Les Intraduisibles : crapoter

“Crapoter” is a very interesting little word, meaning “to fake smoke”. It is when someone doesn’t inhale the smoke while smoking a cigarette but puffs it out instead. You’d wonder why there would ever be a need for such a word in a language, but the French seem to take smoking pretty seriously.

In fact, around 1 in 2 people between the ages of 18-35 smoke. However not all do so regularly, some only smoke from time to time. But if you “crapote”, you’re often thought of as not knowing how to actually smoke.

The origin of the verb is very mysterious as there don’t seem to be any linked words or any signs of where it could have come from. “Crapoter” started being used as a verb around the end of the 20th century, so it is actually quite a recent appearance in the French language.

Here are some examples of how it might be used:

“Est-ce que crapoter fait le même effet sur les poumons que fumer?”.
“Does puffing/fake-smoking have the same effect on the lungs as smoking?”.

“Il ne fume pas, il crapote.”
“He doesn’t smoke, he only puffs/fake-smokes

Either way, for your health, just safest not to smoke.

Click HERE for more of our favourite “untranslatable” expressions!

We’re not saying Camus was a crapoteur but he certainly loved his cigarettes!