Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe

Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe
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Informal French Expression

Meaningto turn up at a bad time, to be completely irrelevant / unexpected
Literallyto arrive like a hair on the soup
Registerinformal
PronunciationFrench sound files [ah ree vay kuh mu(n) sh(euh) veuh sur lah soop]
IPA  [a ʁi ve kɔ mœ̃ ʃə vø syʁ la sup]

Usage notes: I have mixed feelings about the French idiom arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe. It’s ok for the first meaning, although someone showing up at a bad time is subjective, since it depends on what exactly is going on and how each person feels about it. But we can all agree that there’s never a good time to find a hair in your soup.

Par exemple…

Tu dois trouver un moyen d’occuper Céline avant la fête. Sinon, elle risque d’arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe.
You have to find a way to keep Céline busy before the party. Otherwise, she might show up at a bad time (while we’re still making arrangements for the surprise).

Je racontais les détails de mon rendez-vous atroce avec Gilles quand il est arrivé comme un cheveu sur la soupe.
I was recounting the details of my terrible date with Gilles when he arrived (unexpectedly and when I really didn’t want to see him or have him hear what I was saying).

But the second meaning is pretty weird. Hair in soup is much more than just irrelevant or unexpected; it’s icky and has absolutely no reason to be there. But I guess nonsense is what makes some French idioms so much fun.  🙂

Par exemple…

Sa remarque est arrivé comme un cheveu sur la soupe. His comment was completely irrelevant.
Hier, mes parents sont arrivés comme un cheveu sur la soupe. Yesterday, my parents arrived unexpectedly / out of the blue.

Variations

  • arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe
  • tomber comme un cheveu sur la soupe
  • venir comme un cheveu sur la soupe

 Related lessons

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Il est arrivé comme un cheveu sur la soupe

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