"Botus et mouche cousue"

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lyrwriter

Senior Member
English (US)
Salut!:D

I'm having difficulty translating the above phrase. The sentence that contains it reads:

"Vous le savez, botus et mouche cousue, telle est notre devise."
You know it, ___________?___________, that's our motto.:D

Some of you francophones may be familiar with the phrase;) ; it's from the famous Tintin comics, by Herge. As a fan of the books in English, I was curious to read them in their original language, and with the help of a dictionary, I can understand about 90-95% of what I read. This phrase, however, stumped me:(, and I can't remember how it's translated in the English version, although I know the last bit of the sentence is "that's our motto" in the English books. It is possible that I'm simply misreading it (the sentence is hand-written), but I think "botus et mouche cousue" is right. WordReference wasn't much help on this. And my own knowledge is confusing me---doesn't "mouche" mean "fly"? In the English version, the most common of the Thompson's (les Duponts) many mottos is "Mum's the word," but that has nothing to do with flies, so I assume "botus et mouche cousue" is colloquial.

Any thoughts?

Merci d'avance...:)

P.S. If you're curious about specifics, the phrase appears in the second-to-last panel on page 51 of Le Temple du Soleil.;)
 
  • zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    Here, the letters b and m have been switched ('botus* et mouche cousue') to create a semi-spoonerism on 'motus et bouche cousue'**, originally I would imagine with a view to make the Duponts sound even stupider !

    *Doesn't mean anything
    **Mum's the word/keep stum
     

    lyrwriter

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Ah, yes!;) Merci, je comprends maintenant.:D They (the Thompsons/les Duponts) have a tendency to switch initial consonants in the English version as well, it just never occurred to me that that might be the reason WordReference was no help on this, lol.:)

    Merci encore!:D
     
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