I agree totally. I can't remember the last time one of these idioms made me laugh like this.
Curious, though: Context Reverso translates 'les doigts dans le nez' as nose-picking - but why doigtS? Why fingerS? I have visions of ambidextrous Français using both hands at once.
Of course I make fun. The expression is common to say that we won easily, without doing anything, but I have never seen somebody saying it by putting the fingers in the nose. The expressions of the various languages are often wonderful and funny for others people. It's raining cats and dogs, Pay through the nose, Work the graveyard shift, are very funning for us. Laugh out loud (riez de bon cœur = laugh wholeheartedly).
I'm really curious as to how this idiom developed. The best I can conjure in my mind is that it's like "with my hands tied behind my back." But that seems very anglo-centric of me since there is no reason to believe "hands behind my back" didn't develop AFTER "les doigts dans le nez."
I'm thinking that the French are not so uptight as everyone makes them out to be, and this little idiom points us in that direction. I recently found another idiom, "cinq à sept," which alludes to the time after working hours were husbands attended to their mistresses before home. C'est la vie.
No, it just means some activity or feat is so easy for the person to do that they could do it with their fingers in their nose. You know, if you could win at some game with your fingers in your nose, you would be very skilled. There would probably be snot involved, but that would just be an extra distraction. (I just had to get into this conversation)
This is what I found on the internet, quite interesting. "Empruntée au jargon des courses hippiques, l'expression ""les doigts dans le nez"" voit le jour en 1912. Cette locution symbolise la grande facilité avec laquelle le jockey gagne sa course, à tel point qu'au lieu d'y porter toute son attention, il prend innocemment le temps de se mettre les doigts dans le nez."
Not a super common saying but I have heard it said. Not a hair out of place usually, for Americans anyway, is not usually a reference to the ease of the task but the skill of the doer and is usually said just like that - "Look at her. Not a hair out of place!" It means said person completed the task with so much ease that she is still perfectly coiffed.
For a non-native English speaker, can someone show a picture of what a person looks like if he has his "hands down"? Where does he put his hands? Aside, behind, or ahead of the body? I just can not picture "hands down", or understand why this gesture means to do something easily. (And the pictures in google for hands down are really disturbing...)
I think you are coming at this from the wrong end, where the down hands are is not relevant (indeed, one could be tied behind her back in another English metaphor of the same meaning), the point is they are not up (that might get some strange google results as well) in the sense of a boxer, ready to fight, has their hands up ready to attack or defend. This competition/fight is so easy that it is won without having to even adopt a fighting position. Does that help?
I believe the phrase "win hands down" comes from poker. all your opponents can keep their "hands" or cards face down, you don't even need to see them, you flip your cards face up, they see they have lost the hand and don't bother to show their cards. you win!! hands down. or perhaps the opposite, you see all their cards or hands and don't look at your own. thats how confident you are at winning.
Fascinating how some idioms appear similarly in several different languages (French, Dutch, Polish in this case) but are totally strange to speakers of other languages. I have a book of Arabic proverbs and idioms, many of which match English but also many differ completely.
So, if people didn't know. it's common in linguistic and grammarian communities that prepositions (on, at, in, of) don't really MEAN anything. It's why some people say 'on' the weekend, while others say 'at' the weekend. So while hearing 'fingers in the nose' DOES sound weird, maybe a bit gross haha. Think, what do most people do when they KNOW or GUESS something? using the pointer finger usually, they tap their nose. like a 'haha! that's it!' moment. so, replace 'in' with 'on' (as you might 'on' with 'at' for the Example above), and you get 'finger(s) on the nose' which, if you picture it, isn't ALLL that strange :)
Salut! Yes, consider this as an expression with some very French euphemism mentality: she can even win with her both hands tied behind her back. :)
In English there is an expression: I've got to see a man about a dog. = I need to go to men's room / a place that I am not feeling comfortable sharing with you. ;) Point is for some idiomatic expressions, non native speakers simply don't catch instantly as it does not exactly makes sense..lol
Thanks for asking, I did not know the origin of the phrase until I went looking to find you an answer. It comes from the world of horse racing.
so after the actual thing it says the nose, where it doesn't show up at all. elle va gagner les doigts dans, but then it adds le nez which means the nose, and its random words shoved in for no reason? is there an explanation? because there really doesn't seem to be any logical one. Your saying she is going to win hands down the nose? that just makes no sense ever in any context.
When I translate the phrase, "she will win hands down. This is what I got. "Elle gagnera mains vers le bas." I put "she will win with her finger in nose" and I was wrong. Very confusing. In Texas we say, "winning hands down too". I'm not concerned about the saying, but why did it say my answer was wrong. Le nez= the nose. Les mains = the hands..Right?
Because it's an idiom. Idioms aren't translated word for word. And your phrase is not at all used in French. They might accept the translation from the French into the English literally, but not the other way around. The point is to learn the equivalent idiom so you know what to use if you want to express that idea in French.
Indeed. This is why idioms are the hardest part of a language to learn, and a way to distinguish between those people who have learned the language a bit and those who have mastered it. It's hard enough when you're learning from your native language, even more so when you're learning from a second language.
It's a phrase used to convey a meaning without it being expected to be literally true. Languages are full of them. "It's raining cats and dogs", "Put some elbow grease into it" etc. The closest in English would be either She is going to win hands down, or she is going to win with her hands tied behind her back. It indicates that the task is so easy she could do it while doing something awkward or silly.
One finger in the noise is dirty enough but two figures would be really filthy! And those who would venture into the lower part must feel very uncomfortable. These old sayings need health check and clean up. I prefer the English expression: "It could be won with hands tied behind."
Hi shreyasa - Assuming you are wondering "Why not ses doits, the reason "les" is used in this sentence:
Usually (almost always) when body parts are referred to, if the person they belong to is clear, you do not use possessive pronouns but definite articles.
Or, maybe, you were making a joke?