entre quatre z'yeux

englishman

Senior Member
English England
Could someone please explain to me the meaning of the phrase in the title, given the following:

"Avant deux mois, j'espere la tenir dans mon bureau, entre quatre z'yeux"

I have absolutely no idea what it could mean.

Thanks.
 
  • englishman

    Senior Member
    English England
    Try the thread of this forum "entre quatre yeux" (April 26th 2005). Looks useful!

    Thanks, it's more than useful. It looks like in this context, it simply means "confidentially, between you and me", or something along those lines.

    I don't quite understand where the "z'yeux" comes from though. Someone said it's due to an improper liaison, but I'm not sure what that means - a liaison that's used colloquially but is strictly incorrect, maybe ?
     

    jhemono

    New Member
    "Entre quatre z'yeux" is an expression meaning "face to face" or "vis-à-vis" (look like it is used in enlish) but the nasty way.
    In fact when you're face to face, there is your two eyes ad the two eyes of the other person so there is four eyes and you square up with the person.
    The " z' " mark how you say that because it's not easy to say "quatre yeux" and in fact we say "cat z'yeux" the 'r' in "quatre' isn't pronounced.
    (PS : Yes it's an improper liaison : we shouldn't write down liaisons )
     

    zazap

    Senior Member
    Canada, French and English
    The singular form of yeux is oeil. So we mostly use the word "yeux" with the plural articles "les" or "des" or with "deux", 2 being the most common number of eyes to have. We do a liaison with all these words and yeux, so yeux sounds like zieux. As a consequence, we got used to pronouncing it zieux, even though the preceding word doesn't end in S or X, as is the case of quatre. I don't know if this liaison is improper, but I would never say 4 yeux without it... Hope this helps
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    It looks like in this context, it simply means "confidentially, between you and me", or something along those lines.

    Behind closed doors (i.e., where you can say exactly what you think)
     

    englishman

    Senior Member
    English England
    It looks like in this context, it simply means "confidentially, between you and me", or something along those lines.

    Behind closed doors (i.e., where you can say exactly what you think)

    OK. So the original phrase means something like:

    "Before two months are up, I hope to have her in my office, just the two of us" ?
     

    nhat

    Senior Member
    france
    In 2 months' time , I hope to have a private moment with her in my office
    (hope it doesn't sound too erotic hihi)
     

    Haghenschlapfter

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    So although it would be most proper to write down "quatre yeux" (although most common to write "quatre z'yeux"), it would be IMproper to pronounce it without the liaison, even though it isn't there, right? so, "yeux" (because of it's most common associations with des, les and deux) is ALWAYS pronounced z'yeux. Right?
     

    Haghenschlapfter

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    And, regarding the phrase, we could then say "Entre quatre z'yeux, leur bébé est vraiment moche." Like "Just between you and me, their baby is really ugly..." or does it generally have a more professional connotation like "Entre quatre z'yeux, je pense qu'il va démissionner."
     
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