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.

more French expressions

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!