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au nez et à la barbe de quelqu’un

The French expression “au nez et à la barbe de quelqu’un” translates literally to “at somebody’s nose and beard”. Barbe (f) means beard. Here are the expressions English meanings:

  • right under somebody’s nose
  • right in front of somebody’s eyes

French meanings include “en présence et en dépit de quelqu’un” (in somebody’s presence at at their chagrin).

Here’s an example sentence:

  • Le prisonnier s’est échappé au nez et à la barbe des gardiens en se déguisant en employé. The prisoner escaped right under the guards’ nose by disguising himself as an employee.
  • Le voleur a volé le tableau au nez et à la barbe des gardiens. The thief stole the painting right under the guards’ noses.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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