Entre chien et loup

Entre chien et loup
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French Expression

Meaning at nightfall, dusk, twilight
Literally between dog and wolf
Register normal
Pronunciation [a(n) treu shyeh(n) ay loo]
IPA   [ã tʁə ʃjɛ̃ e lu]

Usage notes: What’s the difference between nightfall, dusk, and twilight? Poetry. The French word for dusk is crépuscule, which to me sounds rather ominous. I suppose the French expression entre chien et loup is too, since it suggests that the limited light prevents you from knowing whether you’re looking at a dog or a wolf,* but somehow the poetry of the expression makes it all okay.

Par exemple…

Je n’aime pas sortir entre chien et loup.   I don’t like going out at dusk.
Nous l’avons rencontré à la plage, entre chien et loup.   We met him on the beach at twilight.

Synonymous expressions

  • au crépuscule
  • à la brunante (Canadian French)
  • à la brune (literary)
  • à la nuit tombante
  • à la tombée de la nuit
  • à l’heure bleue
 Some sources, including Littré, state that entre chien et loup is also synonymous with à la tombée du jour (dawn), but Le Petit Robert and TLFi disagree.
  *In the most basic sense, the dog represents the day while the wolf symbolizes the night, but you can take it much further than that.
Chien   Loup
daylight   night-time
comfort   fear
domestic   wild
familiarity   strangeness
friend   foe
hope   despair
knowledge   doubt
light   dark
safety   danger

 More French expressions with chien

Stay up to date with Lawless French!
Twitter Facebook Quora Instagram Pinterest YouTube RSS Newsletter
Quora

Any Questions?

 Get help on the forum.
  
 

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.
       

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.