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C’est Un Panier De Crabes

“C’est un panier de crabes” is a figurative French expression that translates literally to “it’s a basket of crabs”. Here are some English meanings:

  • they’re at each other’s throats
  • they’re always fighting among themselves
  • it’s a nest of vipers

The whole idea is that when a bunch of crabs are in a bucket they’re constantly fighting with each other trying to get out. Un panier de crabes is a group of people who hate each other seek to cause harm to each other.

Here’s an example sentence:

La capitale des Etats-Unis est un vrai panier de crabes: il semble que les deux paris politiques ne seront jamais d’accord. They’re always at each others’ throats in the capital of the United States. It seems the two political parties will never agree.

Here are some synonym for panier de crabes:

  • un noeud de vipèresa tangle of snakes

more French 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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