Escalating French expression N°20 : Monter sur ses grands chevaux

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Here is a popular French idiom which takes us to the frightening situation of getting ready for war ! 💣

Monter sur ses grands chevaux
Monter sur ses grands chevaux

Monter sur ses grands chevaux Meaning in English

Monter sur ses grands chevaux
Monter sur ses grands chevaux

He is such a cutie ! It is a pity that this French idiom is not as peaceful as this picture !

What does ‘Monter sur ses grand chevaux‘ means in English ?

Let’s have a look at the picture and guess :

a man on a high horse” = “sur son grand cheval“, in plural “monter sur ses grands chevaux”
Yes, ‘cheval’ = ‘chevaux’ in plural, it is one of these irregular ones 🧐

he has climbed on to the horse : “monter”

it literally means like ‘ to climb on one’s high horses‘ 🎠

Very well, but what does this mean? Let’s have a look at its origin to fully understand the meaning of this French idiom in English.

Monter sur ses grands chevaux Origin

Monter sur ses grands chevaux is a French idiom which dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time, you chose your horse according to the activity you intended to perform.

Among those :

‘Le palefroi’ : the palfrey was used for parades, for travel and as a mount for the ladies

‘Le sommier’ : ‘workhorse’ carried the weapons and the luggage

‘Le destrier’: ‘steed’ was the combat horse, a large breed animal (it was so named because the squire brought it with the right hand to the knight)

When knights fought, they rode on steeds and workhorses, the bigger the horse the better they could observe and dominate the adversary.
So, originally, riding on his high horses was, for a troop of knights, going into battle riding large mounts.

Thus, “monter sur ses grands chevaux” meant the fact of going into battle with enthusiasm, riding the most imposing mounts. 🎠

Monter sur ses grands chevaux Translation in English

This time it is very easy to translate, word for word, it means 😊

‘to get on his high horse’

monter sur ses grands chevaux

Monter sur ses grands chevaux French example

Here are a couple of example to use this French idiom :

Avant de monter sur tes grands chevaux, réfléchis à ce que je viens de te dire !

Before getting on your high horses, think about what I said.

Ne le contredis pas, il va encore monter sur ses grands chevaux !

Don’t contradict him or he will get on his high horses.

Monter sur ses grands chevaux in literature

This is a popular French expression and is widely used in literature :

« Je vous loue, mon cousin, de n’être point monté sur vos grands chevaux pour vous plaindre du maréchal d’Estrées. »

“I praise you, my cousin, for not having mounted your high horses to complain about Marshal d’Estrées. ”
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné – Letter 883 – 24th June 1681

Il est facile de monter sur ses grands chevaux, mais essayez donc d’en descendre gracieusement !

It’s easy to get on its high horse, but try to get off gracefully!
Franklin Jones
Thomas P. Jones (1774–1848) was a British-born engineer and publisher in the United States of America.

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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