Come hell or high water

Harry Batt

Senior Member
USA English
Is there a French equivalent to "Come Hell or High Water?" IN Word Detective the etiology of this phrase was discussed. It means "no matterr what happens" as in "I am going to learn French come Hell or high water."
 
  • jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    It means exactly, Come Hell or high water.
    I don't mean to be difficult, but I'm not sure how you you can say that quoi qu'il arrive means "exactly" 'come Hell or high water.' A more literal (and perfectly reasonable) translation of the French expression would be "come what may." Of course, it's all pretty much equivalent in meaning; only the register differs. ;)
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If Come Hell or High water doesn't mean what my authority says it means; viz., "One slightly surprising fact about "come hell or high water," meaning "no matter what happens" . . . and if "no matter what happens" doesn't mean "come what may" I'll eat my hat. My authority is Word Detective. I'll bet my Word Detective against your being difficult and if I win you can eat my hat.
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    hi Harry :D

    I'm afraid we're misunderstanding each other. :) As I said above, "it's all pretty much equivalent in meaning; only the register changes." Of course "come Hell or high water" means "no matter what happens" which also means "come what may." On that point, we are in complete agreement.

    But since we often end up dealing in nuance here on Fr-En, I originally thought you were looking for a slightly informal, emphatic, idiomatic French expression with imagery... something that was less "everyday" than quoi qu'il arrive, which (in terms of register and imagery) is more parallel to "come what may" or "no matter what happens" than it is to "come Hell or high water."

    Then I understood that you didn't need such a level of detail... but when you said the French expression meant "exactly" the same thing as the English one, I thought it might be worth noting that the English one is actually a bit more casual... just for the benefit of anyone else who might come along and read the thread looking for more nuance.

    I know that kind of nitpicking can be annoying... but I didn't do it to be difficult. :)
     

    Punky Zoé

    Senior Member
    Pau
    France - français
    I thought of something more colourful, in the same vein as your expression, like "contre vents et marées" but that conveys an idea of struggling I don't feel in your English idiom. Am I right?
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    I like contre vents et marées :)

    Of the three English expressions discussed above, "come Hell..." is the one that conveys a little struggle compared to the others. This is particularly the case because we almost always use it for things that haven't happened yet:

    I'll do it come Hell or high water > je le ferai contre vents et marées.

    But in the reverse direction, I think this French expression can also be used for past events, and then we will chose a different translation (that conveys the struggle more explicitly):

    Ils l'ont fait contre vents et marées > They did it against all odds.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Tousen tak! A thousand thanks. I was afraid that I was either going to have to conduct a sondage concerning the meaning of come what may or meet some bucco at dawn with baguettes at 20 paces. Ravi de faire votre connaisance.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Punky while Come Hell or High Water without context doesn't convey struggling, there is often struggling in certain contexts which would make "contre vent etc'" an acceptable synonym expression. Eg. "We are going to get this fire under control come hell or high water, " the Fire Chief said to his crew.
     

    hirondelled'hiver

    Senior Member
    Un type veut donner une leçon à un groupe de personnes responsables d'un accident ayant provoqué l'invalidité de sa femme. Il dit "je suis peut-être un salopard..." "but come hell or high water, they're gonna know what it's like to be a cripple".

    Je ne trouve pas que les propositions de la discussion déjà créée correspondent à cet exemple (contre vents et marées, coûte que coûte, etc...).
    Je comprends que l'idée, c'est qu'ils vont comprendre ce que c'est que d'être handicapé, même si c'est par la manière forte, mais je n'arrive pas à trouver l'expression juste en français....
     

    DaiWales

    Member
    British English
    Oui, c'est une expression 'figée' , plutôt americaine je crois, lit "vient l'enfer ou les marées hautes" c'est à dire n'importe les obstacles....

    mais pour une equivalent en français ......
     

    catheng

    Senior Member
    France; Français
    quoiqu'il arrive .....
    qd bien même le diable y serait ...
    (...)
     
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