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French Idiom: “Filer à l’anglaise” (To dash, do a runner)

French Idiom: “Filer à l’anglaise” (To dash, do a runner)

The French idiom filer à l’anglaise translates literally to “to dash off English style” and means “to dash off”, “to do a runner” or “to slip out/away”. French definitions include partir sans prevenir (to leave without warning) and partir sans dire au revoir (to leave without saying goodbye).

Filer à l’anglaise

to dash, do a runner

Filer à l'anglaise" (To dash, do a runner)

According to Caminteresse.fr, The expression filler a l’anglaise dates back to 1890. The site suggests a theory that the expression somehow makes reference to an eel, an animal which is difficult to trap.

Another theory is that the expression is realated to the formerly used verb anglaiser, which means to steal. One last and most probably theory is that the expression in a French reaction to the English expression “to take French leave”.

Here’s an example sentence.

Martin et Julie ont fîlé à l’anglaise: Ils ont diné au restaurant sans payer l’addition!

Martin and Julie did a runner. They ate at a restaurant without paying the bill!

Here’s another example sentence:

Pierre a filé à l’anglaise très tôt le matin sans dire au revoir à sa petite copine.

Pierre slipped out very early in the morning without saying goodbye to his girlfriend.

Conclusion

Et voilà ! You now know how to use the expression filer à l’anglaise. Now have a look at our other fun posts covering the expressions avoir es dents longues (to be fiercely ambitious), être dans la lune (to have your head in the clouds) and avoir le cafard (to feel depressed).

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David Issokson
David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven 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 lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven 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 lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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