Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 3:09 — 2.8MB)
Poser un lapin is a very common French proverb which involves the fluffy bunny ! 🐰❤️
Poser un lapin in English
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 in English ? To find out let’s have a look at the origin quite “libertin” of this French expression ! ❤️
Poser un lapin Origin
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 promesseLarousse
It means not to keep a commitment, a promise
Poser un lapin examples in French
🇫🇷 “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
French GCSE idioms
How could you use this idiom in your French GCSE speaking exam ?
Theme : Local area, holiday and travel
Question : Parle moi d’un problème que tu as eu pendant tes vacances ? Tell me about a problem you had while on holiday?
Possible answer : ‘Quand j’étais en vacances en France l’année dernière, ma famille et moi avions réservé un logement sur la plateforme Airbnb. Nous avions rendez-vous à midi mais le propriétaire du logement n’est jamais venu, il nous a posé un lapin. Nous avons essayé de le contacter en vain. Nous avons décidé d’attendre dans le café en face. Il est finalement arrivé avec une demi-heure de retard.’
Translation in English : ‘When I was on vacation in France last year, my family and I booked accommodation on the Airbnb platform. We had an appointment at noon but the owner of the accommodation never came, he put us down. We tried to contact him in vain. We decided to wait in the cafe opposite. He finally arrived half an hour late. ‘
Poser un lapin video
Other negative French idioms
Here are some other French idioms with a negative connotation :
- avoir le cafard : to feel blue
- avoir la flemme : not to want to do anything
- en avoir marre : to be fed up
- prendre la tête : to have difficulty sorting something out
- tourner au vinaigre : to turn saur
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.
I am a French teacher, please see my students testimonials here.👩🎓👨🎓
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any French class or are interested in my new learning course. Contact me here.
Please feel free to comment this article, your opinion matters. Click on the green logo on your left to access the comment box straight away !
And I’ll see you tomorrow for more French idioms in English !
Happy learning ! 🇫🇷😀❤️