temps rouler
meagan17th November 2010 - 3:18 PM
Laissez les bon temps rouler
renee9th December 2010 - 10:58 PM
You are right, I do see in this forum that many sayings are attributed to Cajun culture. However, it is widely known that due to their proximity to slaves, African Creoles and free blacks, many phrases did indeed cross over. As did speech patterns, inflections and cadence. For instance, "ta ta" is used throughout the South when speaking to children. It can mean thank you, or take this. My family uses it with children until they can speak clearly. This same system of integration, or borrowing can be seen in food as well. Gumbo, being the main example. For many outside of Louisiana this is seen as a "Cajun" dish, when in fact it is not. It was brought with the slaves, and then acquired by Acadians. Nevertheless, like many cultures in Louisiana (and there are many) things bled over due to proximity.
Mallory14th May 2011 - 8:18 AM
That is very interesting becasue my nickname as a child was chaoui - it means racoon - because my eyes were such a dark brown!
Karen19th June 2011 - 6:21 PM
How do you spell "foo ya yeh"? Which I recall means to go without any special goal in mind and just fool around....
Bill Goat11th July 2011 - 10:29 AM
In the show Swamp People I hear Troy say "Choot Em, Choot Em" all the time. What is the translation on this saying?
Lance 14th July 2011 - 10:31 AM
Ha I'm from Houma La (moved away since early 2003) and my grandfather (Paw Paw) talks just like Troy... I served in the Marine Corps during hurricane Katrina and my unit was put on stand by to help out in New Orleans... I told my CO that I would serve as a translator if need be...he had no idea what I was talking about...I'm sure this show helped that.
"Das a good chooter" (That's a good shooter)
Pam27th July 2011 - 9:06 PM
I have a friend who uses the phrase "mais la" in a situation where I would say "my goodness". What is the translation of this phrase?

I'm from Southwest Louisiana and I'm very familiar with most of these phrases, but there is one from my childhood that adults used when they wanted to scare us. They would tell us that the "madowain" sp? (pronounced- mah-doe-wah) was going to get us. Anyone familiar with that term?
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Candice Cartwright31st July 2011 - 4:09 AM
I grew up in Old Gretna on the Westbank, and my paw-paw was the same way about telling us the stories of kids mis-having the loup garou (werewolves) was coming for you. I remember being scared that the will-o-wisps would take me away and be lost forever. Just things he and my maw-maw would say to make us mind.
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pete10th August 2011 - 10:55 PM
Amelia, hows about, "La Plote Chaude" (The Hot Ball, as in baseball)? Somebody drop dat thing on da grill and you bet it gonna heat up. I can see a sign, even, with a baseball wafting up smoke. Jusse aine de mes jonglements.
KimH5th December 2011 - 9:08 PM
Haha... I met Koko Robicheaux in a bar in New Orleans.. The guy could play a gee-tar...
Charly D7th February 2012 - 12:44 AM
My great grandparents spoke nothing but Cajun French and in our family, "Tah Tah" means to console. We usually use it with infants or toddlers. Like today for instance, my 3 year old was hugging her baby doll and patting it on the back and I said "Aw, you tah tahing your baby?". Or when she hurts herself, I pick her up and rock her back and forth and I say "Aw tah tah the baby!".
Charly D7th February 2012 - 12:47 AM
Pam, I have been told stories about madowain! It's like a swamp monster. They used to tell us "ghost" stores about it! We also called monsters or ghosts a loo loo!
vicky21st February 2012 - 9:21 PM
Laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll)
Come pass a good time (come have fun)
We’ll have a fais do do (dance)with some zydeco(cajun music). Even a pirogue(flat bottom boat) for lagniappe(little something extra).

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Fat Rat15th September 2012 - 9:46 PM
Choot Em means "Shoot Them !!"

It's simply a cajun pronunciation of the words "Shoot Them"....
sherry21st February 2013 - 8:33 PM
Anyone know the proper spelling of "mai got dais don" and what it means?
Johnny Blaze10th April 2013 - 11:23 AM
We dont Like your kind around here
Sophie11th May 2013 - 6:15 PM
Hey, I'm from the UK too and everyone I know says Tah-Tah as in thank you. Like, if you said it to a baby, it's so you can get them to have manners at a young age, ya know?

Just thought I'd put my view out there :)
skip11th May 2013 - 10:38 PM
Yep, have to agree. I once heard of a "CousÚne Tata(h)" (Cousin Tata(h), whose name may be from that cradle admonition, unless, of course, it's a baby name from something like "Lita", or the like, which stuck to her as an adult.
denis hurier13th August 2014 - 3:19 PM
hi bryan
i think that the sentence '' lache pas la patate'' means in cajun french,please do give it up,conserve your culture and keep in mind the cajun french language.
in fact to me who s a frenchie,i understand this sentence as i explained
au revoir
Kayla17th December 2014 - 7:21 PM
I am from Lake Charles and our family for generations has used the term "Tah tah" in expression of love or effecting. It is to hug, and comfort another.
Kayla17th December 2014 - 7:22 PM
I am from Lake Charles and our family for generations has used the term "Tah tah" in expression of love or effecting. It is to hug, and comfort another.
jeanne23rd January 2015 - 1:26 PM
Nobody has mentioned the phrase "dats ka ka." For instance, if you were speaking to a child that is touching something nasty you would say "no no dats ka ka." Translation "no no that's nasty."
jeanne23rd January 2015 - 2:26 PM
Another phrase I thought of that nobody has mentioned is "sha" or "sha ba be." The term "sha" would be used in conversation regarding something being "cute." For example, someone shows me a picture of their new puppy. My response would be "Awww, Sha." When used to describe something that you think is cute the word is often combined with "awwwww." Then for the phrase "sha ba be" you are often referring to someones toddler/young child. However, when using the combination phrase containing ba be (baby) the "a" in "ba" is pronounced like "bay." The "e" in "be" is a long "e"as in "be." One would also put a lot of emphasis when using the two words together. For example, my friend is telling me a story about something her son did. She tells me "Trent was an angel in the Christmas parade this year." So I reply "awwww sha ba be!!!"
Just thought I would share the terms that I am familiar with. I am from Louisiana (Port Barre)and very familiar with all the words or phrases that everyone has posted. It's very interesting to read all the different cajun slang words used in many different areas. If I think of anymore I will be sure to share. :)

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