Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by lizzie chen, May 2, 2005.

  1. lizzie chen Member

    China Chinese
    hi there,
    what's the exact meaning of this saying? does it mean "the more things chage, the more they remain the same"? does it indicate other meanings?
    and under what kind of circumstances could it be used?

    i'll appreciate your help. thank you in advance.

  2. charlie2 Senior Member

    It means history repeats itself. There is a previous thread on that. It is here .
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2013
  3. DamonFarol New Member

    Santa Fe, NM
    A year later but what the heck ...
    Yes, that is the literal and common meaning of the phrase.
    The proper context is actually quite sophisticated. [Love those French]
    Consider, if you will, the circumstances before the French Revolution - a Dramatic Moment In History. After the Revolution - surprise, surprise - many of the injustices, outrages, problems - etc. were Still The Same.
    plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

    A woman is unhappy with her miserable husband.
    She discards him.
    Ah ... a new love. All will now be well.
    10 years later ...
    plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
  4. Flyliloo

    Flyliloo New Member

    perhapsthe best translation is: plus les choses changent plus elles sembles pareilles.
  5. Fredau

    Fredau Senior Member

    Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Canada - français
    Hello DamonFarol,

    On this side of the Atlantic, this version is the most used in the common language: plus ça change, plus c'est pareil...

  6. frenchyfries Member

    I'm reading a book that was written in the late 1970's by Agatha Christie.

    She uses the quote, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Plus c'est la même chose, plus ça change." to describe the changes in acient London.

    Does this quote have a historical meaning, or can it be translated literally?
  7. funnyhat Senior Member

    Michigan, USA
    American English
    I don't know where it came from, but that's a French expression that is actually very well known to English speakers. It can be literally translated into "The more things change, the more they stay the same," but often, writers don't even bother to do so, as they can appear more "refined" by using the French version.
  8. coolchick

    coolchick Senior Member

    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    English/French, Canada
    I second funnyhat.... the more things change, the more things stay the same...

    Very common expression meaning things never change! (they may appear to, but in reality they haven't).
  9. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    The complete expression plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose is quite common in French. There is no special meaning; it is simply a saying, equivalent to our "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2013
  10. 4EverLSU New Member

    English - Louisiana
    This is a very common way of saying in Cajun "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Its use is "nothing ever changes." French to be sure, but Cajuns weren't known for their grammar. This is a common expression I grew up around all my life.
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  11. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    It reminds me of one of King Solomons proverbs: There is nothing new under the sun. :)
  12. jbgusa New Member

    American English
    I am a serious history buff. To me it means that there may be a lot of seeming activity but very little in society changes. That is why it is hard to force democracy on many countries. Countries that were once mercantilist monarchies now think of themselves as "socialist." Basically old wine in new bottles.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2017
  13. Parigigi Senior Member

    France, French
    Not to mention The Leopard's "If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change"
  14. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Je ne sais pas si c'est un québécisme, mais moi je dis plutôt « plus ça change, plus c'est pareil ».
    En en anglais, j'aurais dit comme david314 (post 6).

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