avaler des couleuvres

The French expression “avaler des couleuvres” translates literally to “to swallow garter snakes.” Seemingly unpleasant, English meanings include:

  • to accept something against your will
  • to have something forced on you

Other definitions in French on wordreference.com include “to believe anything your told” and “to endure humiliation or insults”.

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Here’s an example sentence:

  • Marie ne voulait pas se marier avec Pierre: elle a dû avaler les couleuvres. Marie didn’t want to marry Pierre. She had to accept the marriage against her will.

more French expressions

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