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French Idiom: Avoir La Dalle (To Be Very Hungry)

French Idiom: Avoir La Dalle (To Be Very Hungry)

The French expression avoir la dalle translates literally to “to have the throat”. La dalle is a slang word for la gorge (throat). English translations of the idiom are: to be very hungry, famished or starved. The French-to-French translation is avoir très faim (to be very hungry).

avoir la dalle

to be very hungry

French Idiom Avoir La Dalle

According to, the French word “dalle” comes from the ancient Scandinavian daéla, which means gutter, sink or a hollow pip that allows drainage. By the fourteenth century, the term dalle was used to refer to the throat and esophagus. The adjective dalleux refers to a big eat who’s never satisfied.

Here’s an example sentence:

Oh là là ! J’ai la dalle ! À quelle heure est-ce qu’on mange ?

Oh, I’m starved. What time are we eating?

The expression crever la dalle is a bit strong than avoir la dalle. The verb crever means to die.

crever la dalle

to be very hungry (slightly stronger)

Here an example:

Je crève la dalle. J’ai tellement envie de manger.

I’m so hungry. I want really want to eat.

Be careful of the related expression, “avoir la dalle en pente“, which means to be a heavy drinker or boozer. For example:

avoir la dalle en pente

to be a big drinker, boozer

  • Tu connais Marc ? Ouai, je le connais. Il a vraiment la dalle en pente! You know Marc? Yeah, I know him. He’s a real boozer!

Féicitations! Now you know the expression avoir la dalle. Check out our posts covering the expressions tomber dans les pommes (to collapse) and être dans la lune (to have your head in the clouds).

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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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