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Découvrir le pot aux roses

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: Découvrir le pot aux roses

Pronunciation: [day koo vreer leu po to roz]

Meaning: to uncover a secret

Literal translation: to discover the pot of roses

Register: informal

Notes: The idiomatic French expression découvrir le pot aux roses means to find out something that was kept secret for some reason: trickery, shady business, misdeeds. The origin of this expression is unknown; theories range from love notes once being hidden in flowerpots to the secrets of making perfume.

Variation: dévoiler le pot aux roses

Misspelling: le poteau rose (literally, "the pink pillar")

   C'était en écoutant leur discussion secrètement que j'ai découvert le pot aux roses.
   It was by secretly listening in on their discussions that I found out the secret / uncovered the plot.

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