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Laura K. Lawless

French expression: Mon il !

By March 4, 2011

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What does the idiomatic French expression mon il ! mean? Learn all about it here, and then share your thoughts.
More: French expressions | Common French phrases


September 7, 2007 at 7:03 am
(1) Gigi says:

I don’t understand the phonetic description in the article abotu “mon oeil.” It says “mo(n) neuy.” This is a sound I have trouble with in French. I thought it was closer to the sound made in English by “oy” (as in “boy”) ith a bit of “yuh” at the end: oy-yuh.

Please explain.

. . . . . . . . . .

It is a tricky sound. [eu] is pronounced like the “oo” in good, and then this sound must be followed by a y sound. Did you listen to the sound file? There are a couple others on this page: http://french.about.com/od/pronunciation/a/i.htm

Laura K. Lawless
Learn French at About

September 7, 2007 at 12:55 pm
(2) fran says:

In Uk English we have the same expression ‘My eye!’ to express disbelief or to rubbish something … does this expression not exist in US English?

March 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm
(3) Kathy Hill says:

I have used this expression during my life, and it means the same as in French. “My eye!” I am a Midwestern American.

September 7, 2007 at 6:41 pm
(4) James says:

I’ve heard the expression in US English. It probably isn’t all that common, but one does hear it from time to time.

September 7, 2007 at 10:50 pm
(5) Kathy says:

Thank you for these expressions! This is what makes the language come alive.

September 9, 2007 at 12:30 am
(6) Martha says:

Why the obsesion to use parts of the face. For example in Mexico I have heard to say “mis narices”, that means my nose. Someone knows why?

September 20, 2007 at 12:47 pm
(7) Nalini says:

I like the expression very much.Je vais commencer a L’utiliser tout de suite.Merci beaucoup!

September 23, 2007 at 11:26 am
(8) anne says:

It is an expression I have heard in English. You are probably too young.

September 23, 2007 at 10:56 pm
(9) Harold Riley says:

Obviously you are much younger than I. All of my life I’ve heard “my eye” If you said you could do something and the other party didn’t believe you. So it is exactly the same in French.

February 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm
(10) ntara says:

thank you!

I love the expression. I was at a french bar, he asked me what I waned, I was liek oh I wa waitng for riends to order and he did this sybol and was like mon oeil sure ur friends, it was perfect

March 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm
(11) debbie says:

I grew up with my mother and her family saying this. It was very normal for me to hear and use it, even with my own kids. I did not know until I studied French a few years ago that it was an idiomatic phrase. My maternal family is French Canadian.

March 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(12) eddie says:

I think this expression is widespead within the Commonwealth. I’ve even heard hindu speakers use it -it sounded quite comical intermixed with hindu !

March 8, 2011 at 9:32 am
(13) Bob says:

My brother spent some time in Portugal. They have the same gesture, which he translated at the time as “I doubt it”. Sounds like le meme chose.

March 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm
(14) Edward T says:

I’ve heard a similar expression with a different body part (plus grossiere) to express the same sentiments. Both expressions are direct and confrontational, but mon oeil (especially with the gesture), besides being more civil, also makes more sense, as if to say, “What? Do you think I can’t see?”

March 20, 2011 at 5:57 am
(15) valerie says:

“Mon oeil” for me me is translated here by “my foot”…This is quite amusing in fact for english learners!!!

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