Visiting Louisiana? Cajun culture runs deep here; the term ‘Cajun’ first described the Acadian people of Louisiana in the 19th century. The Acadians were descendants of the French Canadians who were settling in southern Louisiana and the Lafayette region of the state. They spoke a form of the French language and today, the Cajun language is still in use across the state. You’ll likely hear some of these common Cajun sayings when you’re in the area, so here’s a handy guide to learn more about the lingo!
Cajun Sayings You’ll Hear in Louisiana
1. Envie = A longing or hunger to do or eat something
How to pronounce it: ah(n)-vee
Other Southerners might use the word ‘hankering’ where a Cajun would use ‘envie.’ “I’ve got an envie for some boudin.”
2. Honte = Embarrassed or ashamed
How to pronounce it: hont
“I drank too much and fell into the bayou. Boy, was I honte!”
3. Veiller = To spend the evening talking with friends
How to pronounce it: vay-yay
This is the Cajun equivalent of “to shoot the breeze.” “She was veiller with all her friends on the porch.”
4. Gris-gris = To put a curse on someone
How to pronounce it: gree-gree
Frequently used in jest, not as an actual reference to actual black magic! “Grandma got so mad when I ate her pie, she put a gris gris on me.”
5. Courtbouillon = Cajun stew
How to pronounce it: coo-boo-yon
A rich, spicy tomato-based soup or stew made with fish fillets, onions, and sometimes mixed vegetables.
6. Fais do-do = A Cajun dance party
How to pronounce it: fay doe-doe
“Will we see you at the fais do do?”
7. Laissez les bons temps rouler = Let the good times roll
How to pronounce it: Lay say lay boh(n) toh(n) roo lay
This saying really embraces the fun-loving vibes of Louisiana!