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Dents du bonheur / Dents de la chance

French expressions analyzed and explained


Dents de la chance

Vanessa Paradis a les dents de la chance

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Expressions: Dents du bonheur / Dents de la chance

Pronunciation: [da(n) du buh neur] [da(n) deu la sha(n)s]

Meaning: gap between front teeth, diastema

Literal translation: lucky teeth

Register: normal

Notes: The synonymous French expressions
dents du bonheur and dents de la chance refer to the gap some people have between their front teeth.

In many countries, diastema is considered a flaw to be corrected, but the French have long found it attractive and desirable, believing—as the names indicate—that it brings luck. In 2010, the French media proclaimed that gapped teeth were more fashionable than ever: While you probably won't have many opportunities to use these expressions, it's good to know what they mean - especially since the literal translations don't make sense if you don't know about this French concept of beauty. I think it's interesting that in English, we talk about the gap, whereas in French, the focus is on the teeth on either side of the gap.

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