French idioms #9 - Casser sa pipe

Hi !

Welcome to this 9th french idioms topic. Today we are going to talk about the idiom Casser sa pipe. It literally means "to break your own pipe", meaning : to die.

The idiom dates back to the 17th century. Back then it meant "to become angry". With time, it became synonym of "to die". The main explanation is that, on the battlefields, medics gave to the wounded soldiers a pipe to bit on if the pain was becoming too hard to handle. If the soldier bit the pipe so hard it broke, it usually meant that the medic had failed and the soldier was going to die.

Another way to say this would be Avaler sa chique (to swallow your own quid/plug of tobacco), that has probably the same story.

Another french idiom to say "to die" is Passer l'arme à gauche (to pass the weapon to the left). Because in duels, the vanquished passed his weapon to his left side.

A funny one is : Bouffer les pissenlits par la racine (to eat the dandelions by their roots). The image here is pretty obvious.

There are also manyyy verbs synonyms of "mourir" :

  • Formals : Décéder, périr, s'éteindre, rendre l'âme...
  • Colloquials : Crever, claquer, clamser, caner...

Hope you learned something today !

Take care and see you soon :)

July 4, 2019


Great Idiom! I'm also doing my own Idioms of the day. "Spanish idiom of the day" LOL

July 4, 2019

So cool ! On which forum ? I'm interested but I can't seem to find it.

July 4, 2019

Thank you for posting these. I really enjoy reading them.

July 5, 2019
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