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Avoir un chat dans la gorge – To Be Hoarse

Avoir un chat dans la gorge – To Be Hoarse

Today we’ll discover a fun French idiom: Avoir un chat dans la gorge, which means to be hoarse. The literal translation of this idiom is “to have a cat in the throat” and an English equivalent is “to have a frog in your throat”. Other French translations are the adjectives enroué (hoarse) and rauque (raspy).

avoir un chat dans la gorge

to be hoarse, to have a frog in your throat

Avoir un chat dans la gorge = to have a frog in your throat

Expression origin

According to Europe1.fr, the expression avoir un chat dans la gorge dates back to the 19th century. At that time, a maton referred to “a hairball which can obstruct orifices”. Over the years, the word became matou (tomcat), then chat (cat).

Example sentences

This first example sentence uses the negation form ne…plus, which means “no longer” or “anymore”. This lesson on our site explains the French negation rules in detail.

Après sept leçons de français, le pauvre prof a un chat dans la gorge et ne peut plus parler.

After seven French lessons, the poor teacher has a frog in his thoat and can not longer speak.

This next example sentence uses the past infinitive (l’infinitif passé) tense, which is used to express “after having”. The French structure is: après + infinitive of auxiliary (être or avoir) + past participle.

Après avoir fait un discours incohérent, Monsieur Politique avait un chat dans la gorge.

After having given an incoherent speech, Mr. Politic was hoarse.

This final example sentences uses the feminine noun pastille, which can also translate to lozenge. Prends is the second-person singular (tu) form of prendre (to take) in the imperative mood.

Prends une pastille si tu as un chat dans la gorge !

Have a cough drop if you have a raspy voice!

Conclusion

Et voilà ! Now you know the French expression avoir un chat dans la gorge (to have frog in your throat). Now check out another fun French idiom: avoir le cafard (Literally to have the cockroach – to be derpressed, have the blues).

Elle a un chat dans la gorge = She has a hoarse voice.
Elle a un chat dans la gorge. = She has a hoarse voice.

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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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