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The Curse of Being Named Kevin in France

The Curse of Being Named  Kevin in France

One day I meet an Irish guy named Kevin at an “apéro” (pre-drink party). We were in Paris, talking about French culture and he told me: 

“I don’t understand why French people start to laugh when I say that my name is Kevin!”

Kevin was a popular name in France, so popular that it was the number-one name for baby boys from 1989 to 1994! Can you imagine! Kevin is unfortunately linked with an image. Let me explain to you, every single country has them, in the USA they call them “Redneck”, in Mexico “Nacos”, in Australia “Bogan” and so on. In France, we call them “Beauf”. Kevin’s meaning in France is considered as “Beauf” name (or even plouc). The nickname of a person named Kevin is most of the time “Kéké”.. sounds even more beauf. Now, you can hear as a French slang:

“You are such a Kevin”

meaning you are so has been / beauf.

A question: How to say Kevin in French?

Kevin has almost the same pronunciation in French. You would have to put the stress at the end 🙂

How to recognize a “Beauf”? I tend to think that everyone is the beauf of someone but there are some signs to know when you are dealing with a French redneck. I am going to give you a few details to help you, I would say those are the clichés about a beauf.

Number 1: the gourmette is a bracelet with your first name

Number 2: some tattoos about the singer Johnny Hallyday (for example)

Number 3: the person loves tuning as a hobby

Here’s one funny video made by the YouTube channel “Le Bagel” with the famous French YouTuber Mister V.

La Beauféthie:

A movie is a symbol or a celebration of the Beauf: Camping, released in 2006. The French love to go on holiday camping and drink the alcohol of the south, the pastis, and play the game of pétanque. The Germans and the Dutch also enjoy a lot to go on vacations to France or Spain on camping. This is a perfect representation of Kevin’s meaning. I could add another one but I am not a big fan: Les Tuches.

To me, the person that succeeds to show how looks like a beauf, was the artist Dj Medhi with the great electro song Signature”. The video clip takes place in the north of France, the buildings with red bricks are the typical architecture of the north.

My explanation about how Kevin became a redneck name in France was probably because Kevin was a popular first name everywhere in France but probably even more in the north. French people tend to have a negative image of the north of France.

I would highly recommend you to watch the movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (read my article about it), but, to understand the jokes you would need to speak a little bit of French. To make it short, this movie illustrates how the French see the north and you are going to learn about the dialect “le Chti”. I can’t even understand a word of it. It is almost as if it was a foreign language to me since I am not from this area.

Did you know about the meaning of Kevin in France? Do you want me to write about other slang? Let me know in the comments section!

Work cited:

https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2017/12/27/quels-sont-les-prenoms-les-plus-populaires-depuis-1946_5234967_4355770.html

Gerard Depardon't

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Quite odd indeed, considering France is on the Atlantic.

Kevin

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Wow well that’s oddly pacific Michelle.

Michelle

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Kevin has the same kind of "image" in Germany. The image it brings to mind is a hyperactive child on Ritalin who is a bad student and lives in public housing with his five siblings and two chain-smoking, alcoholic parents who have no control over their children. There seems to be judgement against "exotic" and "foreign" names mainly English ones (though I don't know if that will last because every other child I know now has a name that is either not German or somehow "exotic" if not straight up made up).

Levon

Monday 16th of November 2020

Funny that Michelle, I used to be a teacher in the UK and Kevin would certainly be in the front row of my class as they are likely to be as you describe!

Sacha

Thursday 18th of June 2020

I did not know about Germany, so there is not only in France that some English names can have a negative image.