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faire la mouche du coche

The French expression “faire la mouche du coche” translates literally to “to be the coachman’s fly”. English meanings include:

  • to prance around with self-importance
  • be more of a hindrance than a help
  • to be a nuisance or pest

A French definition is “s’agiter inutilement” or to act uselessly. Here’s an example sentence:

  • Jean a acheté le restaurant mais quand il est entré dans la cuisine c’était evident qu’il n’avait jamais passé un jour de sa vie dans une cuisine. Il faisait vraiment la mouche du coche. Jean bought the restaurant but when he went into the kitchen it was clear that he hadn’t worked one day of his life in a kitchen. He really was more of a hinderance than a help.

Note: You can also say:

  • jouer (to play) la mouche du coche

more French expressions

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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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