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Avoir les chevilles qui enflent

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: Avoir les chevilles qui enflent

Pronunciation: [ah vwar lay sheu veey kee a(n)fl]

Meaning: to have a swelled/swollen head, to be full of oneself, too big for one's britches

Literal translation: to have swelled/swollen ankles

Register: informal

Notes: The French expression avoir les chevilles qui enflent is informal and insulting - you use it when you think another person thinks too highly of himself or herself. This is one case where I think the English expression is better. One's ego is in one's head, so it makes sense that being very egotistical would mean a person had a big head. In French, though, you think a lot of yourself and your ankles swell... where's the logic in that? :-)

   Odile pense qu'elle va gagner ? Elle a les chevilles qui enflent.
   Odile thinks she's going to win? She's full of herself.

Synonymous expression: avoir la grosse tête - literally, "to have the big head"

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