il n’a pas inventé la poudre

“Il n’a pas inventé la poudre” is a French expression that translates literally to “He didn’t invent gunpowder”.

English meaning:

  • He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed
  • He’s not the brightest bulb in the box
  • He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer

A French meaning is simply: “être un peu bête”, to be a bit stupid.

Example sentence:

Thomas n’a pas inventé la poudre mais aujourd’hui il etonne tout le monde: Il est devenu tres riche dans ses affaires. Thomas isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but he surprised everybody: He became very rich in his business.

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Synonymous expressions:

  • Il n’a pas inventé le file a couper le beurre – Lit: He didn’t invent the butter cutting wire.
  • Il n’a pas inventé l’eau chaude – Lit: He didn’t invent hot water.

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