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avoir la bouteille

The French expression “avoir la bouteille” translates literally to “to have the bottle”.

English meaning:

  • to have been around a long time
  • getting on in years
  • to be long in the tooth

French meaning:

  • commencer à vieillir – to start to age
  • acquérir de l’expérience avec l’âge – to acquire experience with age

Example sentence:

  • Il ne faut rien expliquer à Jean : Il a la bouteille et il sait comment ça marche ici. You don’t have to explain anything to Jean. He’s been around for a long time and knows how things work here.

Related expressions:

  • avoir roulé sa bosse – Literally: to have rolled your bump; to have been around
  • en connaître un bout – Literally: to know an end; to have been around
  • se faire vieux, se faire vieille – Literally: to make old; to be getting along in years
  • prendre de l’âge – Literally: to take age; to be getting along in years

more expressions

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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 his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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