Sunday, March 18, 2007

Today's French

One of my favorite phrases...
Tiré à quatre épingles: To be immaculately dressed, spic and span, or all dolled up. Literally it means something like "drawn by four pins"; épingles are pins. It is a commonly used colloquialism though.

3 comments:

sock puppet said...

How about this one:

cache-misère:

Vêtement de dessus et d’apparence convenable sous lequel on dissimule habits et linge misérables.

http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/cache-mis%C3%A8re

Do we have an equivalent in English?

Rufus said...

I can't think of anything. The more general meaning in my Petit Robert sounds like a smokescreen. But, I can't think of any clothes like that, although often I wish I owned some!

gregvw said...

That reminds me... we bought a tourist guide to Wien (in German) and it includes a lexicon of words and phrases from the Viennese dialect. One of them, for which I can not recall the Viennese words for was an expression which means "to die," but the literal translation of the words to English was "to put one's spoon down." That should let you know how serious Austrian are about eating. That's why I frequently refer to this as Hobbiton.