chip on my/your/his shoulder

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by betty85, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. betty85 Junior Member

    UK, English
    how do you translate "chip on the shoulder" into French please? Meaning, a kind of inferiority complex?


    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  2. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Se sentir déprécié?
  3. The MightyQ Senior Member

    English, Canada
    What is the whole context here?
    Having a chip on one's shoulder defines behaviour, but does not in itself try to explain the underlying reasons, be they inferiority complexes or something else...
  4. doodlebugger Senior Member

    Chercher la bagarre.
  5. doodlebugger Senior Member

    I have always heard the expression chip on the shoulder in the context of someone looking to pick up a fight (physical or verbal).
    I believe it was a dare in the old days.
    People actually had a chip on their shoulder and by knocking it off you would declare your intention to fight.
    That it is connected to an inferiority complex I can imagine, but I don't think it is the primary meaning of the expression.
    This is why I translate it by chercher la bagarre.
  6. Fourmi Senior Member

    - Etre aigri (ne pas avoir « digéré » quelque chose)
  7. Spleen Senior Member

    Versailles, France
    USA English
    "un écorché vif " could be someone with a chip on his shoulder, too, no ?
  8. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary gives "Chercher noise à tout le monde" for "To have a chip on one's shoulder", but I don't think that's quite right. To me, the expression does not mean that the person quarrels with everyone, more that he/she is resentful of his/her circumstances and feels he/she has been badly treated by the world. This feeling weighs on the person, as if there really were a chip or block of wood on that person's shoulder.
  9. gweched

    gweched Senior Member

    French (France)
    Je rencontre moi aussi cette expression dans la phrase suivante :

    Il n'était pas fait pour elle. Avec un père alcoolique et souvent absent, une mère dépressive et the chip he carried on his shoulder that was the size of all the rock they'd ever taken out of the pit...

    Si quelqu'un avait une idée pour m'aider à finir la traduction de cette phrase, je lui en serais très reconnaissante !
  10. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    A mon avis, il s'agit de l'amertune (bitterness). :( + :mad:
  11. Dr. Baha'i Senior Member

    Athens, GA
    English - U.S.
    Most chips aren't particularly heavy, and while the person's "chip" might be sharing space on his shoulder with "the weight of the world," each would need to be specified. He may also be bitter. The full idea, as I understand it, is that the person so equipped is daring everyone to knock the chip off, as one tries to knock the chip or whatever it is they call it off the wicket in a game of cricket. So briefly, a person with a chip on the shoulder is quick to take offense and to quick to anger.
  12. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    That's a solid definition. querelleur / quarrelsome? :)
  13. Spleen Senior Member

    Versailles, France
    USA English
    Couldn' we consider this a huge wound he's bearing as a result of his misfortune, one that makes him hold a huge grudge against the whole world? How about the idea of a "boulet énorme qu'il traîne" - Does thin inspire anyone with respect to the image presented? Just making an attempt...

    Oh, my type-o's !!! "Couldn't" - "this" and not "thin"! Sorry!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  14. Xavier11222 Senior Member

    France French
    Maybe "soupe au lait" could work here? It's sort of letting some room for figurative improv.
  15. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    There may be a BE/AE difference here. To my mind, many people with chips on their shoulder are neither quarrelsome nor quick to anger, just surly from, as they see it, being dealt a bad hand in life.
  16. Spleen Senior Member

    Versailles, France
    USA English
    Sound shift, I have to admit that I also see it as you do. The person may or may not hold a grudge or be reactive - the notion of "écorché vif" means both as well. The person's outer shell or skin is very sore - to take it inwards or to express it.
  17. gweched

    gweched Senior Member

    French (France)
    Merci pour vos réponses. L'expression "écorché vif" me parait correspondre à peu près, mais je suis loin de l'image du texte original, que j'ai peur de devoir abandonner.
  18. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    This reminds me of the related phrase: to be thin skinned

    We also can say: someone who is easy to rub the wrong way :warn:
  19. maya0910

    maya0910 Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    knock off the chip on his shoulder

    Could anyone explain what that means or knows an equivalent in French?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  20. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
  21. Zyprexa

