"Elle va gagner les doigts dans le nez !"

Translation:She is going to win hands down.

March 12, 2015

138 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Carlms3

It's the greatest idiom ever!

March 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

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.

:)

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/fmberne

Because the nose having two nostrils, so are needed two fingers (usually index finger and middle finger of the same hand, that you are right-handed or left-handed).

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

What? I cannot believe I am discussing this! :)

OK. I am not an expert on this. In my experience, picking your nose is a one-finger exercise. You guys really use two fingers at once? Really?

You're pulling my leg, right?

I can't spell for laughing.

:)

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/fmberne

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).

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/fmberne

I forgot : You are pulling my leg = vous me faites marcher

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Good one. You had me going, there. (Colloquial - I almost believed you.) :)

August 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/excellence2018

True

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/formagella

nothing beats the English somehow managing to take their friends' piss.

May 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

I agree 100%. I live in Cape Town now, where I am a Brit or a Pom (pomme?)

The classic joke here is -

Q: how can you tell when a Brit is taking the P!$$? A: Their lips are moving!

:)

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Marcingham

It is not

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/2BrothersT

Yeah!

May 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ChoraPoetka

hehehe we have the same idiom in Polish: "It is so easy, I can do this with the finger in my nose". Of course there is also a more ugly version with another body part ;)

July 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Pasz5

We used to say in the army "I can do it with bayonet in the ass".

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LaBellezaNatural

HOOAH, GO ARMY!!! Thank you for your service!!

February 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

This thread gets better and better! :)

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jolynnedougherty

I don't know if you had the Coke commercials back in the 70's that went "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" (to the tune of I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony), but I'd like to buy the world a bottle of hand sanitizer right now.

July 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LaBellezaNatural

Lmao!!

February 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Walter375725

And this is one in Russian (normally not used in decent conversation): "it is as easy as to pee on two fingers". I'm reluctant to give the original because it is too rude.

January 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/OmarAyman75331

:"D

July 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheyne

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."

March 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Carlms3

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.

March 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/marytejedor

Hello, Can you explain for the no natives? it is about snot or something thus?

January 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JIM983910

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)

May 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/wangyhdavid

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."

July 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankOvares

In some Latin American countries they go a step further and say: "I could beat you with my hands tied behind my back" or a variation would be: "My team can beat yours with not one hair out of place" (sin despeinarme)

July 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/tracidmartin

We say this in the US also, I could beat you with my hands tied behind my back. I have not heard the hair saying though.

November 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/saturnwings

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.

November 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/iAmAlwaysLate

Yes! Here in Brazil we use "com as mãos nas costas". :)

February 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Diana_03_22

And in other romance languages it is so easy that you can do it "with your closed eyes".

May 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/dancingparrot

According to some quick research, it's origins lie in horseracing. If a jockey were to win a race with great ease, he would barely even have to pay attention anymore, but be able to just pick his nose for a bit (and still win the race).

August 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/KingOberon

We have something similar in czech. We say To win with a finger in the ass. But it's very informal and not to be used when talking to your boss, teacher etc.

November 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Giri537281

The same is polish we say "finger in the ass" (z palcem w dupie ;) how is it in Chech exaxtly?

June 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/dlaekdnlt123

Why isn't the literal translation accepted though? I mean, hypothetically someone could definitely be winning a race with her finger digging up her nostril. If no one's ever done it, why would we make an idiom out of it?

April 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1681

Because it is always going to be understood as an idiom, not literally.

January 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/displicit

There will always be new lines made out of words, some of which will get idiomatic. And you know that you know a language only when you can play around with words - that makes knowledge of idioms less relevant.

February 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ketutar

I think that's wrong, too. They should accept the literal translation, as this is, after all, for learning French. They could explain the saying later.

August 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JIM983910

We're learning idioms, which are seldom, if ever, literal. It's fun. Go with the flow. How great has this conversation been? : )

May 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/dancingparrot

We do the same thing in Dutch! "I can do that with two fingers up my nose (and in reverse)" i.e. "I can do that easily" Quite fun to see it in French as well ^^

August 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mark310671

I think the equivalent English idiom should be, "she can win with one hand tied behind her back."

