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.
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).
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.
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).
Good one. You had me going, there. (Colloquial - I almost believed you.) :)
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!
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 ;)
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.
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.
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.
Hello, Can you explain for the no natives? it is about snot or something thus?
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."
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)
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.
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.
And in other romance languages it is so easy that you can do it "with your closed eyes".
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).
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.
The same is polish we say "finger in the ass" (z palcem w dupie ;) how is it in Chech exaxtly?
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 ^^
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?
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.
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.
We're learning idioms, which are seldom, if ever, literal. It's fun. Go with the flow. How great has this conversation been? : )
I think the equivalent English idiom should be, "she can win with one hand tied behind her back."
I agree, by saying she will win hands down expresses the speaker's certainty of the win, not whether it will be easy.
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?
That really helps! So "hands down" is not a particular position, but rather being NOT "hands up". Thanks
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.
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.
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.
a cape is a land formation into the sea That it looks like a nose is a geographical observation not a grammatical redundancy!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
Can this also mean "She is about to win hands down." also, or does one have to phrase it differently?
Do you think: She will ace it! is the same as she is going to win hands down!
In what context is this proverb usually used, your help is highly appreciated!
So what is the problem with: "She will win without any effort" I'm surprised to see it got rejected.
Couldn't dans le nez translate to on the nose or is that another word? This is much funner though, than hands down.
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.
" 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?
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
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
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.
Check wodwhsm and dancingparrot's posts for the origin and context of this idiom.
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 :)
...except for the fact that that's not what the idiom is meant to convey. If you check some of the comments above, you'll see that "picking the nose" is indeed the intended meaning.
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.
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'
How would this idiom be used to describe a team's performance? "L'équipe bleue va gagner les doigts dans le nez !"
These are really frustrating when english is not your native language and they want you to translate to english.
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.
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.
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."
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?
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?
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.
This is also Dutch: winnen met één vinger in de neus (winning with one finger in the nose). We only need one haha :P
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 :)
oh no don't you dare do that ever in the middle of a poker match but that is still no way true
Here in Brazil this would be like: " vencer de olhos fechados, that could be translated to " to win with closed eyes"
In Dutch we actually have the same expression. When you can do something 'with two fingers in your nose' it is really easy ineed
It's always wise to at least glance over the previous posts in a forum before asking a question that is already answered there.
i put hands down in tbe middle because that how iv always heard it (in the middle before what its refering to) who the heck says it at the end
But if you heard someone say it, or read it in a book, you'd know what they meant, instead of being totally confused.
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"
Well...normally one says "les doigts" and "le nez" rather than use the possessives when speaking of body parts (unless it's necessary to make clear whose body parts are being discussed, haha)
Gonna is only used verbally. Or if a character in a book is speaking very strong slang.
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.
I just didn't understand the meabi g of this idiom!! Explain it to me please??
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!