tirer son épingle du jeu

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by domh21, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. domh21 New Member

    Leamington Spa
    English, Britain
    Hey guys!
    I came across this sentence in a french newspaper article, and was wondering 'what tirer son épingle du jeu' (pull one's pin from the game??) means?
    The sentence is about French tourism:
    "Seule la capitale semble tirer son épingle du jeu. Paris table sur une hausse des arrivées de touristes étrangers...
    Its from Le Parisien, which i'm told is often quite 'playful' with language anyway...
    Thanks a lot for your help,
    Dom

    Moderator note: several threads on the same topic were merged.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2010
  2. sioban

    sioban Senior Member

    Orléans
    french - France
    It means "tirer du bénéfice", "s'en sortir"
    "to play one's game well" maybe?
     
  3. KittyCatty

    KittyCatty Senior Member

    Cambridge
    English UK
    Inquisitive question to anyone: Could it translate as "Paris is playing it's cards right?"
     
  4. Seamonkey New Member

    English, Scotland
    Hello,

    I think "play your cards right" could fit. Or perhaps "throw your hat into the ring" or something along those lines. I've found another instance of it on the FEVS website:

    Si nombre d'enterprises pouvant operer sur les segments les plus valorisants pour nos produits, arrivent ainsi a tirer epingle du jeu.

    Interesting phrase - bet its got fascinating etymology.

    Seamonkey
     
  5. mapping Senior Member

    Lille, France
    France, French
    peut-être que ça vient du jeu mikado ?
     
  6. doodlebugger Senior Member

    France
  7. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
  8. mapping Senior Member

    Lille, France
    France, French
    You are right. Nowadays "tirer son épingle du jeu" means making out alright.
     
  9. Seamonkey New Member

    English, Scotland
    Thank you for your help everyone. Very interesting info on that website. It's time to leave work, and the boss is due back from abroad in half and hour, so I think I'll tirer mon épingle du jeu.

    Merci
     
  10. jrelland New Member

    France
    Bonjour

    De mon point de vue, l'explication du site est bien d'actualité et adapté à l'article sur Paris.

    En fait, cette expression indique plutôt que l'on a su limiter les dégâts par rapport à une situation ou par rapport à d'autres personnes qui sont confrontées au même problème.

    Dans le cas de l'exemple sur Paris, il s'agit en fait d'exprimer l'idée que, dans le cadre d'une baisse du nombre des touristes étrangers, contrairement aux autres villes, Paris a su les attirer. Et le commentateur souligne qu'au lieu de seulement limiter cette perte de touristes, Paris pense en augmenter le nombre.


    I think the définition from the web site is correct and suitable for your article.

    In fact, this expression means we managed to limit the damages in regard to the situation or others persons who are facing the same problem.

    In this example with Paris, the journalist says: In a general trend of lost of foreigner tourists, Paris manage not only to limit this negative trend but Paris thinks that this trend will be positive.
    I do not know the article but that could suggest too that the others towns do not success as well as Paris.

    By the way, thank you in advance if you can provide us this expression in English.


    Regards
    ----
    dryat120
     
  11. clodo Junior Member

    Savona, B.C., Canada
    English, Canada
    I think 'Make the most of a bad situation.' 'To (get going) go while the going is good.', 'salvage a bad situation' have something of 'tirer son épingle du jeu.' but these could not include the nuance that one might be able to turn the situation around enough that one could come out better than one started. "To snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat' might bring this nuance in.
    PS: 'The other towns do not SUCEED as well as Paris.' There is no verb 'to success'--only 'to succeed'.
     
  12. jrelland New Member

    France
    Thank you for correcting my bad English
    I get used to use each noum as a verb and vice versa.

    About the translation of the expression, I thing you are on the right way.
     
  13. clodo Junior Member

    Savona, B.C., Canada
    English, Canada
    Ce n'était guère 'bad English' plutôt un très petit lapsus. J'aimerais beaucoup parler Français aussi bien que vous parlez (parliez?) anglais.

    Et 'thing' pour 'think' n'est même pas un lapsus mais une faute de frappe!
     
  14. mieumieu Junior Member

    Toronto
    English/Spanish - Canada
    It actually means to pull out of a bad situation before it's too late.
     
  15. mfchambourcy New Member

    france french
    Hello,
    Could someone help me translate "tirer son épingle du jeu" from French to English ?
    Thanks in advance.
    MFAIDHERBE
     
  16. alacant

    alacant Senior Member

    Alicante, Spain
    England, english
    I am sure they could if you post this in the french/english forum!
     
