Skip to Content

être ficelé comme l’as de pique

“Être ficelé comme l’as de pique” is a comical French expression that translates literally to “to be tied up like the ace of spades”.

English meanings include:

  • to be terribly dressed
  • to look like something the cat dragged in

One French translation is “être mal habillé” or simply to be poorly dressed.

Mon oncle Daniel est très fier des ses vêtements mais en réalité ses fringes sont moches. En fait, il est ficelé comme l’as de pique! My Uncle Dan is very proud of his clothes but in reality his clothes are ugly. Actually, he’s dressed terribly!

The verb “fagoter” means poorly dressed. As a pronominal verb “se fagoter” means to dress weirdly. Hence you can also say:

  • Il est fagoté comme l’as de pique. – He’s poorly (or awkwardly) dressed.

Finally, here’s another synonym:

  • fichu comme l’as de pique

more French expressions

Sharing is caring!

Affiliate disclosure: Below you will find affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To learn more please visit our full disclosure page. Merci!

Sign up to download your free trial of À Moi Paris a French course which I recommend to my personal students to help with pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. After that, upgrade for access to 77 hours of audio lessons.

Read our full review of À Moi Paris and find out why we love it so much!

Are you struggling with French verb conjugations? Then we highly recommend French Today's French Verb Drills course. Get over 28 hours of audio exercises to build reflexes and dramatically improve your French level and confidence.

Read our full review of French Verb Drills and find out why we recommend this course!

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.

See all posts by