Prendre l’eau

Prendre l'eau
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French Expression

Meaning to let in water, leak; to founder
Literally to take water
Register normal
Pronunciation [pra(n) dr(euh) loh]
IPA   [pʀã dr(ə) lo]

Usage notes: The original meaning of prendre l’eau is literal: to take on or let in water.

Par exemple…

Va chercher le seau, le bateau prend l’eau !   Get the bucket, the boat is taking on water!
Ah zut, mes chaussures prennent l’eau.   Shoot, my shoes leak.

The result of taking on too much water—eventually a boat will sink—leads to the figurative meaning: a company or project will founder, start to collapse.

Par exemple…

Notre entreprise prend l’eau, il y aura des licenciements.   Our cmopany is foundering, there will be lay-offs.
Nous prenions l’eau l’année dernière, mais ça va mieux maintenant.   We were headed for collapse last year, but things are better now.

Related expression: prendre de l’eau – to have / drink some water

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