Les chiens ne font pas des chats

Les chiens ne font pas des chats
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French Proverb

Meaning The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
Literally Dogs don’t make cats
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Pronunciation [lay shye(n) neu fo(n) pa day sha]
IPA   [le ʃjɛ̃ nə fɔ pa de ʃa]

Usage notes: The French proverb les chiens ne font pas des chats is a colorful way of saying that children resemble their parents in character; that is, in attitudes, beliefs, goals, talents, etc. According to this expression, it’s logical for children to be like their parents in the same way that it’s logical for puppies to behave like dogs, rather than cats.

The English equivalent, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” makes the same point in a different way. Rather than insisting on the fact that the parent and child are the same species, the English expression opines that the similarity in character is due to the child (apple) being separate from yet staying close to the parent (tree).

Par exemple…

– Ta fille va aussi être médecin ?
– Bien sûr ! Les chiens ne font pas des chats !
  – Your daughter is going to be a doctor too?
– Of course! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Elle joue au piano aussi bien que toi, les chiens ne font pas des chats !   She plays the piano as well as you, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Variation: Les chats ne font pas des chiens – literally, “Cats don’t make dogs”

Synonymous expressions

  • Bon sang ne saurait mentir – Blood will out, Good seed makes a good crop
  • C’est bien le fils / la fille de son père – He’s / She’s a chip off the old block
  • Tel père, tel fils – Like father, like son
  • Telle mère, telle fille – Like mother, like daughter

 More French Expressions

 Related lessons

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