An apple a day keeps the doctor away

cerulean the elf

New Member
English United States
Hello, I was wondering if someone could tell me how to say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" in French. My roommate and I came up with "une pomme garde le docteur absent," but we're not exactly sure. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you! :)

  • Tresley

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Cerulean the Elf,

    Welcome to Word Reference.

    The only expression that I know in French that is equivalent to this is as follows:

    "Un brouillon de chou fait perdre au médecin cinq sous"

    It means (rough translation)

    "Cabbage stock/soup makes the doctor lose five pennies (cents in your part of the world)"

    I hope this helps.


    Senior Member
    English, USA
    My French father-in-law used to add, "especially if you're a good shot" to this one.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    tresley - a schoolboy from Yorkshire once wrote "an appl a day keeps the doctor away" and his teacher said "there's an 'e' missing". So he corrected it to "eeee! an appl a day keeps the doctor away"


    Senior Member
    Canada, French and English
    My father is a francophone from Quebec, he eats an apple a day (for real), and he says:
    "Une pomme par jour éloigne le docteur pour toujours"
    I'm not sure if he made it up or what...


    Senior Member
    France, French
    I'm very glad to learn the possible follow-ups of the English proverb! :thumbsup: :D
    "Un brouillon de chou fait perdre au médecin cinq sous"
    Just a small correction: un bouillon de chou ;) I've never heard this expression, though. :)

    I like egueule's "Pomme du matin éloigne le médecin." I must say though that in my weird brain proverbs with apples make me think of the Mangez des pommes that was said recurrently by the Guignol's puppet featuring the current French president before he got elected (he was posing by an apple tree on the picture on his electoral posters)... It's probably just me. :eek:
    On a more modern note, there's Mangez cinq fruits et légumes par jours, one of the claims of the PNNS (programme national nutrition et santé). :rolleyes:

    I think the French equivalent of this idiom depends on what idea you want to convey. For a translation of the idea that apples are good for the health, I would go with Egueule's suggestion. For an idiomatic saying on the general idea that a healthy lifestyle is the key to avoid diseases (and the necessity of seeing a doctor) I think moonee's "mieux vaut prévenir que guérir" could do the trick.


    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    I think "Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir" is more like "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" or "A stitch in time saves nine".


    Senior Member
    English - British
    It's not a direct translation, but if anyone wants an option that avoids illness naturally, you could say "il vaut mieux aller au moulin qu'au médecin" - I.e. if you work (physically) then you keep yourself in good physical condition and won't need the doctor.
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