tirer les boulets rouges à quelqu’un

“Tirer les boulets rouges à quelqu’un” is a French expression that translates literally to “to fire red balls at somebody”. English meanings include:

  • to rip into somebody
  • to give somebody both barrels
  • to lay into somebody

The idea here is that when somebody gets very angry at somebody else, he or she fires red-hot cannon balls into them. Expressio.fr offers a great French definition: to attack somebody else with violent terms; to rain on somebody with insults and criticism.

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Son ancienne patronne lui tirait des boulets rouges sans cesse. Elle a fini par le virer. His ex-boss laid into him non-stop. She ended up firing him.

more French expressions

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