Visage en lame de couteau

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by vegangirl, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. vegangirl Banned

    France french

    Comment dit-on "Keiran a le visage en lame de couteau" en anglais ?

    Je propose : Keiran has the face in knife blade.


    La phrase « avoir un visage en lame de couteau » est une expression. Cela veut dire que le visage de quelqu’un est très allongé et mince.

  2. Pinktiger

    Pinktiger New Member

    Bristol UK
    English - England
    On pourrait dire: "Keiran has an angular face."

    Ce n'est pas poetique comme le francais! Il n'y a pas une expression en anglais avec "knife-blade" comme ca. J'espere que c'est utile!
  3. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France
  4. CDHMontpellier

    CDHMontpellier Senior Member

    Bristol, UK
    Yes, "hatchet-faced".
  5. Teafrog

    Teafrog Senior Member

    UK English (& rusty French…)
    very good :tick:, if you want to soften this: angular face (c.f. Pinktiger)
  6. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    I am translating the same expression and think that I will opt for the metaphorical image: "finely chiselled features" or possibly "clear-cut features". Hope this helps someone.

    I have never heard of "hatchet-faced" but it seems quite an ugly image (the opposite of what is implied), and as for "face in knife blade", to me this just sounds as though he has been disfigured due to an accident!
  7. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    Which you use depends on the context. It's rather like "I am strong minded"/"You are stubborn"/"He is pig-headed".
  8. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    Interesting: I have now found these two definitions of hatchet-faced:

    An unfortunate man or woman whose face seems to be collapsing inward from a blow to the face possibly caused by a hatchet. Commonly unattractive, these people attempt to give their lives meaning by fervently studying and referring to their inner-beauty.

    The characteristic physiognomy of advanced myotonic dystrophy; the face is drawn and lugubrious, with hollowing of the muscles around the temples and jaws; eyes are ‘hooded’, lower lip droops, and global weakness of facial muscles causes sagging of lower face, accompanied by marked wasting of the neck muscles, especially the flexors, which imparts a ‘swan-neck’ appearance. The hatchet face may also be seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and in Curschmann-Batten-Steiner syndrome
    Segen's Medical Dictionary.
    © 2011 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

    My text (about musician Curtis Stigers) made him seem quite flattering, I thought, but perhaps I have misunderstood the meaning of "lame de couteau"? Any suggestions for this term in the context below would be appreciated:

    "A l’aune d’un physique en lame de couteau façon Anthony Perkins, costume bleu gris et cheveux drus méchés, un jazz décontracté, un tantinet voyou..."​
  9. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    My attempt:

    "You might compare his finely chiselled appearance to that of Anthony Perkins, blue-grey suit and thick locks of hair, a laidback jazz with a hint of roguishness..."

    I have looked at photos of both men mentioned and they are far from ugly!
  10. teddy bear 75 Member

    Frankfurt, Germany
    French - France
    Je ne suis pas complètement sûr pour "clearly-cut features" (ce qui serait plutôt comme "un visage aux traits réguliers" ou "traits bien marqués")
    Il y a une agressivité dans l'expression française "en lame de couteau", la traduction anglaise devrait refléter cette nuance.
  11. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    Several things, lucylinguist:
    1. Your definitions clearly show "hatchet-faced" is wrong.
    2. I think "finely-chiselled" is usually applied, flatteringly, to a facial appearance - as the phrase "clear-cut features", while here it is physique.
    3. Perhaps "knife-like", which can be applied to the face and/or the body and I think it fits with teddy bear's caveat.
    ("Skinny" would be the equivalent of "pig-headed" in the kind of trio mentioned earlier:)).
  12. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    Thanks for this help, although I can't quite make my mind up about "knife-like": I've just never heard it used in this context before and so to me it sounds a little strange.

    I am now debating the use of "sharp" - below are the first two definitions as given in the wordreference dictionary - or possibly "angular" as suggested above, because these are less flattering than "finely chiselled" without necessarily being unflattering.

    However, I have a feeling that these words are also more suited to describe the face rather than whole body. Hmm...

    1. (razor) tranchant;
      (edge) coupant;
      (blade, scissors, knife) bien aiguisé;
      (saw) bien affûté;
    1. (pointed) (tooth, fingernail, end, needle) pointu;
      (pencil) bien taillé;
      (features) anguleux/-euse;
      (nose) pointu;
  13. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    Ha! "sharp appearance" means something quite different apparently! (I googled it) - it means "military bearing" or carrying oneself well (very upright posture).

    But I think that "angular appearance" should work all right for the whole body.
  14. lucylinguist Senior Member

    Southern France
    English - England
    but for info, here is one of four possible definitions I've found for knifelike:

    4.knifelike - having a sharp or distinct edge; "a narrow knifelike profile" distinct - easy to perceive; especially clearly outlined; "a distinct flavor"; "a distinct odor of turpentine"; "a distinct outline"; "the ship appeared as a distinct silhouette"; "distinct fingerprints"

  15. Donaldos

    Donaldos Senior Member

    French - France

  16. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    New thought - since it's about someone's physique, perhaps svelte ("slender and elegant" WR/Concise Oxford)
  17. Jasmine tea Senior Member

    French - France
    "un physique en lame de couteau" est un corps en forme de V.
    Il me semble qu'en anglais on dit "V shaped body"... non?

    En tout cas ça veut dire un homme bien bâti... that's how I understand it...

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