veiller au grain

snorrs

Member
USA, English
Does this mean to be wary of sketchy characters, or people who are a bad influence? The context is a father who is protective of his daughter.
 
  • robzuck

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    could "grain" here mean the english 'grain' as in 'wheat', and the expression be the equivalent of "mind your p's and q's" (pints and quarts), altogether meaning, "keep your eye on things to ensure nothing is amiss"?
     

    Jeanbar

    Senior Member
    France
    Not quite. 'Grain' here means heavy rain + ('grelons' = hail). It is an expression used by sailors.
     

    marquis

    Member
    Canada; English
    Other suggestions: "to keep an eye open for trouble/problems"; or "to look out for squalls" (more recherché!).

    I just translated it as "to watch for trouble".
     

    Topsie

    Senior Member
    English-UK
    could "grain" here mean the english 'grain' as in 'wheat', and the expression be the equivalent of "mind your p's and q's" (pints and quarts), altogether meaning, "keep your eye on things to ensure nothing is amiss"?
    I always thought that "Ps & Qs" were "please and thank-you(s)"!
     

    robzuck

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    topsie, re: 'Ps & Qs', "please and thank-you" is new to me, (altho that wouldn't be a first) - maybe a good thing to check out in the OED
     

    Angle O'Phial

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The OED has a lot to say on the etymology of "p's and q's" but pleases and thank-yous is ruled out, and pints and quarts "can be neither substantiated nor dismissed".
     

    Bunnicula

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If "veiller au grain" is a marine expression, the English "keep a weather eye out" might be be is some situations.
     
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