À poil

À poil
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Familiar French Expression

Meaning stark naked, in the buff
Literally in hair
Register familiar
Pronunciation [ah pwal]
IPA   [a pwal]

Usage notes: Un poil is a hair, especially one on the body rather than the head. So the familiar French expression à poil means naked – the person is wearing nothing but his own body hair.

Par exemple…

J’y suis entré et il était là, à poil.   I went in and there he was, stark naked.
À poil !   Take ’em off! Strip!


dans le plus simple appareil   in one’s birthday suit
déshabillé   undressed
en costume d’Adam/d’Ève (old-fashioned)   in one’s birthday suit
en tenue d’Adam/d’Ève   in one’s birthday suit
nu   naked, nude

Expressions with à poil

être à poil   to be stark naked
la baignade à poil   skinny-dipping
se baigner à poil   to skinny-dip
se mettre à poil   to strip down to one’s birthday suit

 Poil also refers to animal hair.

  • à poil blanc – white-haired
  • à poil ras – short-haired
  • un bichon à poil frisé – bichon frise
  • un bonnet à poils – bearskin cap
  • gibier à poil – game animals
  • un terrier à poils durs – wire-haired terrier

 Similar but unrelated expression:  au poil !  – great! perfect!

  • arriver au poil – to arrive in the nick of time, at just the right time
  • ça me va au poil – that’s fine by me
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