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Avoir la gueule de bois – To have a hangover

Avoir la gueule de bois – To have a hangover

Today we’ll have a look at a fun French idiom: Avoir la gueule de bois which means “to have a hangover” and translates literally to “to have a mouth of wood”.

avoir la gueule de bois

to have a hangover

Avoir la gueule de bois = to have a hangover

Avoir la gueule de bois

Expression origin

According to, the French expression avoir la gueule de bois goes back to the 18th century. Gueule is a French slang word for mouth and comes from the Latin word gula (throat, neck, gullet, maw). The word bois (wood) is a metaphor for the hangover symptom of the stiffness and dryness of the tongue.

Example sentences

Sylvie a trop bu hier soir. Quand elle s’est levée ce matin elle a eu la gueule de bois et elle a vomi partout.

Sylvie drank too much last night. She was hungover and vomited everywhere when she woke up this morning.

Les symptômes de la gueule de bois sont le mal de tête et la bouche sèche.

Symptoms of a hangoer are a headache and dry mouth.

Le meilleur remède à la gueule de bois est de ne pas consommer d’alcool.

The best remedy for a hangove is to not consume alcohol.


Et voilà ! You now know the French idiom avoir la gueule de bois. Now check out our lessons on two more fun French idioms tomber dans les pommes (to faint) and avoir le cafard (to be depressed).

Do you think you might have problem with alcohol? Get help here.

Avoir la gueule de bois = To have a hangover
Avoir la gueule de bois = To have a hangover

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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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