vendre la mèche

The French expression “vendre la mèche” translates literally to “to sell the fuse”. English meanings include:

  • to let the cat out of the bag
  • to spill the beans
  • to give the game away

The idea behind the expression is that the fuse on a bomb isn’t supposed to be discovered. A French definition of the expression is “trahir un secret”, which means to give away a secret.

here’s an example sentence:

Nous avons voulu faire une fête-surprise pour l’anniversaire de maman mais Marie lui a vendu la mèche. We wanted to make a surprise birthday party for mom but Marie spilled the beans.

Here are some synonymous expressions for vendre la mèche:

  • cracher le morceau – Literally to spit the piece
  • se mettre à table – Literally to sit down at the table

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