Bon gré mal gré

Bon gré mal gré
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Reluctant French Expression

Meaning like it or not, reluctantly
Literally good liking or bad liking
Register normal
Pronunciation French sound files [bo(n) gray mal gray]
IPA   [bɔ̃ gʁe mal gʁe]

Usage notes: Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you want to do something, you just have to do it, like it or not. In French, this is expressed with bon gré mal gré, both when giving orders and when describing something that has already been done.

Par exemple…

Tu dois ranger ta chambre, bon gré mal gré !   You have to clean your room whether you like it or not!
Bon gré mal gré, nous avons viré l’employé qui volait des crayons.   We reluctantly fired the employee who was stealing pencils, We were obliged to fire ….


  • à contre-cœur / à contrecœur
  • malgré soi – literally “despite oneself” (and what one wants) 

Formal synonyms

  • que l’on le veuille ou non – literally, "that one wants it or not"
  • que vous le veuillez ou non – "that you want it or not"

Related expressions

  • à son gré – to one’s liking
  • contre le gré de – against the wishes of
  • de bon gré – willingly
  • de gré à gré – by mutual agreement
  • de gré ou de force – whether one likes it or not
  • de plein gré – willingly


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Bon gré mal gré

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