Tenir Expressions

Keeping French Phrases

French expressions with tenir
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The French verb tenir, “to hold” or "to keep," is found in many idiomatic expressions, including to cherish, to stand firm, and to have a crush on. Learn these and dozens of other French expressions featuring tenir.

Tenir translations

  • to fulfill
  • to grasp
  • to handle
  • to have under control
  • to hold
  • to keep
  • to manage
  • to stem from
  • to value

Tenir expressions

tenir à to cherish, value, be attached to
to be do to, stem from
tenir à + infinitive to be anxious to
tenir à ce que + subjunctive to be anxious that
tenir à l’oeil to keep an eye on
tenir au courant to keep someone posted
tenir bon to hold one’s ground
tenir chaud to keep warm
tenir compagnie à quelqu’un to keep someone company
tenir compte de to keep in mind, to take into account
tenir conseil to hold a meeting, deliberate
tenir de to take after, to come from
tenir de bonne source to have on good authority
tenir de quelqu’un to take after someone
tenir debout(figurative) to hold water, make sense
tenir en haleine to hold someone spellbound, in suspense
tenir en place to hold still
tenir ferme to stand firm, hold out
tenir l’alcool(informal) to be able to hold one’s liquor
tenir la chandelle to be a third wheel, play gooseberry
tenir la dragée haute à qqun to hold out on someone
tenir la jambe à qqun(informal) to bend someone’s ear
tenir la route(vehicle) to hold the road
 (informal) to be well-made, to hold water, be viable
tenir le bon bout(informal) to be on the right track, be past the worst
tenir le choc(informal) to hack it, be able to handle it
tenir le coup to hold out, to make it through
tenir le haut du pavé to be the leader, on top
tenir les rênes to be in power
tenir lieu de to take the place of, substitute for
tenir pour to consider/regard someone/something as
tenir rigueur à quelqu’un de ne pas   to hold it against someone for not
tenir sa langue to hold one’s tongue
tenir sa promesse to keep one’s promise
tenir tête à to stand up to
tenir une conversation to have a conversation
en tenir pour quelqu’un to fancy/have a crush on someone
Ça ne tient qu’à It depends on / is up to
Je ne tiens plus debout I’m ready to drop
Il tient que It depends on
Qu’à cela ne tienne ! No problem!
Tenez votre gauche/droite Keep to the left/right
Tiens ! Hey there! or Take this.
Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
se tenir(reflexive) to hold oneself in a certain position
 (reciprocal) to hold each other
se tenir à (quelque chose) to hold onto (something)
se tenir à carreau(informal) to watch one’s step, keep one’s nose clean
se tenir au courant de quelque chose to keep informed about something
se tenir bien to behave
se tenir les côtes to split one’s sides laughing
se tenir mal to misbehave
s’en tenir à to limit / confine oneself to

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Expressions with tenir

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