faire un tabac

The meaning of the French expression “faire un tabac” is impossible to guess in English. While “tabac” means tobacco, it can also mean a big hit or success. Hence, “faire un tabac” has the following meanings:

  • to be a big hit
  • to be a great success
  • to bring the house down
  • to make a splash

According to lerobert.com, a French definition for “faire un tabac” is simply “avoir un grand succès”, to have a big success.

Here’s an example sentence:

Le nouveau film a fait un tabac aux Etats-Unis mais malheureusement il n’etait pas bien bien accueilli dans le marché chinois. The movie was a big hit in the United States but unfortunately it was not well received in the Chinese market.

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Synonym expressions:

  • casser la baraque – Literally “to break the house”
  • faire un carton – Literally “to make a box”; box is slang for success”
  • rencontrer un franc succès – Literally “to make an honest success”
  • faire un malheur – Literally “to make a misfortune”
  • rencontrer un vif succès – Literally “to meet a lively success”

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