mi-figue mi-raisin

TheFlyingBanana

New Member
French (France)
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Bonjour,

Je cherche à traduire l'expression idiomatique francaise "(être) mi figue mi raisin"... Je pense à "to be stuck in the middle" ou "balanced" mais j'aimerais votre confirmation.
Merci d'avance,
J
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Hello,
I'd like to find an/the english equivalent for the French idiomatic expression "être mi figue mi raisin". I thought about "to be stuck in the middle". I'd like to have your feedback on this translation & your suggestions.
Thank you in advance,
J
 
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  • Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Bonjour TheFlyingBanana,
    Bienvenue sur le forum !

    Je donne la définition de l'expression française afin d'aider nos amis non francophones à trouver le bon équivalent :

    Loc. adj. Moitié figue, moitié raisin (vieilli), mi-figue mi-raisin (mod.). Ambigu, perplexe; moitié de gré, moitié de force; bien et mal; partie sérieusement, partie plaisantant.
    Je reste planté là, moitié figue, moitié raisin. Je rougis, je tousse, je me mouche, je porte la main à mon chapeau. Que faire, par le Styx! (MILOSZ, Amour. initiation, 1910, p. 125).
    Philip, moitié figue moitié raisin, lui avait posé la main sur le bras : « vous m'inquiétez, mon petit » (MARTIN DU G., Thib., Consult., 1928, p. 1106).
    - Une drôle de tête?
    - C'est difficile à te dire : mi-figue mi-raisin, plutôt. Ils ne savaient qu'en dire. Ça les changeait, tu comprends. Ça les désorientait de perdre de vue leurs roselières (GRACQ, Syrtes, 1951, p. 67).
    Source : TLFi

    Quelques exemples d'usage :
    Ici.

    Ici.

    ========

    Bien que familier, peut-être so-so pourrait-il donner une idée ?
     

    fruey

    Member
    Britain, English (but resident in France)
    You cannot really say "so-so" in most contexts, it's just an ambivalent feeling, like "comme çi comme ça".

    We say "sitting on the fence" when someone can't decide which opinion to follow, but that won't work for some cases.

    "Stuck in the middle" works as well, and we also say when a decision is difficult "between a rock and a hard place".

    In a sense more like "ni chaud ni froid" and "mi figue mi raison" there is probably a better answer. Like "unsure", "neither here nor there".

    The phrase I'd have the most difficulty with is
    Philip, moitié figue moitié raisin, lui avait posé la main sur le bras

    Philip, ______, put his hand on his arm

    - cooly
    - without conviction
    - ambivalently
    - with an ambiguous expression
    - half sincere

    -Fruey
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    fruey said:
    The phrase I'd have the most difficulty with is
    Philip, moitié figue moitié raisin, lui avait posé la main sur le bras

    Philip, ______, put his hand on his arm

    - cooly
    - without conviction
    - ambivalently
    - with an ambiguous expression
    - half sincere

    -Fruey
    I think it is the sense of half-seriously. :)
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    TheFlyingBanana, aussi à considérer pour cette jolie expression les termes/expressions suivants:

    - half-heartedly

    - tentatively (= hesitant or uncertain)

    - non-committally

    - lukewarm

    - neither one thing or another
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    S'il s'agit d'une choix entre deux decisions difficiles
    Il y a une phrase: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"

    please fix my messy french
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    petereid said:
    S'il s'agit d'une choix entre deux decisions difficiles
    Il y a une phrase: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"

    please fix my messy french
    Or the classical, "between Scylla and Charybdis."

    I think this is a different concept, however, although I would very much like to know the French equivalent for a horrible dilemma.
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    polaire said:
    Or the classical, "between Scylla and Charybdis."

    I think this is a different concept, however, although I would very much like to know the French equivalent for a horrible dilemma.
    = être pris entre le marteau et l'enclume
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    emma42 said:
    That changes the meaning then, if it's mi rather than ni.
    Well, the expression is translated in many places as neither one nor the other.
     

    matcop

    New Member
    french france
    Auriez vous une expression pour traduire cela? J'ai regardé dans 2 dico sans succes...

