Avoir d’autres chats à fouetter

Informal French Expression

Meaningto have other fish to fry
Literallyto have other cats to whip
Registerinformal
Pronunciation
French sound files [ah vwahr do tr(eu) shah ah fway tay]
IPA[a vwar do trə ʃa a fwe te]
Avoir d'autres chats à fouetter
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Usage notes: The violent-sounding French expression avoir d’autres chats à fouetter is idiomatic, fortunately: it doesn’t actually mean that any cats are getting whipped, but rather that the speaker has something else to do. The English equivalent is "to have other fish to fry."

Both expressions have just a soupçon of superiority: not just that I have other things to do, but that I have better things to do.

Par exemple…

Je ne peux pas t’aider, j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter. I can’t help you, I have other fish to fry.
Il m’a invité à regarder un film, mais j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter. He invited me to see a movie, but I have better things to do.

 Related lessons

 Image used with the kind permission of Graham Clark, co-author of Other Cats to Whip: The Book of French Idioms.

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