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mener en bateau

The French expression “mener en bateau” translates literally to “to lead by boat”. The expression can also be in the form “mener quelqu’un en bateau”, to lead somebody by boat. Here are the meanings in English:

  • to take somebody for a ride
  • to bamboozle, hoodwink
  • to lead somebody up the garden path (UK)

A French definition on a simply states that the idiom means to cheat, dupe or bamboozle. Another online dictionary,, gives the following meaning: to invent a story in order to cheat or bamboozle somebody else.

example sentence:

Mon employeur m’a mené en bateau en me faisant croire que j’aurai des heures supplémentaires. My employer took me for a ride saying that I’d receive overtime pay.

The following verbs all mean to to bamboozle and are synonyms for “mener en bateau”:

  • déboussoler
  • embobiner
  • emberlificoter

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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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