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à sa faim

I'm reading a book that has this line ...., mais il n'avait pas vraiment le droit de manger à sa faim. Which according to the english version should be ...., but he'd never been allowed to eat as much as he liked.

If I were to translate that sentence it would be ..., but he did not really have the right to eat to his hunger? Which actually sounds like hes not allowed to eat as much as he needs, but the first part of the sentence actually says he was feed only up to what he needs no more. Could someone tell me if this is a saying or how should I interpret this?

October 12, 2017



And I agree with you, that it sounds like

hes not allowed to eat as much as he needs.

Hopefully a native speaker may come by soon to confirm what the situation is.


Yes, 'manger à sa faim' means 'to eat as much as one needs'. So the meaning is not 'as much as he liked' but 'as much as he needed'.


The original sentence is long so I won't put it, but it's basically.....I'm allowed to eat as much as I need, (and this is where I started above) but I don't have to right to eat as much as I want. So for the sentence to make sense "manger a sa faim" should somehow mean "eat as much as I want/desire/crave..." because eating as much as he needs, was already said.


ahhh - yes Google translate does not cope with nuances on all sorts of levels.

I often find Reverso gives me better information, and also in more depth.

Learning another language is not just learning definitions of single words. Sentences also need to be read in context.
And reverso gives you examples of how things have been used in other sentences.

And also references for an established dictionary company - Collins.

For example, http://www.reverso.net/translationresults.aspx?lang=EN&direction=french-english
if you type in "à sa faim" , it will show sentences examples.


Also - it is interesting to see the definition of "faim"


And I also recommend reading:


I believe it is saying" but he did not really have right to fill his hunger" this could mean he wasn't allowed to eat enough. It could be for various reasons. I would need to know more to be detailed. French is about subject and objective subject and some times sayings or words that still mean the same in general but might slightly differ depending on the whole usage. Hope that made sense it is hard to explain in just a text. I would need more of the story to tell and explain better. À la prochaine Bonne Chance :)

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