ne pas savoir où se mettre

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Anna K, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Anna K Senior Member

    French
    Bonjour a tous, je n'arrive pas a trouver de traduction adequate pour l'expression "ne pas savoir ou se mettre" qui se trouve dans une autobiographie (source: "On ne savait pas où se mettre"). Comment puis-je exprimer cela en anglais?
    Merci d'avance!

    Note de modération : Cette discussion comprend plusieurs discussions précédentes.
    Moderator note: This discussion includes several previous discussions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2019
  2. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    One didn't know what to do with oneself?

    The proper expression would depend on the context. What caused this uncertainty?
     
  3. Schmorgluck Senior Member

    Nantes, France
    French - France
    Embarrasment, most of the time. It's mostly employed when you'd say "I'd like the floor to open up and swallow me."
     
  4. archijacq Senior Member

    Albi
    french France
    "didn't know where to put himself" is a common occurrence
     
  5. hal 2001 Banned

    Russian - Russia
    Oh là là ! J'étais tellement gêné que je ne savais pas où me mettre. J'ai invité la jeune fille à boire un verre à côté, pour m'excuser.

    What does "je ne savais pas où me mettre" mean? "I didn't know where to..."?
     
  6. Jim in Phila Senior Member

    American English
    In a state of embarrassment, it means I didn't know which way to turn.
     
  7. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    It's the same in English: I didn't know where to put myself.

    As for 'se mettre' re the initial post :

    se mettre à [qch] v pron (se convertir à [qch], adopter une idée) (activity, idea) take [sth] up vtr phrasal sep
    (informal) get into [sth] vtr phrasal insep (activity) start doing [sth] v expr
    Elle s'est mise à la course à pied pour entretenir sa forme. Il s'est mis au végétarisme par compassion pour les animaux.
    She started running to keep in shape.

    But the suggestion at #4 was just right for that particular context.
     
  8. hal 2001 Banned

    Russian - Russia
    Er, what does "I didn't know where to put myself." mean? :)
     
  9. analect Senior Member

    English - United States
    @hal 2001, I don't think I've ever actually heard that phrase before. Given some context, I could probably guess that the writer intends a state of embarrassed confusion, but the phrase is not in use to my knowledge in US English.

    [...]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2019
  10. Itisi

    Itisi Senior Member

    Paris/Hastings UK
    English UK/French
    not know where to put (oneself)
    To feel particularly awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassed. My father-in-law's speech was so cringeworthy that I didn't know where to put myself.

    not know where to put yourself
    feel deeply embarrassed. informal
    1986 Robert Sproat Stunning the Punters He was begging and pleading with me…with tears rolling down his cheeks so I didn't know where to put myself.

    not know where to put yourself
    informal
    feel very embarrassed:
    And then he started to sing. Well, I didn't know where to put myself.
     
  11. hal 2001 Banned

    Russian - Russia
    Thanks, itisi. I'm surprised none of my French dictionaries give "to feel embarassed" as a meaning for "ne pas savoir où se mettre".
     

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