Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe

Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to turn up at a bad time, to be completely irrelevant / unexpected
Literally to arrive like a hair on the soup
Register informal
Pronunciation [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.  🙂

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.

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