    Merci!
     

    Gil

    Senior Member
    Français, Canada
    Loc. adj. (1487 moitié figue, moitié raisin) MI-FIGUE, MI-RAISIN : qui présente une ambiguïté, par un mélange de satisfaction et de mécontentement, ou de sérieux et de plaisant (Þ mitigé). Il m'a fait un accueil mi-figue, mi-raisin.
    Source: Le Petit Robert
     

    pollyboffin

    Member
    English, UK
    The explanation provided by Gil reminds me of the opening lines of the novel "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens:

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...."

    (He is referring to the era of the French Revolution)
     

    matcop

    New Member
    french france
    merci de vos reponses, quand je parlais de dico je pensais en fait a des dictionnaires de traduction! Je connais l'expression en Francais, je cherchais juste un equivalent anglais.

    Not bad, not good, c'est dans l'idee mais n'y a t il rien d'autre?

    A bientot
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I guess it would depend on which aspect you were wishing to emphasize:

    "It was an ambivalent time..." is the most vague phrase I can come up with.

    "It was a time of mixed blessings..."
    "It was a time of opposites..."
    "It was a time of contrasts..."
    "It was a time of uncertainty..."
    "It was a time between times..."
    "It was a time on the cusp/apex/verge..."
    "It was a turning point in time..."

    It seems like there are many, many ways to express it, but nothing as general (that I can think of) as the French phrase.
     

    matcop

    New Member
    french france
    Great! Thanks a lot for the quick answer. I like this one: "It was a time between times..." (but using weather instead ;))

    Best

    ps: "the weather was so-so", is it really said sometimes?
     

    Kat LaQ

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Yes, you can say the weather was so-so.

    Although you would probably say "so-so" more often in other situations:
    How was the trip?
    How was the meeting?
    How was your date?
    All could be answered with "so-so".

    You could also say the weather was "not so hot" (and I don't mean temperature-wise) or "just OK" or even "comme ci comme ca"! Not as colorful as figs and grapes, I grant you.

    You might also have a look at this thread:[...]http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=164864
     
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    pollyboffin

    Member
    English, UK
    Does "the weather was changeable" fit?

    In the UK we are famed for our "changeable" weather where a day can start sunny and warm, with blue skies, and then change to be cold, windy or rainy in the afternoon.

    We would use it to perhaps describe the weather during a vacation when there were some good days, and some bad days.
     

    Fred_C

    Senior Member
    Français
    Bonjour. Il me semble que l'expression "mi-figue mi-raisin" ne peut pas s'appliquer au temps qu'il fait. Elle s'applique à l'humeur des gens. C'est d'ailleurs ce qui est indiqué dans la définition citée par GIL (réponse n° 3).
     

    Yul

    Senior Member
    Canada, French
    :thumbsup:
    Bonjour. Il me semble que l'expression "mi-figue mi-raisin" ne peut pas s'appliquer au temps qu'il fait. Elle s'applique à l'humeur des gens. C'est d'ailleurs ce qui est indiqué dans la définition citée par GIL (réponse n° 3).
    :thumbsup:
    Yul
     

    pollyboffin

    Member
    English, UK
    Mais oui - that was my original understanding, too. I believe my previous response (no. 4) fits the definition provided by Gil, as the Dickens quotation infers that that it was both a good and bad time for the people.

    However the later replies posted by egueule (no. 7), and matcop (no. 9) implied that the phrase was to do with the weather, so I thought I must have got it wrong.

    Perhaps if the full sentence/context of the phrase were provided it would be easier to make a more accurate translation, as I am now feeling a bit confused :confused:

    (ie does this mean that "mi-figue mi-raisin" can never be used to describe the weather, or just that it is not appropriate for this particular instance?)


