Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by sheasimon, Dec 11, 2005.
How do you spell "menage twa" properly and what exactly does it translate into English?
ménage à trois (ä trwä')
n.A relationship in which three people, such as a married couple and a lover, live together and have sexual relations.
[French : ménage, household + à, for + trois, three.]
"menage à trois"
It's a literary reference.
In literature, it is when there is a man, a woman, and a lover (in various patterns, but the most common is that the lover is the woman's).
A "love triangle", we'd call it now, but the French call it a "menage à trois".
Most literally, it means something like "three in the house".
The French, however, do not have the same connotation for "an orgy between three people" that it has in English. At least, the one that explained that to me had never heard of it.
"A love triangle" and a "menage a trois" are not really the same thing. In "menage a trois", there is a note of complicity and awareness in the idea. Charles, Diana and Camilla had a love triangle, but I don't think it could be described as "menage a trois". The French term is used in English.
gm9618d has expressed my understanding of the term.
ménage à trois = a threesome as far as I know, it has the same connotations for French people (or maybe my friends are just dirty minded lol)
But the term does not always have a sexual connotation.
Here is a sentence that I am having problems translating that appears which definitely does not have such a context. It appeared in a trailer I saw a while ago in reference of three friends:
Ils veulent fonder un ménage à trois
Could someone please help me translate that above?
They want to form/build a....what??
There's a word for "threesome" in French, it's "triolisme". By the way, for "foursome", it's "partie carrée" (I felt like saying it because it's kinda colorful).
As far as I know, "ménage à trois", in English, is said by directly ripping the French phrase. So, to answer your question, Sammo, it would be "They want to form a ménage à trois."
But there is no other possible context in that sentence except a sexual one?
Hi Sammo - I think it could well have a meaning that is not merely sexual. A 'partouze à trois' is a threesome and usually lasts up to a few hours. A 'ménage à trois' strikes me as being more of a continuing relationship. Both of these involve all three people being present at the same time.
A love triangle is something quite different - here only two of the three are normally together at any time.
I would say it just means that they want to set up house together.
Ok, so what's a good way to translate the phrase in the sentence I gave?
They want to live as three.
I've always thought "living as three" was the most proper "translation" of ménage à trois.
Ah...thank you so much mgarizona! That will go perfectly.
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