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être un pince-sans-rire

The French expression “être un pince-sans-rire” translates literally to “to be a pinch without laughing”.

English meaning:

  • to have a deadpan sense of humor
  • to have dry-wit humor

French meaning:

  • pratiquer l’humour sans en avoir l’air – to practice humor without seeming to do so

Example sentence:

  • Jean a fait rire les gens sans aucune expression du visage. C’est un vrai pince-sans-rire. Jean made the people laugh without showing any facial expression. he has a real deadpan sense of humor.


  • impassible, inexpressif, figéall adjectives for deadpan

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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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