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Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe

French expressions analyzed and explained

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Expression: Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe

Pronunciation: [a ree vay kuh mu(n) sh(eu) veu sur la soop]

Meaning: to turn up at a very awkward moment, to be completely irrelevant

Literal translation: to arrive like a hair on soup

Register: informal

Notes: I have mixed feelings about the French expression arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe. The visual image is great when you're referring to someone arriving at a bad time - after all, is there ever a good time to find a hair in your soup? But I find the second meaning a little odd. It seems to me that saying something irrelevant, like a non sequitur, is more like finding a hammer in your make-up kit - it has no purpose there, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. A hair in your soup, though, isn't just pointless but also downright yucky.

Example:
   J'étais en train d'imiter mon chef quand il est arrivé comme un cheveu sur la soupe.
   I was doing an impersonation of my boss when he showed up.


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