passer un savon à quelqu’un

The French expression “passer un savon à quelqu’un” translates literally to “to pass a bar of soap to somebody”. English meanings include:

  • to give somebody a talking-to
  • to give somebody an earful
  • to haul somebody over the coals.

A French synonym is simply the verb réprimander (to reprimand, tell off). Another French synonymous verb is gronder (to tell off). Here’s an example sentence:

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  • L’institutrice passe un savon à Johnny quand il se comporte mal en cours. The teacher gives Johnny an earful when he misbehaves in class.

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