Quand les poules auront des dents

Quand les poules auronts des dents
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French Expression

Meaning when pigs fly
Literally when hens have teeth
Register normal
Pronunciation [ka(n) lay pool (z)o ro(n) day da(n)]
IPA   [kã le pul (z)o rɔ̃ de dã]
    (optional liaison between poules and auront)

Usage notes: The French expression quand les poules auront des dents is a colorful way of saying “not a chance!” or “it’ll never happen!” The equivalent English barnyard expression is “when pigs fly,” but there are other possible translations, including “when hell freezes over” and “never in a month of Sundays.”

Par exemple…

Il m’a demandé s’il pouvait emprunter mon mobile, et j’ai répondu : « Oui, bien sûr … quand les poules auront des dents ! »   He asked if he could borrow my cellphone, and I responded, "Yes, of course… when pigs fly!"
– Quand vas-tu venir avec nous à l’opéra ?
– Quand les poules auront des dents !
  – When are you going to come with us to the opera?
– When hell freezes over!

 Grammar question: Why isn’t avoir in the present tense? See the note "Futuristic conjunctions" in my French future lesson.

Syononymous, informal expressions

  • à la Saint-Glinglin
  • ce n’est pas demain la veille

 Related lessons

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2 Responses

  1. lkl 25 October 2016 / 13:39

    That’s not really the same thing. “Rare as hen’s teeth” indicates something that is very difficult but not impossible to find, whereas quand les poules auront des dents means impossible.

  2. Scott 21 October 2016 / 12:16

    Hi – In English there is also the expression “rare as hen’s teeth” …. Scott