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manger de la vache enragée

“Manger de la vache enragée” is a fun French idiom that literally means “to eat rabit cow”. The expression has the following meanings:

  • to go through hard times
  • to go through a very rough time
  • to have trouble making ends meet
  • to live hand to mouth

The expression dates from the beginning of the 18th century where it’s said that when people were so poor they had to eat the meat of sickened cows. French-to-French definitions include the following:

  • vivre dans la misère to live in misery.

example sentence:

  • Avant de gravir les échelons, il a manger de la vache enragee pendant dès années. Before climbing the corporate ladder, he went through hard times for years.

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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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