    PS Pardonnez-moi pour avoir écrit la plupart de mes réponses en anglais - mon français est très rouillé(?) :eek:
     

    viera

    Senior Member
    English/French/Slovak
    I really don't see why you couldn't use "mi-figue mi-raisin" to describe the weather. Indeed I do occasionally hear it on TV weather forecasts, meaning a half-and-half kind of day: some sunshine, some cloud, perhaps a shower.
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    does this mean that "mi-figue mi-raisin" can never be used to describe the weather,
    I, for one, did not find it surprising in the slightest and I find it really easy to understand straight away. It's a very simple metaphor, just like when we say le temps est indécis, we are depicting the weather as if it had a will, a personality, which is obviously not the case.
    Mi figue mi raisin is synonymous with indécis.
    :)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Mais ici il s'agit de temps = weather, pas de temps = time, non ?
    I always get those two mixed up. How did you know it was about weather? Simply from experience? (Sigh) So much to learn.

    I sometimes hear the weather is "undecided", but pollyboffin's "changeable" is good if it's shifting from one type of weather to another.
     

    pollyboffin

    Member
    English, UK
    Merci beaucoup, viera et egueule, for the clarification. I am no longer confused :) and will be sure to impress the tutor of my French course by using the term "mi-figue mi-raisin" in one of my future essays!
     

    matcop

    New Member
    french france
    Pour aller dans le sens des precedentes reponses, je pense que la metaphore a tout a fait sa place.

    >fred c: dans la definition que donne GIL, il ne me semble pas que l'expression se limite a l'humeur des gens, preuve en est l'explemple qui suit cette definition

    Quoi qu'il en soit merce de vos reponses!

    ps: pendant que nous sommes en discussion avec le temps et l'humeur, je me demandais comment on qualifiait une personne dont l'humeur varie avec le temps (qu'il fait). Je me souviens meme plus en francais, est-ce que cyclothymique convient?
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Pour aller dans le sens des precedentes reponses, je pense que la metaphore a tout a fait sa place.

    >fred c: dans la definition que donne GIL, il ne me semble pas que l'expression se limite a l'humeur des gens, preuve en est l'explemple qui suit cette definition

    Quoi qu'il en soit merce de vos reponses!

    ps: pendant que nous sommes en discussion avec le temps et l'humeur, je me demandais comment on qualifiait une personne dont l'humeur varie avec le temps (qu'il fait). Je me souviens meme plus en francais, est-ce que cyclothymique convient?
    Non, cyclothymique signifie dont l'humeur varie de manière cyclique, en fait on dit souvent maniaco-dépressif, ces termes désignet des personnes qui alternent phases d'agitation maniaque et périodes d'abattement. Indépendemment du temps. Je ne connais pas le terme que tu cherches.
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    ps: pendant que nous sommes en discussion avec le temps et l'humeur, je me demandais comment on qualifiait une personne dont l'humeur varie avec le temps (qu'il fait). Je me souviens meme plus en francais, est-ce que cyclothymique convient?
    Ce n’est pas vraiment trop ça mais peut-être penses-tu au Désordre Affectif Saisonnier (S.A.D en anglais), une condition qui, l’hiver venu, touche jusqu’à 5-10% de la population dans nos pays.
     

    jobes

    New Member
    English, UK
    An equivalent Enlgish metaphor might be 'it is a curate's egg' ("l'oeuf du vicaire" en francais?) The curate's egg is proverbially 'good in parts' - although I've no idea why!

    However, one wouldn't use it about the weather - English weather is always mi-figue mi-raisin!
     

    nolanjnt

    Senior Member
    IRELAND ENGLISH
    Context:

    il est couvert de notes de rendez-vous avec des médicins, constate Olle, mi-figure, mi-raisin.


    In this context does 'mi-figue, mi-raisin mean " half in jest, half in ernest"?
     

    Babafinn

    New Member
    Danish
    It is not possible to answer FlyingBanana's question without knowing the contexts at mi-figue mi-raisin has different meanings in different contexts. The quotation from Martin du Gard continues: « vous m'inquiétez, mon petit; vous vous intéressez de plus en plus à la mentalité de vos malades, et de moins en moins à leur maladies! ». Here we may interpret either as half serious, half joking or half amused, half worried. (Philip is a senior doctor talking to his young and promising assistant.)
     
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