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la goutte d’eau qui fait déborder la vase

“La goutte d’eau qui fait déborder la vase” is a French idiom that translates literally to “The drop of water that makes the vase overflow”. Unlike other French idioms that are impossible to guess, this one is pretty easy. This expression is said to have been used by the French writer Stendhal in the 19th century. Here are some English translations:

  • the last straw
  • the straw that broke the camel’s back

Here’s an example sentence:

C’est la goutte d’eau qui fait déborder la vase! Je ne peux plus vivre avec toi! Je déménage! That’s the last staw. I can’t live with you anymore. I’m moving out!

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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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