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être aux petits oignons

Être aux petits oignons is a French idiom that translates literally to “to be to little onions” or more loosely “to be cooked with little onions.” The meaning of the idiom is:

  • to be perfect
  • prepared with attention
  • prepared with the greatest care

These meanings suggest that in French culture, when a dish is prepared with little pieces of onion, it’s prepared with perfection and great care.

Another related expression is “soigner quelqu’un aux petits oignons”, which means to treat somebody like a king or queen. The verb soigner means to treat or care for.

Here are some example sentences:

  • Elle a passé toute la journée dans la cusine pour que le repas soit aux petits oignons. She spent entire day in the kitchen so that the meal can be perfect.
  • Il est tellement bien dans sa maison de retraite et les infirmières le soigne aux petits oignons. He’s doing so well in his nursing home and the nurses are treating him like a king.

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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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