conte à dormir debout

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by JDnCoke, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. JDnCoke Member

    Perfidious Albion
    British English
    I found this in a literary criticism article on Balzac, translating it literally of course may help but I wonder if there is an English equivalent?

  2. Pristie Member

    French - France
    I think it's that : Tale to sleep up
  3. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
    I don't know how it was used in that article but a more common expression is "une histoire à dormir debout" (= a cock-and-bull story)
  4. aliseb Member

    Near Rouen, France
    English - American
    I like that one, Donaldos. Pristie, I'm afraid "a tale to sleep up" isn't English.
  5. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    I believe that this is the definition which I learned from Dr. Capretz (French in Action :idea:). I think that we, Yanks, would more likely say: a tall tale :)
  6. Pristie Member

    French - France
    sorry, I compare too much English with French :p
  7. aliseb Member

    Near Rouen, France
    English - American
    David314, true about us Yanks and tall tales, but don't you just love the saying "cock-and-bull-story"? Fantastic Brits!
  8. tygwyn Member

    UK English (native)
    for une histoire/un conte à dormir debout
    how about :

    it's a load of codswallop - I think it's British rather than AE, slangy

    or a tissue of lies - this expression is a bit more recherché, but you still see it in newspaper articles and elsewhere.
  9. JDnCoke Member

    Perfidious Albion
    British English
    A tissue of lies? I've never heard of such an expression, perhaps a pack of lies. Very interesting.

    Thank you all, Mr. Johnson's article now makes just a little bit more sense...
  10. melu85 Senior Member

    how about nonsensical?
  11. eikahn Member

    We have something similar in french (un tissus de mensonges) but it's a little bit different from the first expression which means that the story doesn't make much sense.

    I wouldn't really use "a tissue of lies" in that case, it implies that everything in the story is a lie. The story can be a little bit weird but isn't obligatorily all lie...

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