1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

faire la chèvre

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Novanas, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    Hello, Folks! Can anyone tell me the meaning of the above expression? I've found "prendre la chèvre", which means "se mettre en colère" and "faire devenir chèvre", which means "faire enrager". But I'm not sure if "faire la chèvre" has anything to do with either of those.

    It could be an old expression, since I've found it in Jean Giono's Les Ames fortes. An old man has died, and his two sons are quarrelling bitterly over the inheritance. The wife of one of them goes on for several pages, complaining about how her husband's brother is cheating them. And she's not happy with the lawyer, either, because she suspects he might actually sympathize with the brother.

    Le notaire disait: «Madame, madame, madame!» Je me suis tournée vers lui et je lui ai dit: «Vous n'avez pas fini de faire la chèvre, vous? Pour la façon dont vous avez travaillé il n'y a pas de quoi se pousser du col. Voyez un peu dans quel pétrin vous nous mettez!»

    From context, it seems to me this might mean something like "talk uselessly". But that's just a guess. If anyone can help out here, many thanks.
     
  2. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    "to go round the bend"
     
  3. Frances029 Senior Member

    France
    Faire la chèvre : expression populaire signifiant agir de manière désordonnée, irresponsable.
     
  4. Micia93

    Micia93 Senior Member

    in the center of France
    FRANCE FRENCH
    in other words, "faire l'andouille" ! :D
     
  5. carog Senior Member

    England - Hampshire
    French - France
    Vous avez sans doute raison mais ma première impression est que "Maaadame, Maaaadame, Maaadame" ressemble aussi au bruit que fait la chèvre, non? :D
     
  6. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Je crois que Carog a raison. On dirait 'faire la chèvre' quand quelqu'un répète, " Mais, mais..."
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  7. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    Many thanks to everyone for your replies here, which are very helpful. I've got two different options here, and it seems to me perhaps they could be combined.
     
  8. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    A late afterthought: actually, how about 'Come on, stop your bleating!'
     
  9. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland

    Yeah, I was thinking more or less along those lines myself. But if this "bleating" is the repetition of "Maa, maa, maa," that's totally obscure in English. Perhaps some way could be found of making the connection, but I suspect that this is one of those cases where something is going to be lost in translation.

    One idea that's occurred to me: since the people involved are in a heated argument, instead of "Madame, madame, madame," the lawyer could say, "But, but, but," to which the woman could reply, "Would you mind not butting in?" That is, you might have to sidestep the issue in that sort of manner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  10. KaRiNe_Fr

    KaRiNe_Fr Senior Member

    France, Provence
    Français, French - France
    Salut,

    :thumbsup:
    Tu m'otes les mots de la bouche. ;) J'ai aussi entendu bêler le notaire en lisant la phrase. :) Ce qui confirme qu'il est bien une chèvre, un incapable...
     
  11. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Would it be conceivable for the notaire to say, 'Ma'am, ma'am, ma'am!'?
     
  12. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    Yes, but that wouldn't suggest a goat to an English-speaker. A goat, like a sheep, would be more "Baa, baa". (I suggest you have a look at the Goat-Sheep dictionary on this forum.)

    And thanks to you KaRiNe for your confirmation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  13. KaRiNe_Fr

    KaRiNe_Fr Senior Member

    France, Provence
    Français, French - France
    Normalement c'est en français aussi... mais parfois !
     
  14. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    Forum du Vocabulaire Français-Anglais pour Chèvres :D
     

Share This Page