donner sa langue au chat

“Donner sa langue au chat” is a funny little French expression which has a meaning that’s impossible to guess. The literal translation is “to give one’s tongue to the cat”. English translations include:

  • to give up
  • to give in

According to expressio.fr, a French-to-French definition is “to give up trying to find or guess a solution. Another French definition is “abandonner l’idée de faire quelque chose” or giving up the idea to do something.

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example sentence:

  • Les problèmes d’algèbre sont tellement difficiles: je finis toujours par donner ma langue au chat. Algebra problems are so difficult. I always give up in the end.

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