Super French idiom N°3 : Poser un lapin

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Poser un lapin is a very common French proverb which involves the fluffy bunny ! 🐰❤️

poser un lapin
Poser un lapin
Poser un lapin audio

He is such a cutie ! 😊 Now what do you think this very popular French expression means in English: let’s have a look at the picture :

A standing man looking at his watch 🧍‍♂️
A rabbit 🐰

Two French words :
🇫🇷 “poser” = to put, to place
🇫🇷 “un lapin” = a rabbit 🐰

It literaly means “to pose a rabbit” ?!?

What can it possibly mean ? To find out let’s have a look at the origin quite “libertin” of this French expression ! ❤️

Poser un lapin : origin

poser un lapin origin
posPhoto by Studio Negarin on

In fact this French idiom: poser un lapin, “to pose a rabbit” goes back to the XIXth century. Originally, Georges Planelles writes in his book ‘The 1001 favorite expressions of the French’, that the expression means “not to reward a woman’s favors”. The verb “to pose” slang designating “to make wait” and the term “rabbit”, “an aspiring libertine leaving the girls of little virtue without paying the agreed price”, indicated in 1889 Lorédan Larchey in his New supplement of the dictionary of slang . Meaning, which was already found elsewhere in 1878 in “giving a rabbit to a girl” or “not paying her favors”.

In other words, the “rabbit setter”, was the one who made the woman from whom he had benefited await payment (the rabbit) for a long time. ⏱

This is why the ladies of little virtue decided from then on to be paid in advance ! 🤭

The current meaning of the expression is likely to have come from an unfulfilled expectation (that of payment) to another equally unfulfilled expectation (that of the person expected), since in both cases, it is a commitment that is not kept.

Source: The Figaro article about the origin of Poser un lapin.

Poser un lapin : Definition

Ne pas tenir un engagement, une promesse


It means not to keep a commitment, a promise

poser un lapin origin
Photo by Pixabay on

Poser un lapin example

🇫🇷 “On avait rendez-vous, à 20h, j’ai attendu pendant 2 heures, elle n’est jamais venue, elle m’a posé un lapin. “
🇬🇧 ‘We had a date at 8 pm. I waited for 2 hours. She never came. She stood me up.’

Thus, ‘poser un lapin” nowadays is usually linked to romantic dates and being stood up 😲

Poser un lapin translation in English

To stand someone’s up

Poser un lapin 🐰

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 tomorrow for more French idioms in English !

Happy learning ! 🇫🇷😀❤️

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