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remonter les bretelles à quelqu’un

“Remonter les bretelles à quelqu’un” is a French expression that translates literally to “to pull up somebody’s suspenders”. English meanings include:

  • to give somebody a dressing-down
  • to reprimand harshly
  • to tear (somebody) off a strip (UK)

The idiom offers an image of one person yanking up another’s suspenders harshly. offers an interesting meaning in French: To remind somebody else of order in a lively manner.

Here’s an example sentence:

Papa remonte les bretelles à son fils quand il est désobéissant. Dad gives his son a dressing down when he is disobedient.

A French synonym for this expression is simply “reprocher qqn pour qqch”, to reproach somebody for something.

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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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