aller au charbon

The French expression “aller au charbon” translates literally to “to go to the coal. This is an expression with multiple usages.

English meanings:

  • to stick your neck out
  • to do your bit
  • to do your part
  • to roll up your sleeves

French meanings:

  • prendre un risque to take a risk (stick your neck out)
  • travailler, fournir un effort to work, put forth an effort
  • accepter un travail désagréable to accept an unpleasant job
  • accepter une corvée – Lit: to accept a chore or drudgery

Example sentences:

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  • L’homme politique va au charbon en exprimant sa vraie opinion. The politician sticks his neck out by expressing his true opinion.
  • L’employé va au charbon et accepte de nettoyer les toilettes. The employee does hit bit by washing the bathroom.

Related Expressions/synonyms:

  • se mouiller – Lit: to get wet; synonym for sticking your neck out
  • jouer son rôle – Lit: to play his role; synonym for doing your bit
  • faire sa part du boulot – Lit: to do his part of the work; synonym for doing your bit
  • faire un effort – Lit: to make an effort; synonym for doing your bit

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