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jeter de la poudre aux yeux de quelqu’un

The French expression “jeter de la poudre aux yeux de quelqu’un” translates literally to “to throw powder into somebody’s eyes”. Here are some English meanings:

  • to try to impress somebody

French meanings include “écran de fumée, illusion” (a smokescreen, an illusion) and “apparences flatteuses, mais trompeuses.” (flattering but misleading appearances.

As a noun, “poudre aux yeux” translates to smoke and mirrors.

Here’s an example sentence:

Il a jeté de la poudre aux yeux de tout le monde en portant un costume avec une cravatte pour donner l’impression d’être accompli. Mais hélas, les gens savaient bien que ce n’etait qu’une illusion! He tried to impress everybody by wearing a suit and tie to give the impression of being successful. But, everybody knew it was just an illusion!

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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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