les gros bras ne font pas les malins

EmmaWK

Member
English, Mandarin
What does this sentence mean? As seen here under the title using the above expression. I scanned the article but am still not sure what it means. I know from these forums that "faire le malin" roughly means "to do something self-perceived as clever," so if I had to translate this, I would say, "Strength does not make one wise." And I would probably be wrong.
 
  • EmmaWK

    Member
    English, Mandarin
    Hmmm, to me there's a slight difference between "might makes right" and the French expression, but I'm not really sure I can explain it. I will try: To me, "might makes right" implies an abuse of power, but "les gros bras ne font pas les malins" makes it sound like the person is relying on strength rather than wiles, but in a situation that actually results in a disadvantage.

    .... does that make sense? And am I right?
     

    EmmaWK

    Member
    English, Mandarin
    Ah, that makes more sense, thanks. Though I wonder why they are called that?? (I know nothing about rugby.)
     

    Magonette

    Senior Member
    French
    Hello everybody :

    1) Gros bras : In the link provided by Itsi, I don't think that "gros bras" refers to the players, but to the teams themselves. In addition to the meanings already given above, "les gros bras" can also designate "the heavyweights, the favorites, the ones that will count" in a competition.

    2) Faire le malin : the meaning is not limited to "to do something self-perceived as clever", it has somehow "drifted" to designate somebody "showing off"; synonyms are "pavoiser, crâner, paonner (spread your tail like a peacock), plastronner". (as pointed out by Itsi)

    If I listen to my "gut feeling", I would say that the title says that the favourite teams of the competition are having a hard time and can't be very proud of their disappointing performance.
     

    Magonette

    Senior Member
    French
    The following article of Reuters might shed some light upon the meaning of the title of this topic (article of "Le Monde.fr, avec Reuters et AFP").

    Rugby: les favoris gagnent mais souffrent au Mondial

    http://fr.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idFRPAE78A07M20110911

    I recommend the reading of the first paragraph : Les grandes nations du rugby .....

    "Les favoris" = les gros bras - "souffrent" = ne font pas les malins.
     
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