Weird French expression N°25 : Les doigts dans le nez

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Here is a popular and useful French expression which comes from horse racing : Les doigts dans le nez ! 🤞👃

Les doigts dans le nez
Les doigts dans le nez

Les doigts dans le nez Meaning in English

Les doigts dans le nez

Les doigts dans le nez is a very popular French expression but what is “les doigts dans le nez” ?

As depicted on the picture above, “les doigts dans le nez” is in fact fingers in the nose.

But what does it mean? Let’s have a look at the origin of this very common French expression to find out !

Les doigts dans le nez Origin

Photo by Mídia from Pexels

The expression appeared in 1912 in the language of horse racing: the jockey came first with his fingers in his nose.
It is a funny image which shows the ease, the recklessness that the jockey had to win, since instead of having his mind completely preoccupied with his race, he was able to take the time, like carefree children , to stick his fingers in his nose.

Haut la main

Haut la main

But this jockey could have as well simply raised his hand and in French we would have said: “il a gagné la course haut la main‘, he won the race the hand up ! This means that this was a very easy task for him.

And elsewhere ?

The Dutch are more precise than us: they use two fingers in the nose to express the ease of things, the Italians do it with their hands in their pockets or with their eyes closed, the Portuguese are more flexible because they do it with one leg in the back. back, and the Germans are ambidextrous because they get there with the left hand. Other peoples use the terms pastry to evoke ease: it’s bread eaten for the Portuguese, it’s a piece of cake, or as easy as a pie for the English and it is still before lunch for the Japanese.

Les doigts dans le nez Translation in English

In English this idiom is represented somehow by a more appetizing image 🙂

Les doigts dans le nez Translation in English

A suitable translation of ‘les doigts dans le nez’ in English would be ;

‘It is a piece of cake’ !


les doigts dans le nez

Les doigts dans le nez French example

Gabriel di Domenico – Tétard vous salue bien

« Avec les contrats rapportés par Bernard, et l’argent frais tiré de la vente de ses immeubles, nous rembourserions les doigts dans le nez. »

Gabriel di Domenico – Tétard vous salue bien

Je ne compte plus le nombre de chroniques, de lettres ouvertes et de textes d’analyse qui portaient ce titre, ces derniers jours. Ils disaient tous que Biden allait gagner les doigts dans le nez.

Richard Martineau, « Une victoire qui sent la défaite », dans Le journal de Montréal, 5 novembre 2020
I have lost count of the number of columns, open letters and analytical texts that carried this title in recent days. They were all saying Biden was going to win his fingers in the nose.

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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Machiko et Laurent
5 months ago

Toujours un plaisir de réviser et d’apprendre de nouvelles expressions dans tes cours. MERCI Lara

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