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Bourrer le crâne

French expressions analyzed and explained


Bourrer le crâne
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Expression: Bourrer le crâne

Pronunciation: [boo ray leu krahn]

Meaning:  to fill someone's head with nonsense; to brainwash

Literal translation: to stuff the skull

Register: informal

Notes: The informal French expression bourrer le crâne has two slightly different meanings.

1) "To fill someone's head with nonsense" means to tell someone a lot of stuff that isn't true or doesn't make sense.

   N'écoute pas ton frère, il te bourre le crâne.
   Don't listen to your brother, he's just feeding you nonsense.

   Quel programme idiot, il bourre le crâne aux enfants.
   What a stupid program, it fills kids' heads with silly ideas.

Synonyms: dire des bêtises, dire des idioties, dire n'importe quoi, raconter des histoires, raconter des salades

2) "To brainwash" is stronger and more deliberate, there's a definite sense of mind control, even malice:

   Qu'est-ce qui t'arrive ? Un maniaque t'a bourré le crâne ou quoi ?
   What is wrong with you? Did some maniac brainwash you or what?

   C'est un secte qui bourre le crâne à ses membres.
   It's a cult that brainwashes its members.

   Faux amis alert: un culte = sect, and une secte = cult.

Synonyms: conditionner, décerveler, endoctriner, faire de l'intox(e) à, faire un lavage de cerveau à, intoxiquer, laver le cerveau de

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