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Mettre de l'eau dans son vin

French expressions analyzed and explained

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Expression: Mettre de l'eau dans son vin

Pronunciation: [meh tr(eu) deu lo da(n) so(n) veh(n)]

Meanings: to tone it down, to be more moderate

Literal translation: to put water in one's wine

Register: normal

Notes: The French expression mettre de l'eau dans son vin can be used literally or figuratively. The literal meaning - to water down one's wine - is not often used because adding water to wine in order to lessen the alcohol content is no longer a common practice.

Figuratively, mettre de l'eau dans son vin has two somewhat related meanings: to tone it down (show less animosity) and to be more moderate (make concessions).

Example:
   Je ne pense pas que les menaces marchent avec lui - il faut mettre de l'eau dans ton vin et essayer une autre tactique.
   I don't think threats work on him - you need to tone it down and try another tactic.

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