November 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LTAga

I agree, by saying she will win hands down expresses the speaker's certainty of the win, not whether it will be easy.

March 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/qyjiang

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...)

August 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/John938529

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?

August 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/qyjiang

That really helps! So "hands down" is not a particular position, but rather being NOT "hands up". Thanks

August 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BriaunnaYo

When we say "hands down", it is more about the person choosing not to use their hands to do something that generally you would need to use your hands for. It really doesnt matter where the hands are located, only that they were not used.

December 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewWein18

Just found this, thought it was interesting...

The earliest examples of the phrase come from 19th century sporting papers where horses win races “hands down,” meaning that victory is so secure that the jockey can relax and drop the reins before crossing the finish line.

December 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/tomwolf11235

Just a random thought, why is the second definition of nez - "headland"?

June 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Possibly because the appearances of such geographical features jutting out into the sea or ocean may remind people of noses, especially some famous gallic ones.

June 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BampaOwl

Indeed. The point of France closest to England is Cap Gris Nez - the Cape of the Grey Nose. Which come to look at it is a bit of a tautology.

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jpHLdO

a cape is a land formation into the sea That it looks like a nose is a geographical observation not a grammatical redundancy!!!!!!!!

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Le_Petit_Pain

"a piece of cake"

September 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BampaOwl

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.

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Humbert875527

I replied: "She won, hands-down". And it's correct!

October 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RyanM

Shouldn't 'is going to win' be future tense?

March 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Why do you think it isn't? aller + infinitive is one of the ways that French people indicate the future, pretty much the same way that English does.

March 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/avfs29

She will win the hands down

April 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

No "the".

May 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/avfs29

Anyway, what is hands down? And what type of game is that?

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

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.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/63235/where-does-expression-hands-down-come

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dinska

Can this also mean "She is about to win hands down." also, or does one have to phrase it differently?

June 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

About to is a bit more immediate than going to.

June 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/anotherdean

"She is going to win hands down " is accepted too

July 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KerenLomas0

Do you think: She will ace it! is the same as she is going to win hands down!

August 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AlaaHusseinAssaf

In what context is this proverb usually used, your help is highly appreciated!

August 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ruchirai1

is this really counted as an idiom?

September 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Let's see, it's a commonly used phrase, which has an understood meaning, but where the actual words used when thought about are a little odd. Sounds like an idiom to me.

September 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BashieStormie

So what is the problem with: "She will win without any effort" I'm surprised to see it got rejected.

September 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Because it's not a common idiom to match and therefore nobody thought of it.

October 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sojournerbliss

Couldn't dans le nez translate to on the nose or is that another word? This is much funner though, than hands down.

November 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
  • 1681

It is just an idiom in French. The comparable idiom in English in this context is "with one hand tied behind one's back". Another alternative is "hands down" meaning an easy win. Idioms rarely translate literally from one language to another.

January 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Paco9dez

" She is going to win hands down." I have no clue what it means. And what is so funny about the fingers in the nose. Does it mean it is a very easy thing to do for her/him?

March 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/avanade

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

( http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/see-a-man-about-a-dog )

March 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mole_Rat

She is to win, hands down isnt excepted?

March 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/duo149

Strange. She is going to win with her finger up her nose? Kind of gross...

April 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/avanade

lol Maybe it is better for all of us to memorize "les doights dans le nez" as "hands down" for our peace of mind rather than trying to figure out exact French mentality behind this expression. =D

July 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GinsengV1

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.

May 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

I think you need to look up the meaning of the word, "idiom".

May 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/saturnwings

Check wodwhsm and dancingparrot's posts for the origin and context of this idiom.

May 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmett705338

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 :)

October 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/tomchiukc

So, “va” + verb --> future tense?

January 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/xy16j3

Yes, aller faire qc. = going do do sth.

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Applebono2

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?

February 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

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.

