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.

Expressio.fr offers the following definition in French: To offer a sign of recognition, an authorization to enter a place or to participate in a gathering.

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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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