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se saigner aux quatre veines

The French expression “se saigner aux quatre veines” translates literally to “to bleed out of four veins. The English meaning is as follows:

  • to bleed yourself dry
  • to give it your all
  • to make huge sacrafices

A French definition on is “se priver pour quelqu’un” which means to go without for somebody else. Another definition is “se donner du mal” which means to work hard or go through a lot of trouble to do something.

par example:

Les grand-parents de Pierre étaient des immigrants de Russie. Ils se sont saignés aux quatre veines pour qu’il puisse recevoir une bonne education. Pierre’s grand parents were immigrants from Russia. They bled themselves dry so that he could receive a good education.

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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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