When spoken in colloquial Arabic Ayrault refers to the third-person singular possessive form of the male sex organ in many countries of the middle east, which effectively means that his full name is heard as Jean-Marc his p**** in Arabic. 

The Arabic media was in disarray for hours after the appointment of Jean-Marc Ayrault as France’s new prime minster on Tuesday with some referring him as “Aro,” and others prefixing his name with an “H”.

Some newspapers spelled out the last two silent letters in their coverage. UAE’s Al-Bayan chose to ignore his last name on its front-page headline: “Hollande Inaugurates his Mandate by Appointing Jean-Marc as Prime Minister”.

Considering the potential of embarrassment, the French foreign ministry issued an official statement permitting his name to be transcribed as written with the normally silent  “L” and “T” added in Arabic transliteration. Arabic is a phonetic language where normally all written letters are spoken.

62-year-old Ayrault, mayor of Nantes, is a fluent German speaker being a German language teacher before venturing into politics.

This is not the first time someone’s transliterated name has caused controversy in the region. In 2010, there were reports in the international media of the appointment of Akbar Zeb as Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, whose transliterated name supposedly meant “biggest dick”, the reports were subsequently denied.