trois pelés et un tondu

The French expression “trois pelés et un tondu” translates literally to “three bald men and one man with a shaven head”. This is a prime example of a French idiom that has a meaning that’s impossible to figure out. Here are several English meanings:

  • hardly anyone
  • one man and his dog

Expressio.fr offers a useful meaning in French: Very few people; a disappointment in the number of people in attendance compared to the expected number. A French-to-French meaning is “quasiment personne”, when means almost nobody.

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Here’s an example sentence:

  • J’ai assisté à une soirée hier mais il n’y avait que trois pelés et un tondu. I attended a party yesterday but there was hardly anyone there.

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