Avoir du chien

Avoir du chien
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to be desirable, to have a certain something, to be a fox
Literally to have some dog
Register informal
Pronunciation French sound files [ah vwahr du shyeh(n)]
IPA   [a vwaʁ dy ʃʝɛ̃]

Usage notes: Lots of people have a dog, but what does having "some" dog mean? If you think it’s like "to be a dog," you couldn’t be more wrong.*

The somewhat dated French expression avoir du chien, which is used only to describe women, means just the opposite: "to be desirable." It’s similar to the English expression "to be a fox" but avoir du chien is about more than just physical appearance; it also denotes desirable qualities like intelligence and independence.

Par exemple…

Penses-tu que Catherine Deneuve et Jeanne Moreau aient toujours du chien ?   Do you think Catherine Deneuve and Jeanne Moreau are still desirable?

Somewhat synonymous

  • ĂȘtre beau – to be handsome/beautiful (il est beau, elle est belle)
  • ĂȘtre chic – to be classy, stylish (il est chic, elle est chic)
  • ĂȘtre joli – to be good-looking/pretty (il est joli, elle est jolie)
  • ĂȘtre mignon – to be cute (il est mignon, elle est mignonne)
  • ĂȘtre canon – to be gorgeous (il est canon, elle est canon)
  • ĂȘtre chaud – to be hot/sexy/horny (il est chaud, elle est chaude)

* To be a dog (to be really ugly) = ĂȘtre un boudin (informal), ĂȘtre un cageot (familiar)

 More French expressions with chien

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Avoir du chien

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4 Responses

  1. Cléone Blake 21 September 2014 / 1:23

    Bonjour Laura, J’aime beaucoup cette expression – merci de l’avoir trĂšs bien expliquĂ© !

  2. Shahram Nouri 19 September 2014 / 14:08

    you’re just great. Thanks

    • lkl 19 September 2014 / 14:40

      C’est intĂ©ressant, mais fais gaffe : ma leçon parle de l’expression avoir du chien et non pas avoir la chienne. Les petits mots peuvent faire une grande diffĂ©rence !

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