prendre des vessies pour les lanternes

“Prendre des vessies pour les lanternes” is a fascinating French expression that translates literally to: “to mistaken bladders for lanterns”. English meanings include the following:

  • to be taken in
  • to have the wool pulled over your eyes
  • to think the moon is made of cheese

Culturally, pigs’ bladders were used as lanterns in mines. Expressio.fr gives an interesting definition in French: “To make grotesque illusions about things and people” and “to fail miserable in one’s assessments”.

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Here’s an example sentence:

  • Attention à ne pas prendre des vessies poru les lanternes: les publicités des candidats exagèrent trop la vraie situation politique du pays. Don’t be taken in. The candidates commercials overly exaggerate the country’s true political situation.

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