une histoire à dormir debout

The French expression “une histoire à dormir debout” translates literally to “a story to sleep standing”. A loose translation is “a story about sleeping standing up”. Unbelievable, right? Here are some English meanings:

  • cock-and-bull story
  • tall story

The French expressions site, expressio.fr suggests “à dormir debout” means unbelievable, implausible, absurd or illogical.

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  • Il m’a raconté comment il s’est battu dans chaque guerre depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale: ce sont des histoires à dormir debout! He hold me how he’d fought in each war since World War II. Cock-and-bull stories!

There’s another great synonymous expression for “une histoire a dormir debout:

  • une histoire sans queue ni têteA story with neither tail nor head

main expressions page

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