tenir la jambe à quelqu’un

The French expression “tenir la jambe à quelqu’un” translates literally to “to hold somebody’s leg”.

English meanings:

  • to buttonhole
  • to accost, force to converse
  • to have somebody in a corner
  • to not let somebody go (in conversation)

French meanings:

  • retenir quelqu’un en lui parlant longtemps – Lit: to hold or detain somebody speaking to him or her for a long time

Example sentence:

  • Je suis arrivé à la réunion en retard parce que j’ai croisé mon ami dans la rue et il m’a tenu la jambe. I arrived to the meeting late because I bumped into my friend in the street and wouldn’t let me go.


  • aborder/accoster quelqu’un au sujet de quelque chose – Lit: to start or accost somebody on a subject

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