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être la douche écossaise

The French French expression “être la douche écossaise” translates literally to “to be the Scottish shower.

English meanings:

  • to come as quite a shock
  • to be on a roller-coaster, roller-coaster ride

French meanings:

  • alternance de bonnes et mauvaises infosalternating between good and bad news
  • contraster entre agréable, désagréableto contrast between pleasant and unpleasant

Example sentences:

  • Pour moi c’est la douche écossaise : la semaine dernière je cherchais un appartement et cette semaine je loue une maison entière ! I’m on a roller-coaster ride. Last week I was looking for an apartment and this week I’m renting an entire house!
  • C’était la douche écossaise pour Martin. Le mois dernier il était sur le point de se faire licencier, mais cette semaine il a eu une promotion ! It came as a shock for Martin. Last month he was about to get fired and this week he got a promotion!

Related expression:

  • faire un tour en montagne russeto be on a roller-coaster ride (figuratively; “montagne russe” means roller-coaster.

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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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