Bourrer le crâne

Bourrer le crâne
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to fill someone’s head with nonsense; to brainwash
Literally to stuff the skull
Register informal
Pronunciation [boo ray leu krahn]
IPA  [bu ʁe lə kran]

Usage notes: The literal meaning of the informal French expression bourrer le crâne isn’t so far from the figurative ones.

1) “To fill someone’s head with nonsense” – to say a lot of untrue or nonsensical things

Par exemple…

Arrête de bourrer le crâne à ta petite sœur !   Stop filling your little sister’s head with nonsense!
Je déteste cette émission, il bourre le crâne aux enfants.   I hate this show, it fills kids’ heads with silly ideas.


2) “To brainwash” – to deliberately convince someone of something untrue (and often malicious):

Par exemple…

Tu crois ça ? Mais c’est pas possible ! Qui t’a bourré le crâne ?   You believe that? Impossible! Who brainwashed you?
Non, non, un culte est une religion, comme le luthéranisme. Ce sont les sectes qui bourrent le crâne à leurs membres.   No, no, a sect is a religion, like Lutheranism. Cults are the ones that brainwash their members.

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


  • conditionner
  • décerveler
  • endoctriner
  • faire de l’intox(e) à
  • faire un lavage de cerveau à
  • intoxiquer
  • laver le cerveau de

 Related lessons

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Bourrer le crâne
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