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I have a sentence with the word 'dezinguer', which I haven't been able to find anywhere, has anyone come across it? The full sentence is:

'Il se contente de dezinguer [acute on 1st e] dans des pages mordantes Karaci, qui ne s'en porte pas plus mal'.

Karaci is another character who the first character is attacking in writing, which I guess 'dezinguer' means somehow.

Also not entirely sure of a good translation of 'qui ne s'en porte pas plus mal' - 'who is none the worse for it'? or 'who is barely touched by it'...??


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Well, I think you've actually already figured out the meaning and I don't really have much to add.


"dézinguer" is a slang word essentially meaning "violently criticise": I guess you could translate with something like "lambast", "slate", "lay into", "run over the coals", "demolish"...  or something like "gave Karaci a good slating". (I see it's not in this site's dictionary and I'm going to add it with these translations unless somebody suggetss something better). In other contexts, it can also mean "destroy" in a more physical sense.


Your translation of "ne s'en porte pas plus mal" seems fine. You could also think about things like "who was left unscathed by the attack", "who did not suffer for this attack"...


I just to add a little thing about the verb dezinguer. I think it cames from the slang military word zinc (not the metal, and we pronunce the "c" as a "g" ) which means avion. In military vocabulary dezinguer means "to shoot a plane".

Aaaah, interesting, yes that does make sense-- according to Larousse, "Dictionnaire de l'argot", zinc was at one time military slang for a plane (it describes it as obsolete slang-- I'm afraid I'm not sure if that's true or not).


I was trying to think how it might be derived from zinguer (which does exist as a technical term for "coat with znc"), but the military derivation makes far more sense. Thank you for sharing this extra insight!

Here is the reason why they've called plane zinc :

Ce mot désigne souvent un avion. L'expression vient de l'utilisation de chromate de zinc pour la protection des avions légers contre la corrosion. Ce produit chimique est utilisé sous forme liquide et il est de couleur verte. Il constitue la couche primaire avant la peinture de finition. A la fin des années 40,les premiers avions métalliques vendus à l'aviation générale n'étaient recouvert que du chromate de zinc et ils pouvaient voler des années avant de recevoir la peinture finale. D'où l'expression : un zinc.

source :

Thank you both for the really useful comments about 'dezinguer', I had also linked to zinc but had no idea what the relevant connection was. So... I have ended up with the translation 'he contents himself with firing words at Karaci, who is unscathed by these attacks'


I have just read on (news):

LePenn DEZINGUE Melanchon...As a French native living in Britain, I'd never heard  or read the word, hence my coming to this site (not for the first time), and registering.  I had, on the other hand, guessed the meaning, and hope to contribute now and then, I am a 'language addict'.  It is amazing how (even at the ripe age of 62) I still learn or realise by myself language facts/connections every day (or almost)

Could the terms defined and itemized in this discussion possibly be the origin of, at least in American English, the slang term "zinger" when used to described verbal barbs sent in someone's direction by someone else?  For instance, if someone answers someone in a particularly sharp and perhaps witty manner, we do speak of the second speaker as "shooting zingers" at the first.  Any thoughts?


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