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montrer patte blanch

The French expression “montrer patte blanch” translates literally to “to show a white paw”. The expression has the following meanings in English:

  • to prove your credentials
  • to identify yourself

Apparently the expression originates from a fable where a goat kid was told to only let in other animals with white paws. When a grey-pawed wolf knocks at the door, the wolf is not allowed to enter. offers the following definition in French: To offer a sign of recognition, an authorization to enter a place or to participate in a gathering.

Here’s an example sentence:

  • Pour monter dans un avion il faut absoluement montrer sa patte blanche: Il ne faut jamais oublier la carte d’identie ou le passeport. To get on a plane you absolutely must show your identity. You mustn’t ever forget your ID card or your passport.

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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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