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French Expressions with Bout

Idiomatic French expressions

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The French word un bout literally means the "end" of something or a "bit" of something. But bout has other meanings as well and is also used in dozens of idiomatic expressions, noun clauses, and prepositional phrases. Learn how to say at arm's length, on its last legs, the middle of nowhere, and more with this list of expressions with bout.

Possible meanings of un bout
  • bit
  • end
  • length (of rope)
  • patch (of sky, land)
  • piece
  • scrap
  • tip

Expressions with bout

le bout de l'an
memorial service

un bout du doigt
fingertip

un bout d'essai
screen test, test film

un bout filtre
filter tip (cigarette)

un bout du monde
the middle of nowhere; the ends of the earth

un bout de rôle
bit part, walk-on part

un bout du sein
nipple

un bout de terrain
a patch/plot of land


un bon bout de chemin
quite a ways, a fair distance

un bon bout de temps
a good while, quite some time

un (petit) bout de chou/zan (informal)
a little kid

un petit bout de femme (informal)
a mere slip of a woman

un petit bout d'homme (informal)
a mere scrap of a man


à bout de bras
at arm's length

à bout carré
square-tipped

à bout de course
on its/one's last legs
(tech) at full-stroke

à bout de forces
exhausted, worn out

à bout de liège
cork-tipped

à bout de souffle
breathless, out of breath

à bout rond
round-tipped

à bout portant
point-blank

à bout de souffle
breathless, out of breath; on its last legs

à tout bout de champ
all the time, at every opportunity

au bout de
at the end/bottom of; after

au bout du compte
all things considered

au bout du fil
on the other end of the telephone

au bout d'un moment
after a while

bout à bout
end to end

de bout en bout
from one end to the other

du bout de
with the ends of

du bout des doigts
with one's fingertips

du bout des lèvres
reluctantly, half-heartedly

d'un bout à l'autre
from one end to the other, from start to finish

d'un bout à l'autre de l'année
all year long

en bout de
at the end/bottom of

en bout de course
on its/one's last legs; ultimately

jusqu'au bout
(right) to the end

jusqu'au bout des ongles
through and through, right to one's fingertips

sur le bout de
on the tip of


s'en aller par tous les bouts (informal)
to be falling apart

applaudir du bout des doigts
to clap half-heartedly

connaître un bout de (informal)
to know a thing or two about

être à bout
to be exhausted; to be angry, out of patience

être à bout de
to be out of

être au bout de ses peines
to be out of the woods; to have no more troubles

être au bout du rouleau (informal)
to be exhausted; to be running out of money; to be near death

faire un bout de chemin ensemble
to be together for a while (as a couple)

joindre les deux bouts
to make ends meet

lire un livre de bout en bout
to read a book cover to cover

manger du bout des dents
to nibble

mettre les bouts
(fam) to skedaddle, scarper

montrer le bout de son nez
to show one's face, peep around (the corner, door)

parcourir une rue de bout en bout
to go from one end of a street to the other

pointer le bout de son nez
to show one's face, peep around (the corner, door)

porter quelque chose à bout de bras
to struggle to keep something going

pousser quelqu'un à bout
to push someone to the limit / too far

prendre quelque chose par le bon bout
to handle/approach something the right way

savoir quelque chose sur le bout du doigt / des doigts
to know something inside and out

tenir le bon bout (informal)
to be on the right track; to be past the worst of something

venir à bout de + noun
to get through, succeed, overcome something

voir le bout du tunnel
to see the light at the end of the tunnel


Ça fait un (bon) bout (de chemin). (informal)
That's a long way.

Ce n'est pas le bout du monde !
It won't kill you! It's not the end of the world!

Commençons par un bout.
Let's get started / make a start.

Le soleil montre le bout de son nez.
The sun is (barely) out.

On ne sait pas par quel bout le prendre.
You just don't know how to handle/approach it.

On n'en voit pas le bout.
There doesn't seem to be any end to it.
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