Impossible n’est pas français

Impossible n'est pas français
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French Proverb

Meaning There’s no such word as ‘can’t,’ Nothing is impossible
Literally Impossible isn’t French
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Pronunciation French sound files [eh(n) puh seebl nay pa fra(n) say]
IPA   [ɛ̃ pɔ siblə ne pa frã se]

Usage notes: The French proverb impossible n’est pas français appears patriotic, as if to suggest that impossibility is not in the realm of a French person’s abilities – in other words, that for the French, anything is possible.

In fact, français here is not describing the people, but rather the language: supposedly, impossible isn’t a French word, therefore nothing is impossible. The best English equivalent is "there’s no such word as can’t" or "there’s no such thing as can’t," but you might want to translate more loosely with "nothing is impossible" or "never say die."

Par exemple…

Èze est un village perché sur un sommet impossible, mais impossible n’est pas français.   Èze is a village perched on an impossible peak, but nothing is impossible.
– Je ne peux pas le faire, c’est impossible !
– Impossible n’est pas français.

  – I can’t do it, it’s impossible!
– There’s no such word as ‘can’t.’

Synonym: rien n’est impossible

Related proverb

À cœur vaillant, rien d’impossible. – Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.

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Impossible n'est pas français

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