Heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour

Malhereux en amour, heureux au jeu
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French Proverb

Meaning lucky at cards, unlucky in love
Literally happy at the game, unhappy in love
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Pronunciation [eu reu oh jeuh mah leu reu a(n) nah moor]
IPA   [ø ʁø o ʒœ ma lø ʁø ã na muʁ]

Usage notes: The French proverb heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour is a cute way of saying that you only get so much luck and happiness in life. If you’re good at cards or sports, you’ve used up your “quota” and have bad luck when it comes to relationships.

 Like the English equivalent “lucky at cards, unlucky in love,” heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour is not reserved for when someone actually wins a game and loses a spouse on the same day, but rather tends to be used as a sort of consolation when someone does really well at cards: “OK, so you won a bunch of money, but you’re probably either single or unhappily married.”

Variation: Malheureux en amour, heureux au jeu

Another way to talk about just the lucky part in English is with “(to have) the luck of the devil,” which has three French equivalents:

  • avoir une veine de pendu (informal) – literally, “to have a hanged person’s luck”
  • avoir une veine de cocu / avoir une chance de cocu (familiar) – “to have a cuckold’s luck”

 Related lessons

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Heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour
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