entre quatre yeux

Ljubodrag Gráthas

Senior Member
Serbia Serbian (native), English, Irish (Gaeilge)
Would would be the IDIOMATIC translation of this phrase? All I can think of is something vague like "between us" "confidentially" etc. We have exactly the same phrase in Serbian, and I can't think of anything appropriate in English

thank yous
 
  • Jabote

    Senior Member
    French from France
    One on one maybe ? Face to face ? Ljubograd I think it would help us help you if you gave the whole sentence, as there could be various translations without a context...
     

    Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    [...]

    one on one would be my translation of entre quatre yeux although its just not as cool :/
     
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    Jabote

    Senior Member
    French from France
    Benjy said:
    one on one would be my translation of entre quatre yeux although its just not as cool :/

    I agree with you benjy... but for lack of anything else I can think of I think it would be OK. I also thought of "between you and me and the lamppost..."
     

    rayb

    Senior Member
    Chile - Spanish
    Jabote said:
    One on one maybe ? Face to face ? Ljubograd I think it would help us help you if you gave the whole sentence, as there could be various translations without a context...

    In fact, it should be precised if the context of the sentence corresponds to "prendre entre quatre yeux" ou à "avoir entre quqtre yeux". In the first case, one or one, face to face, front to front, man/woman to man/woman, father/mother to child, etc are IMO perfect. In the second case, to look closely, like a judge or a policeman, would be perhaps better solutions.
     

    Ljubodrag Gráthas

    Senior Member
    Serbia Serbian (native), English, Irish (Gaeilge)
    My name is Ljubodrag, not Ljubograd. Grad means "town, city" in my language, and I assure you I'm not that big :)

    Unfortunately, I found it just like that, no examples, just three words.

    In my language this phrase (u četiri oka, lit. in four eyes) means "do something (or usually have a conversation) very privately or hush-hush, just between two individuals (with a grand total sum of four eyes being present)". Is it the same in French?
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    Yes, but it may also mean "a serious face to face explanation", as Jean-Michel said. The idea is more like not being influenced by others while talking to someone (possibly to tell him unpleasant things).
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hi Ljubodrag,

    Other than what's been suggested, the only expression I can think of is, "Let's keep it between us," meaning the secret is to be kept between the two people. In reference to top-secret documents, there's "For your eyes only" often shortened to "Eyes only."
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    generally, entre quat'z'yeux (because it's pronounced with an improper liaison), means what jeanmichel has explained. it has an undertone of 'setting things square between you and me'.

    a problem that is being dealt with, just between two people, and then once the meeting's over, the problem is solved, or on the way to being solved. at least the two persons have spoken their mind freely. 'je vais le prendre entre quat'z'yeux et lui dire ses quatre vérités à celui-là'.


    what you and la grive suggest, hushhush, intimacy, secrecy, is not often implied by 'entre quat'z'yeux'. in that case, you better use 'entre toi et moi' or 'entre nous'. 'entre toi et moi/entre nous, il faut que je te dise quelque chose, j'ai couché avec la soeur de bernard mais tu ne luis dis pas hein ?'
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    "Entre quatre yeux" is a hypercorrection, a mistake, in other words.

    Just try saying it aloud and you'll see what I mean - Jean-Michel, ça te changera de tes mille pâtes et pattes ;) - as Fetchez pointed out it is entre quat'z'yeux.

    It's a stock phrase that can't be changed to fit the syntax and that's the way it is spelled in various dictionaries.
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    By the way, the example given by rayb is "on va avoir une explication avec quelqu'un, mais on devrait l'avoir entre quatre yeux".

    Here "avoir entre quatre yeux" is not a standalone construct, just the equivalent of "avoir [une explication] entre quatre yeux" ("l" stands for "une explication").

    Peace & love :)
     

    Ljubodrag Gráthas

    Senior Member
    Serbia Serbian (native), English, Irish (Gaeilge)
    Now I’m starting to feel rather dizzy with this pronunciation with liaison, as fetchezlavache was so kind to point out. “entre quat’z’yeux” A-hum. I see. Yes… No, actually, I don’t. I’m not questioning the validity of your answer, far from it, I’m just wondering how it would be pronounced! (By the way, even to the total beginner like me, “entre quatre yeux” said aloud sounds like something is missing).

