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mener quelqu’un à la baguette

The French expression “mener quelqu’un à la baguette” translates literally to “to lead somebody by the baguette”.

English meanings:

  • to rule somebody with an iron fist
  • to keep somebody on a tight leash
  • to keep somebody under your thumb
  • to push around

French meanings:

  • diriger quelqu’un avec autoritéto direct somebody with authority

Example sentence:

  • La cheffe de l’équipe s’appelle Noreen Niu, une femme chinoise exigeante qui mène ses collègues à la baguette. The team’s boss is named Noreen, a demanding Chinese woman who rules with an iron fist.


  • diriger avec une main de fer – Lit: to direct with an iron fist, push around
  • malmener, maltraiter – both verbs, to push around
  • être sous haute surveillance – Lit: to be under high surveillance, to be on a tight leach

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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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