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Informal French Expression
|Meaning||to try to make trouble (for someone), to quibble|
|Literally||to look for lice on someone’s head|
|Pronunciation||[sher shay day poo da(n) la tet]|
|IPA||[ʃɛʁ ʃe de pu dã la tɛt]|
Usage notes: The literal meanings of the French expression chercher des poux (dans la tête) à quelqu’un and the English expression “to nit-pick” are equivalent, but their idiomatic meanings are somewhat different.
In French, the figurative meaning of chercher des poux is to look for a fight, search for something – usually very minor – to argue about. There is a nuance of aggressiveness that is missing in English.*
|Qu’est-ce que tu as ? Tu me cherches des poux dans la tête depuis deux heures !||What’s the matter with you? You’ve been trying to pick a fight for two hours!|
|Attention avec ce mec-là. Il vaut mieux ne pas lui chercher des poux.||Be careful with that guy. It's better not to quibble with him.|
* In English, "to nit-pick" means to split hairs, to get caught up in tiny details without actually fighting about them. This non-aggressive meaning is better translated by chercher la petite bête or couper les cheveux en quatre.
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