mettre la main à la pâte

“Mettre la main à la pâte” is a lovely French expression that translates literally to “to put the hand at the dough”. The English meaning is:

  • to lend a hand
  • to lend a helping hand
  • to chip in
  • pitch in
  • to muck in (UK)

The idea is that by helping to knead the dough you’re offering a helping hand. Expressio.fr gives a great French definition: to participate in work, in what needs to be one.

Here’s an example sentence:

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Tous ce qui assistent à la fete mettent la main à la pate: Jacques prépare la salade, Marie prépare la pizza et Jean prépare le dessert. Everybody who’s attending the party is lending a hand: Jacques is making the salad, Marie is making the pizza and Jean is making the dessert.

more French expressions

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