  17. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    to get out while the going is good
     
  18. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    or just withdraw from some enterprise undertaken in the company of others.
    "
     
  19. victoria1 Senior Member

    Mauritius - English & French
    to play one's game well or to extricate oneself
     
  20. tribones821 Junior Member

    Michigan, USA
    USA - English
    I read this in Le Point: "La démission de Franz Müntefering fragilise l'alliance entre chrétiens-démocrates et sociaux-démocrates. Seule Angela Merkel tire son épingle du jeu." It makes me think that either "played her cards right" or "made the most of a bad situation" works. I think that in this situation you might be able to say "made it out alive/unscathed". What do some francophones think?
     
  21. jrelland New Member

    France
    Hello

    "played her cards right" sounds good for me but not "made the most of a bad situation".
    In the last case you should say "made the better among the others ones of a bad situation" (if it's English ;-)).

    With the French expression "tirer son épingle du jeu" you want to express that you play better than the others ones.

    Otherwise, you say : "il s'en est bien tirer". In this case, you do not want to compare with others persons, just to say that the result is better than expected.

    I hope you will understand the nuance, despite of my bad English.

    Regards jrelland
     
  22. tribones821 Junior Member

    Michigan, USA
    USA - English
    Merci pour son explication, donc on peut la traduire: "Only Angela Merkel emerged from the mess/uproar/etc. unscathed"
     
  23. WordSleuth Junior Member

    Ontario, Canada
    French & English
    I had to translate this expression in a different context and also opted for "come out unscathed."

    However, as the site "mon expression" (like posted above) mentions, writers seem to be using the expression to indicate victory now. The site states that this is incorrect usage, and I agree, but the fact that some people use it that way does complicate our work! I'll have to contact my client to see if the intended meaning was "come out victorious" or "come out unscathed."
     
  24. jcareen Junior Member

    English
    Qu'est ce que l'expression "Tirer son épingle du jeu" veut dire en anglais? Merci si vous savez. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2010
  25. Pinairun

    Pinairun Senior Member

    Tirer son épingle du jeu proviendrait du XVe siècle. On dit que les fillettes jouaient à un jeu qui consistait à placer des épingles dans un cercle dessiné près d'un mur. Elles devaient ensuite les faire sortir avec une balle en réussissant à ce que celle-ci frappe le mur et vienne ensuite ricocher dans le cercle. Au minimum, il fallait récupérer ce que l'on avait mis en jeu. Ainsi, tirer son épingle du jeu signifie que l'on réussit à sauver sa cause, ses intérêts propres. Récupérer ce que l'on a mis en jeu.

    Pas en Anglais, desolée.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2010
  26. joaopaolo

    joaopaolo Senior Member

    Québec, QC
    Canadian English
    http://www.ccdmd.qc.ca/ri/expressions/repertoire_fr.php

    This normally excellent site gives "come up smelling of roses" which I've never heard of and can't recommend. I do recommend the site, though...

    It sounds almost like "breaking even" or "getting out / quitting while your still ahead."

    Wait for another opinion.
     
  27. broglet

    broglet Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    'save the day' is possible
     
  28. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    "to get out while the going is good"
     
  29. irisa Junior Member

    London
    english
    Hi there,
    Make the best of a bad situation works well. Also wanted to add that "come up smelling of roses" is also totally acceptable and widely used in the English language, the idea being that whilst everyone else maybe wallowing in the mud or worse, at least someone has managed to make the best of it and rise up like a phoenix, smelling of roses.
     
  30. broglet

    broglet Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    irisa - I think a phoenix smells of ashes
     
  31. Chimel Senior Member

    Belgium
    Français
    Someone suggested in this thread "to limit the damage". I wonder if this is not the best translation in most cases.

    In modern French, "tirer son épingle du jeu" implies that you do better than expected, better than others do, that you manage to cope with a difficult situation... I want to stress that, if it's a victory, it's a very small and relative one. Some translations suggested here go perhaps too far in the meaning of "great victory".

    Suppose that, in an opinion poll, the popularity rating of nearly all ministers take a dive by at least 5%, except for the Prime Minister. If a paper writes "Le Premier Ministre tire son épingle du jeu", it may imply that his rating goes 1 or 2 % higher, or is stable, or even goes down by, say, 1 ou 2%, which is a fairly good result in these circumstances. That's why I would go for "limit the damage".
     
  32. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    managed to come through it without too much trouble?
     
  33. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    "To put in a creditable performance"?
    "To give a good account of oneself"?
     
