This is a verb, used to say « I couldn’t care less » or « I couldn’t give a toss », depending on the intonation and the situation.
Here is an example – A Frenchman and an Englishman talking about rugby
Froggie – Alors, le match ce soir? La France va ecraser Angleterre !
Rôsbif* – Je m’en fous du match (pronounced dje mon foo)
Translated this gives the following
Froggie – So, what about tonight’s match? France are gonna walk all over England
Rôsbif – I couldn’t give a toss about the match
Now, in this last example, the English person has used a hard intonation, putting stress on every single syllable in the phrase, which gave the « je m’en fous » (dje mon foo) it’s translation in the venacular. The Englishmen used the « couldn’t give a toss form, because the French speaker had been particularly aggressive, saying that the French would « walk all over » the English
Imagine the scene again, but this time, the French speaker is as non-plussed about the match as his English interlocuter.
Froggie – Alors ce match ? (said in a nonchalant, half asleep manner)
Rôsbif – Je m’en fous (equally nonchalant)
This time the translation would be different
Froggie – So, what about the match ?
Rôsbif – Couldn’t care less about the match
*We call the French « Froggies » because they eat frogs, but did you know that they refer to the English as « Rôsbif » (pronounced roastbeef) because . . . yep you’ve guessed it
So the whole verb form is « s’en foutre » (son footre)
It is used everywhere that you couldn’t give a toss, a monkey’s, a flying f*** or simply where you just can’t be bothered and couldn’t care less.
Froggie – Le chef pense que t’es nul
Rôsbif – mais je m’en fous royalement de ce qu’il pense
Froggie – The boss thinks you’re crap
Rôsbif – I couldn’t give a flyin f*** about what he thinks
For those who generally couldn’t give a monkey’s about anything, we qualify them as being
« S’en foutiste » (son footist) literally « non-plussed » , but I daresay there is a better translation.
More in another lesson