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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