    Zyprexa Senior Member

    To have (carry) a chip on your shoulder is to be resentful about something.
    I'm not sure whether the intent of to knock off is to say that the resentment will increase
    because someone has touched it, or that it will evaporate because it's no longer there.
    Either interpretation is possible since although to have a chip is a standard expression, to knock it off is not.
  22. maya0910

    maya0910 Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    Voilà le contexte:

    "Leland, in his last issue, struts out with a chip on his shoulder, and dares Bush to knock it off."
  23. Baker boi 15 Banned

    England English
    Hi there, I would like to translate this phrase into French:

    "News obviously hasn't reached the Sky centre in Hounslow yet, through. Perhaps I have a chip on my shoulder, but at least it's a proper chip, properly fried and served with gravy and mushy peas."

    I would like to keep the same meaning, so if anyone has any expressions in French that refer to food which has the same meaning as the phrase written above, I would be very grateful. I already know what it means and possible translations in French [...], however I'm specifically looking for phrases that have the same meaning and have the reference of food.

    I am really struggling to give an attempt, all I can find is: être amère

    Thanks a lot.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2010
  24. breizh Senior Member

    French France
    Difficult to find anything suitable here ! Maybe you should try to work on the word "amertume" which is a flavour you deal with when cooking, which can be married with many different dishes and recipes...
  25. RuK Senior Member

    Outside Paris
    English/lives France
    I'm resuscitating this old thread because I'm having trouble with this too. "She has a semi-permanent chip on her shoulder" - meaning that she's resentful, feels hard-done by by the whole world, has a semi-permanent sense of grievance and injustice - how would you translate this in a familiar, contemporary tone? To call her an écorchée vive would be way too strong and would imply suffering, I think, rather than surliness and resentment.
  26. gweched

    gweched Senior Member

    French (France)
    i'm back on my old thread...

    i would say, in your context : elle est toujours sur la défensive.
  27. muche Senior Member

    Quelqu'un peut-il me dire quelle expression française est la trad de "to get a chip on his shoulder"
    la phrase est la suivante: "he's got a chip on his shoulder about who really created "Katie""
    est ce que :"il a laissé echapper quelquechose a propos du véritable créateur de "katie""
    vous semble être la bonne trad?
    merci d'avance
  28. Squiggle

    Squiggle Senior Member

    Savoie, France
    English - UK
    Hi muche. I'm not sure you have understood the meaning of "chip on his shoulder". It is a bit difficult to explain, but here is one definition that works quite well: If someone has a chip on their shoulder, they are resentful about something and feel that they have been treated badly.
    You can also refer to someone as being "chippy" often about their background.
    I don't know how to say it in French but your translation does not seem write to me I'm afraid. Good luck!
  29. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Le dictionnaire Harraps donne "il cherche noise à tout le monde", mais ça ne fait pas l'affaire ici, me semble-t-il. Je dirais "il est aigri" ou quelque chose de pareille. L'idée est qu'on ne reconnaît pas le fait que le véritable créateur de katie, c'est lui.
  30. The Prof

    The Prof Senior Member

    Voici ma tentative, juste pour te donner une idée du sens, mais il y aura sans doute une meilleure manière de le dire:

    -Il est très susceptible / amer sur le sujet du........
  31. LaCigognePerchée Senior Member

    You'll find more by just googling the phrase, but this about explains it. No idea about a French equivalent.[/QUOTE]

    Moi aussi je rame avec cette expression depuis des lustres :confused:
    Quelques idées en vrac, selon contexte : en vouloir à la terre entière, être bourré de rancoeur (on retrouve le côté "aigri" du R&C)
    Donc : cesser d'en vouloir à, oublier sa rancoeur, etc etc...
    Hope it helps !
  32. muche Senior Member

    Merci Marieke, pour tes propo .Je crois que j'avais opté à l'époque pour "l'avoir en travers de la gorge"
  33. pointvirgule

    pointvirgule Senior Member

    Mtl, QC
    Nous avons une expression au Québec pour dire ça : avoir une crotte sur le cœur.
  34. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    :mad: en vouloir a tout le monde -selon Harrap's
  35. hirondelled'hiver

    hirondelled'hiver Senior Member

    Chercher des poux à tout le monde.

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