cut off your nose to spite your face

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by murf123, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. murf123 Member

    usa, english
    MODERATOR NOTE: This thread combines several existing threads on the same topic.
    NOTE DE LA MODÉRATION : Ce fil fusionné comprend plusieurs fils existants au même thème.


    Can anyone in WR-land help me out? This refers to someone who cannot (or who is unwilling to) see the consequences of short-term, urgent decisions. Merci d'avance! murf123
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2011
  2. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    Here's one:
    scier la branche sur la laquelle on est assis, par dépit (Harper Collins Robert)
  3. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    se punir soi-même
  4. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    I'd also like to add that (in my idiolect at least) cut off your nose etc etc means doing something to hurt someone else even if it means hurting yourself, which seems to be backed up by the translation provided by beth.
  5. geve

    geve Senior Member

    France, Paris
    France, French
    That's also what I've read on the web. But the French "scier la branche sur laquelle on est assis" does not say that you're doing it as an act of anger or revenge... It says that you're ruining your own comfort/means of existence/etc. but it doesn't say for what reason. You might just be acting foolishly, without realizing the consequences of your actions.

    I can't think of an expression that would convey this idea of hurting oneself when trying to hurt someone else, apart from edwingill's solution which is good but lacks a bit of color compared to the English!
  6. livvie Senior Member

    Gibraltar, English

    Does anyone know the French equivalent of this expression?

    I have tried explaining the expression to my French friends but they never come up with a French alternative, and I think they find 'cutting off your nose to spite your face' quite a silly thing to do!!

    Explications :
    "to hurt yourself in an effort to punish someone else, even if the person who loses the most is yourself"
    "to do something because you are angry, even if it will cause trouble for you"
    "Disadvantage yourself in order to do harm to an adversary." (NB: not necessarily physical harm)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  7. dewsy Senior Member

    England, english

    I have heard "scier la branche sur laquelle on est assise" which is another silly thing to do.
  8. Agent Literary

    Agent Literary Senior Member

    Paris, France
    England, English
    I'm pretty sure the English expression is "cutting off your nose to spite your face".

    Not a clue for the French equivalent though!
  9. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    "se punir soi-même"
  10. livvie Senior Member

    Gibraltar, English
    Thanks edwingill. For me this is exactly the sense of the expression, doesn't have the 'charm' of the English version though does it!:D
  11. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    On dit parfois Se tirer une balle dans le pied, mais c'est ambigu parce que ça pourrait être purement accidentel.
  12. carog Senior Member

    England - Hampshire
    French - France
    on peut dire aussi "Le piège se referme sur soi-même"
  13. carog Senior Member

    England - Hampshire
    French - France
    Je pensais aussi à l'expression "le retour de bâton"?
  14. wildeline

    wildeline Senior Member

    "être pris à son propre piège".

    J'ai le sentiment qu'il existe une meilleure expression.
  15. mioute Senior Member

    French - France
    "tel est pris qui croyait prendre" ? (but not related to being angry)
  16. mioute Senior Member

    French - France
  17. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    English - Scotland
    The WR dictionary lists the translation as "se punir soi-même", but it's a little more complicated than that. It's usually used when you do something apparently to punish someone else, but the effect is greater on you than on them - you are therefore punishing yourself for no good reason.
  18. Chesterwings New Member

    Hi, i was just thinking about:" la colère est mauvaise conseillère." It means that hanger won't help you to take the right decision.
  19. Tibello

    Tibello Senior Member

    Je sais que j'arrive très tard, mais est-ce que l'expression "chercher des bâtons pour se faire battre" ne conviendrait pas ?
  20. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    English - Scotland
    Pas vraiment - cela correspond à une autre expression en anglais (to make a rod for your own back).
  21. Tibello

    Tibello Senior Member

    Je connais cette expression anglaise, Glasquensis, mais je pensais plutôt à l'esprit de la citation en référence... Et si j'ai tort, pardon ! :)
  22. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    English - Scotland
    Voici un exemple de "cutting off your nose to spite your face"

    Un enfant veut une glace - il fait tout une histoire et finalement ses parents craquent. On lui demande quel parfum. En réalité il aime bien tous les parfums, mais il choisit une glace au chocolat. Et là, pas de bol, il n'y en a plus. Vexé, il déclare ne plus vouloir une glace.

    Ceci pour illustrer qu'il fait quelque chose dans sa colère comme si c'était un acte contre les gens qui lui privent d'une glace, sauf que c'est lui le seul impacté.
  23. Tibello

    Tibello Senior Member

    Ok Glasguensis, et merci de l'explication !
    Bon ouiquende...
  24. Aiguebelette Member

    France, French
    How about: "boire du poison (soi-même) en voulant tuer (son) ennemi"?
    I am not sure that it is an idiom in French, but I have read it somewhere.
  25. OLN

    OLN Senior Member

    French - France, ♀
    L'origine semble latine : "Male ulciscitur dedecus sibi illatum, qui amputat nasum suum".
    Voir aussi le poème page 102 ici.

Share This Page