    What happened to the sound /r/ in quatre? If you say /tz/ very fast you actually get one very rare sound I think Italian has. (and Macedonian, but I’m sure you are not familiar with the latter language, as sadly I’m not with the Italian)

    So, let me try my luck and use the IPA, which I cordially recommend to you all:

    Is it pronounced /atr katrzjø/ or /atr katzjø/?



    I’m quite happy with the explanations of meaning I received from you fine people and I’m very thankful. This forum is indeed a wonderful place!
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    le chat noir said:
    By the way, the example given by rayb is "on va avoir une explication avec quelqu'un, mais on devrait l'avoir entre quatre yeux".

    Here "avoir entre quatre yeux" is not a standalone construct, just the equivalent of "avoir [une explication] entre quatre yeux" ("l" stands for "une explication").

    Peace & love :)

    i don't think rayb's second interpretation is valid at all.
    In the second case, to look closely, like a judge or a policeman, would be perhaps better solutions
    is what he said. i'm sorry to say that 'entre quat'z'yeux' doesn't mean at all 'to watch closely, to have under surveillance'.

    :(
     

    fetchezlavache

    Senior Member
    france
    Ljubodrag Gráthas said:
    What happened to the sound /r/ in quatre?

    Is it pronounced /atr katrzjø/ or /atr katzjø/?

    [...]

    I’m quite happy with the explanations of meaning I received from you fine people and I’m very thankful. This forum is indeed a wonderful place!

    ljubograd, it's pronounced without the 'r'. :eek: :thumbsup:

    almost like 'cat'.
     
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    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hi Ljubodrag,

    Just wondering... Are you trying to find an idiomatic expression for "entre quatre yeux" in English or in French--or both? :confused:
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Ljubodrag Gráthas said:
    So, let me try my luck and use the IPA, which I cordially recommend to you all:

    Is it pronounced /atr katrzjø/ or /atr katzjø/?
    Sorry, I've not understood yet how to type using the IPA.
    So the right solution is the second one. But you usually add a sound between the "r" and the "k", so that the "e" in "entre" be sounded., i.e. entreukatzieu.
    Otherwise, it's almost unpronouceable. Of course you could even find entkatzieu, but rarely.
    Phew! I wish I knew how to use this phonetic alphabet!

    PS : of course, this pronouciation is faulty according to the standard rules. But the expression is only used this way. It's sold with its faulty pronouciation : it's a package :)
     

    kiolbassa

    Senior Member
    English
    Ljubodrag Gráthas said:
    Would would be the IDIOMATIC translation of this phrase? All I can think of is something vague like "between us" "confidentially" etc. We have exactly the same phrase in Serbian, and I can't think of anything appropriate in English

    thank yous

    phew! this thread has been there and back!

    Ljubodrag,
    (had you known would you still have asked your question? :confused: )

    If you don't like "one on one" or any of the other suggestions, why not simply "in private" (let's talk in private/may I see you in private). The only similar expression I can think of using the word "eyes" in English is:
    to see eye to eye/seeing eye to eye
    but it has a quite different meaning (=being in perfect agreement/on the same wave length as s.o. on a particular subject).
     

    Ljubodrag Gráthas

    Senior Member
    Serbia Serbian (native), English, Irish (Gaeilge)
    fetchezlavache said:
    ljubograd, it's pronounced without the 'r'. :eek: :thumbsup:

    almost like 'cat'.

    Thank you, I understand now

    la grive solitaire said:
    Just wondering... Are you trying to find an idiomatic expression for "entre quatre yeux" in English or in French--or both? :confused:

    Hi,

    in English and to get a good description of how it's used in French. And I'm not doing badly... :)
     
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    Jagorr

    Senior Member
    Russian, Belarusian
    Est-ce que "(se) prendre entre quatre yeux" signifie discuter une chose peu agréable tête-à-tête ?
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Of course it depends on the context but I think 'Let's talk (about it) in private', as kiolbassa suggests, is what many British people would say. I think I'd probably say 'Let's talk about this, just the two of us' in many contexts.
     

    joelooc

    Senior Member
    French (Provence)
    Actually I think it means no witnesses are welcome to this conversation, in case pushing came to shoving and shoving to thrusting and thrusting to killing.
    :)Just another interpretation.
     
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