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obéir au doigt et à l’oeil

The French expression “obéir au doigt et à l’oeil” translates literally “to obey to the finger and eye”.

English meanings:

  • to do exactly what you’re told
  • to obey somebody to the letter
  • to toe the line

French meanings:

  • être obéi avec précision – Lit: to be obeyed with precision
  • obéir au moindre geste – Lit: to obey with the least movement

Example sentence:

  • Le député du président lui obéit au doigt et à l’oeil: c’est un béni-oui-oui qui n’exprime jamais sa vraie opinion. The president’s deputy does exactly what he’s told. He’s a yes-man who never expresses his true opinion.

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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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