Mettre sa langue dans sa poche

Mettre sa langue dans sa poche
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Informal French Expression

MeaningTo be quiet, stay silent, hold one’s tongue
LiterallyTo put one’s tongue in one’s pocket
Registerinformal
PronunciationFrench sound files [meh tr(eu) sah la(n)g da(n) sah puhsh]
IPA  [mɛtʁə sa lãg dã sa pɔʃ]

Usage notes: The French idiom mettre sa langue dans sa poche means "to not say anything," which makes sense – if your tongue is in your pocket, you obviously can’t use it.

Par exemple…

Jeannot sait ce qui s’est passé, mais il met sa langue dans sa poche. Jeannot knows what happened, but he’s being quiet.
Gêné par la discussion, j’ai mis ma langue dans ma poche. Embarrassed by the discussion, I stayed silent / held my tongue.

Antonymous expression

The flip-side of mettre sa langue dans sa poche is found in the expression ne pas avoir la langue dans sa poche, which means “to talk a lot, to say what one thinks, to always have a retort” (even if it’s tactless or embarrassing).

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Il mets sa langue dans sa poche

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