February 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dustus

So i answered 'She is going to win with one hand tied behind her back' and it marked me wrong. Told me the correct translation was 'She is going to will with one hand tied behind her back'

February 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Hope you reported because that looks like a typo.

February 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dwendl
  • 1547

How would this idiom be used to describe a team's performance? "L'équipe bleue va gagner les doigts dans le nez !"

March 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/orihoeschl

Why can't it be "Will?"

March 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/martinkunev

These are really frustrating when english is not your native language and they want you to translate to english.

April 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

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.

April 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cheesycowjenkins

how is this an idiom????????

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

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.

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KimSCasey

This "hands down' translation is all the ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤. For heavens sake, I think the literal translations is brilliant makes perfect sense, and so much more colorful than it's so called 'counterpart.

September 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/HuldaMenke19

why can't one say "win by a nose"?

October 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Because the idiom doesn't mean that. 'win by a nose' means to just barely win, whereas this idiom means to win easily, without effort, indeed with handicaps.

October 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Plouto1

How funny this idiom is !!!!

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/sydney272867

My answer was so bad it made me laugh

February 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SabahFadhley

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."

April 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/anime-anime

I'm still laughing my boogers out. Even 2 years ago i still can't handle this XD Why stick ur finger in ur nostrils? to shot boogers at your winning enemy?

April 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ArpineAghjoyan

Never knew learning a language can be this funny!

April 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/lv08irfl

SO this means "She is going to win easily (with her finger up her nose)". What does this mean she isn't going to win until she pays attention or something?

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jean-jacque1

This....this conversation has really made me Happy that I joined Dulingo. Yeah I caught that idiom too. Can't wait to use it on a real life situation and notice a native speaker's reaction.

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dwendl
  • 1547

Could this be also translated as "It's going to win hands down"?

May 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Watermelon134190

I'm laughing so hard at the literal translation of this lmao

July 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Djallel200

.

November 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Myrthezzz

This is also Dutch: winnen met één vinger in de neus (winning with one finger in the nose). We only need one haha :P

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sylvia302750

I am totally being sold...how do i master this french

December 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/HiMeCriss

It's super funny, and even funnier that they use fingers, not only one finger ! In Romanian we have a similar one, but instead of nose picking we win with the hands tied to the back :)

December 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Farid129876

Ugh that is disgusting definitely so don't you dare do that

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Farid129876

oh no don't you dare do that ever in the middle of a poker match but that is still no way true

December 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FranMoraes14

Here in Brazil this would be like: " vencer de olhos fechados, that could be translated to " to win with closed eyes"

January 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ryan713075

Would like to see literal translations

January 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/geommm

I put in the right answer and i got it wrong?????????

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Keen108630

Should this contain 'avec' as in 'with her fingers up her nose'.

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

No, it's an idiom. They don't always follow what you think of as the normal rules. The with is implied, not stated

August 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DangerRick

So if you want to make a literal statement (not an idiom) you would make the sentence grammatically correct?

"... avec ses doigts dans son nez"

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/bpuppin

Apparently "gonna" is not the same as "going to"

April 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie

Obviously not. "Gonna" is a slang/informal expression.

April 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KarinSumbl

Gonna is only used verbally. Or if a character in a book is speaking very strong slang.

August 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jonathan90128

i didnt even get to say anything and it said i was wrong

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/khalifeh2000

I just didn't understand the meabi g of this idiom!! Explain it to me please??

March 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/allan960293

Who's shell

April 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LucasCastelan

Why doesn't it accept gonna instead of going to?

March 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie

Gonna is very informal English and that's why I think it wasn't accepted. I'll recommend you stick to more formal expressions whenever possible.

March 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jenova2

Why is it her. Where's the feminine indication?

June 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Elle at the start means 'she'. Il is for 'he'.

June 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ajc10c

Join my club J2F2Qp

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/anime-anime

So they're saying is, They will win so put your finger in your nostril! Picking boogers is always a way to win! Shooting boogers at a competion is the best way to win! Who hooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best idiom eva!

January 19, 2018
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.