A bit down in the mouth


Senior Member
Bonjour à tous,
Voici la phrase qui me pose problème (dialogue d'un dessin animé):

I thought I was alone. Figured I'd take the opportunity to have a thorough housecleaning. You seem a bit down in the mouth.

Ma traduction:

Je pensais que j'étais seul. J'ai pensé que j'allais saisir l'occasion pour nettoyer la maison à fond. Tu as l'air triste?

Qu'en pensez-vous?
Merci d'avance pour votre aide
  • Merpero

    Senior Member
    English-United Kingdom
    Les suggestions au dessus sont bonnes. Fondamentalement, "down in the mouth" veut dire "triste" ou "déprimé", mais bien sûr il y a de diverses manières poétiques de décrire la tristesse, comme au dessus!

    Aussi loin que je sache, on ne peut qu'utiliser cette expression "down in the mouth" en parlant de l'apparence de quelqu'un. Par exemple, on ne peut pas dire: "You are down in the mouth".

    Mais on peut dire "You look down in the mouth" ou "You seem down in the mouth".

    I think I am right about this, that you can only use down in the mouth when you are referring to somebody's appearance of sadness. If any anglophones know better, hopefully they will let us know!

    I suppose that this idiom refers to the shape of the mouth when one is sad, that is, turned down at the corners.

    Je n'arrive pas a traduire en francais "the mouth is turned down at the corners!"


    Senior Member
    US - American English
    For "down in the mouth" the OED gives, not 'sad' but "dejected, dispirited," which is more how I understand the phrase. I'd have suggested "beaten, defeated" but seems close.

    That's why I offered avoir l'air abattu. Certainly there are other options.

    (And yes, it's normal enough, in AE at least, to say "Be nice to Joe, he's a bit down in the mouth today." One can 'be' or 'seem' down in the mouth.)


    Senior Member
    Canada; English
    DOWN IN THE MOUTH - "Glum; dispirited. It's the way one looks when the corners of one's mouth are turned down in disheartenment or disappointment. Bishop Joseph Hall used it in 1649 in one of his many works." From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985). Page 70.


    Senior Member
    Français, Québec ♀
    Hum... I don't think so Wildan. Désabusé means to have lost one's illusions (I'm literally translating avoir perdu ses illusions - not sure if it's right). Can the expression mean that too? Were you may be thinking of démoralisé?

    Other than être triste / abattu, the Robert & Collins suggests : avoir le moral à zéro to translate to be down in the mouth

    And they add avoir l'air, to translate to look down in the mouth. With added option of faire une sale tête.

    A Quebec expression that I find cute (but it's not getting any younger) is : On dirait que t'as /as-tu perdu un pain de ta fournée. :p
    Quand quelqu'un arrivait la mine basse parce qu'il était triste ou contrarié, mon grand-père lui demandait : « As-tu perdu un pain de ta fournée? »
    Something to do with bakers, I guess.
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