  34. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    No it's not that - it's like someone who's been through a rugby scrum and come out the other side holding the ball - there's been some competition to get through beforehand
     
  35. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Ok, then it looks like "to come out of the situation/it relatively unscathed" to me, but I suspect there is plenty of life left in this thread yet.
     
  36. catay Senior Member

    Canada anglais
    possibly:
    "...managed to come out ahead," meaning it was a slim victory.
     
  37. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    In this case I might say he did better than expected
     
  38. KiriX Senior Member

    France
    Russian-French bilingual
    What about "to get through well" or "to get away with" ?
     
  39. hounze New Member

    Peynier, France
    English - US
    Very good input from all of you here! Thanks for the help. I'm translating the 2010 results for a company and the title is "EC tire son épingle du jeu", the idea being here that, despite a difficult year for just about everyone in this industry, EC has managed to have a very respectable year (not their best ever, but a good year nonetheless). I do think the origin of the word has something to do with the Mikado game, where you can imagine someone deftly extracting their "épingle" from the jumble on the floor "sans dégats" - i.e., without moving any of the others or losing out in the process.
    The best I've come up with so far for the title of my article is "EC remains on track" or "...keeps a steady course", the idea being in rough waters, the boat continues to plow ahead diligently. But I'm hardly 100% satisfied at this point.
    Thanks again to all!
     
  40. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    Voici ce que j'ai trouvé comme origine pour cette expression -
    Tirer son épingle du jeu proviendrait du XVe siècle. On dit que les fillettes jouaient à un jeu qui consistait à placer des épingles dans un cercle dessiné près d'un mur. Elles devaient ensuite les faire sortir avec une balle en réussissant à ce que celle-ci frappe le mur et vienne ensuite ricocher dans le cercle. Au minimum, il fallait récupérer ce que l'on a mis en jeu. Ainsi, "tirer son épingle du jeu" signifie que l'on a sauvé sa cause, ses interêts propres.
     
  41. broglet

    broglet Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    hi franc 91 - see post #25
     
  42. WillHelpIfICan Senior Member

    Paris
    English - UK
    to come up trumps
     
  43. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    I like it! Not only does it keep the metaphor in a gaming context but also implies that more than just doing well, the company outsmarted its competitors (trump = atout):

    tirer son épingle du jeu retirer son épingle du jeu

    Bien s'en sortir dans une situation confuse, profiter d'une situation, se distinguer, se désolidariser, s'en sortir (alors que d'autres n'y arrivent pas), sortir d'une affaire sans dommage - fréquence : 10 (Dictionnaire d' argot)
     
  44. broglet

    broglet Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    ... or another gaming metaphor: 'Eurocopter ahead of the game in 2010'
     
  45. whackerican Senior Member

    American English
    The phrase is used here in the following sentence,
    "Parmi les nombreuses et intéressantes dossiers préparés par [plusieurs cabinets d'architectes], c'est le studio d'architecture danois Big Architects qui a finalement su tirer son épingle du jeu, offrant un parfait équilibre entre les espaces d'exposition et l'esthétique du lieu d'accueil."


    In this contexts and AE translation would seem to be "came out OK/ahead".
    In a general context the phrase "to finess it" might also work.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the translation here is clearly not "to get out while the getting is good."
     
  46. hounze New Member

    Peynier, France
    English - US
    Funny, but in this case, you almost get the impression they mean that Big Architects "found the best compromise".
     
  47. Chimel Senior Member

    Belgium
    Français
    You're right, Whackerican: while the most current meaning is, I think, "to limit the damage" (see my post #31), it can also be used in a meaning close to "jouer finement, se montrer adroit".

    In fact, there is always an underlying idea of: to play it so skilfully that you avoid the worst. Here, the "worst" is the eventuality of losing the architecture contest.
     
  48. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    Maybe "Only Paris is holding its own", "Only Paris is making a fist of it".
     
  49. copykatparis Junior Member

    france, English
    HI all, an old thread and I'm sorry I don't have the time to read all the answers -- I'm using "to come out on top" as an alternative in the following context on the USSR under Brezhnev:
    "...un ralentissement économique où seule la nomenklatura, une petite caste de privilégiés, tire son épingle du jeu."
    "...a sluggish economy where only the nomenklatura, the small elite caste of the privileged, came out on top."

    Hope that helps!
     
  50. franc 91 Senior Member

    France
    English - GB
    In a more general sense, I suggest - he/she/they managed to get away with it (without getting caught out/found out)
     

Share This Page