Translation:It is mean.
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What Kyky said. But, also, "mechant" is for a bad person or intention, while "mauvais" is more like a lack of quality. So a waiter who isn't good at his job would be un mauvais garcon, while a waiter who stabs you in the face because you didn't tip enough would be un mechant garcon.
"méchant = naughty", as opposed to "mauvais = bad". NicWester has it fairly well, but not the complete meaning.
\"méchant" doesn't have to be as strong as "evil", it could also be like when in English one says "bad kitty" if the cat keeps jumping on the keyboard/ book etc. The cat is not evil, it is just misbehaving.
Moreover "méchant" can be used in a playful/ euphemism manner, such as "une fille/ femme méchant = a naughty/ saucy/ raunchy girl/ woman" (though I've never heard it used with 'femme' to be fair, and am only guessing that it could be used).
Flint72- You may not have this quite right. The Collins French-English online dictionary makes a distinction in meaning when méchant is used with children as opposed to when used with people generally. It seems to say that only in reference to a child would you translate this as 'naughty'. When referring to adults it indicates the meaning is stronger, it uses the term 'nasty'. Also, when méchant is used with animals, it says the meaning is 'vicious'.
And the Larousse dictionary says that when speaking of a person it means wicked.
il est is used with an adjective to describe a person
Il est fort, cet homme. - He is strong.
Elle est intelligente. - She is smart.
ils sont grands - they are tall.
Also note that c'est and il est are both are correct for nationality, profession, national origin and religion
yes, as far as i understand il est and c'est are both he and it but are used at different times. i dont reember when one is used as apposed to the other though. something to do with if there is an article before the verbo or not. can someone who know s more please help, thank you
https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs:-%C3%8Atre-_-Avoir -- scroll down to "C'est or Il Est?"
Here is a good explanation of the easy-to-forget rules of when to use "c'est" versus "il est": http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032500.htm According to it, you would use "il est" with an unmodified adjective to describe a person, but "c'est" for unmodified adjective for a situation..and I guess an animal as well. So translating the sentence above as "It is", rather than "He is" is consistent with those guidelines. Presumably, the sentence is referring to an animal; it's hard to think of what else non-human could be mean. Fate, maybe?
C'est versus il / elle est
You may find it helpful to read this:
C'est can sometimes be translated as 'he is' or 'she is', but not in the sentence "C'est méchant." In this instance it could be translated as 'it is' or 'this is' or 'that is'.
If the sentence were "He is a mean man." Then you could use "C'est un méchant homme."
"He is mean." would be "Il est méchant."
---Edited 7/21/2015. Completely changing my answer as I can't seem to understand my own references, or invert them apparently. See: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Verbs:-%C3%8Atre-_-Avoir . Specifically "If an adjective, adverb, or both appear after être, then use the personal pronoun." (personal pronoun = il/elle) Meaning He is mean. must be Il est méchant. therefore C'est méchant. must mean It is mean. Sorry for any confusion. Hopefully this comment is more helpful.
I translated this phrase as "this is vicious" and was marked wrong. This seems to me to be a limitation of the program rather than an error in translation. Am I wrong in my translation? If not, how frequently is the program modified to incorporate new possibilities for answers?
Don't really understand why DL says vicious is wrong when I used it with this translation, because as far as my limited understanding of French is concerned, I've seen vicious used in respect of dogs, but a person, or an act, or a weapon, or a statement, can certainly be described as vicious. This is really confusing. Without an explanation, it seems to me the translation of méchant when describing the aforementioned is not allowed; is this true? Do French people not use this epithet to describe these things? Ever?