Mettre les pieds dans le plat

Mettre les pieds dans le plat
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Informal French Expression

Meanings to be blunt, speak too frankly, discuss something inappropriate
Literally to put the feet in the dish
Register informal
Pronunciation [meh treu lay pyay da(n) leu pla]
IPA   [mɛtʁə le pjɛ dã lə pla]

Usage notes: The French idiom mettre les pieds dans le plat refers to talking about something that should not be talked about: something indiscreet and inappropriate, the elephant in the room.

 With mettre les pieds dans le plat, the speaker may not realize that his/her bluntness is inappropriate, during or even after the fact.*

Par exemple…

Lise m’a parlé de son frère en confidence ; j’ai vraiment mis les pieds dans le plat !   Lise talked to me about her brother in confidence; I spoke too frankly [to other people about him].
N’invite pas Thomas au dîner, il a tendance à mettre les pieds dans le plat.   Don’t invite Thomas to the dinner, he tends to bring up inappropriate topics.

 * This is not always the same thing as "to put one’s foot in one mouth," which means that the speaker is embarrassed and regretful while the listener is embarrassed and potentially offended to boot.

Synonyms and wordy rewordings

  • aborder maladroitement un sujet à éviter
  • aborder une question délicate avec une franchise brutale
  • commettre une bévue grossière
  • commettre une gaffe
  • faire une gaffe
  • gaffer

Somewhat synonymous

  • manger le morceau – to spill the beans
  • ne pas y aller par quatre chemins, ne pas tourner autour du pot – to not beat around the bush

Related expressions

  • mettre les pieds chez quelqu’un – to set foot in someone’s house
  • mettre les pieds dehors – to go outside
  • mettre un pied devant l’autre – to walk straight

 Related lessons

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J'ai mis les pieds dans le plat
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