Ultra popular French idiom N°8 : En avoir marre

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En avoir marre is a very popular French proverb which has an uncertain origin 😯 !

en avoir marre
En avoir marre

This one is a very common French expression ! I think I must say it sometimes depending on my mood about 10 times a day 😂 Now what do you think is the signification of this popular French expression in English: let’s have a look at the picture :

Some animal not very happy 🐻
He is annoyed

Two French words :
 “avoir” = to have
 “marre” = laugh ?!?
“en” = this is one of this little word which the French love and is impossible to translate. It basically refers to the indirect object of a sentence, if you fancy a bit of peculiar grammatical term 🤓

It literaly means “to have it full of the laugh” ?!?

Would you like some illustration in music ? Have a look at this clip from the French artist Alizee. She says “J”en ai marre”, it is “en avoir marre” conjugated in the first person of the singular (more fancy grammatical term, sorry !) 😀

Alizee – J’en ai marre – in French and English

En avoir marre origin

En avoir marre origin

“En avoir marre” is of uncertain origin and therefore has several interpretations according to the definition of the term “marre” which includes several possibilities. A first definition would come from the now obsolete verb “marer” taken in the sense of being bored. A second definition says it comes from “marrir” which meant in the 12th century “to lose” then “to get angry” and finally “to grieve”. For others, the term “marre” would come from the game “la marelle”.

La marelle or “Hopscotch” is a child’s game most often played in the playground of primary or elementary schools. To be able to play it, you need to have an orderly course drawn on the ground, progressing from “earth” to “sky”.

Some others think it comes from forms of tokens of all kinds like the mérelle which was the token of the pledge and the gain which gave expressions in Old French like “having his mar” to express the disgust.


Other authors have attempted overseas research to claim that “to laugh” comes from the Spanish where the term “maréo” was both seasickness and boredom.


The French expression “en avoir marre” first existed in the form “J’en ai maré” at the end of the XIXth century to express the disgust then becomes a few years later “j’en ai mar” within the meaning of annoyed or have its share before taking its current form in the sense of “having enough
Source : Expressions françaises

En avoir marre : French definition

en avoir marre French definition
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

En avoir marre de, que, être lassé ou ne plus pouvoir supporter quelque chose, quelqu’un.

To be fed up with, that, being bored or not being able to take something, someone.
Larousse dictionary

En avoir marre French examples

Tu n’arrêtes pas de m’embêter, j’en ai vraiment marre de toi !

You never stop annoying me I am fed up with you !

Qu’est-ce que j’en ai marre de ce boulot !

I am so fed up with this job.

J’arrête, j’en ai marre !

I am stopping, I am fed up !

En avoir marre Other French expression

En avoir marre other French expression
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A synonym for this very common French expression is “en avoir sa claque”. In the first person it is : “J’en ai ma claque !”

J’en ai ma claque !

I am fed up.

Here, “la claque” is not just the slap.
In the 19th century, having a good time was “to be satisfied”.
In this expression, the slap has a sense of ‘measure’ (to have your part, to have your account, to have your dose).
Exceeding the measure is reinforced by the intensity of the violent gesture or the blow that is generally associated with onomatopoeia ‘clack’.
In Picardy, a slap designates a “good measure of milk” and slap means “abundance”.

Another popular French expression that could say the same think is : “en avoir ras le bol”

J’en ai ras le bol

Literally I have it up to my bowl (bowl = face)

En avoir marre Translation in English

I think we could easily translate this French expression in English by :

To be fed up

En avoir marre

Voilà, this was today’s French idiom in English, I hope you liked it. Click here to find out about the challenge of 50 French idioms in English.

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And I’ll see you next time for more French idioms in English ! 👍🧡🇫🇷

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