Tenir le coup

Tenir le coup
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to cope, hold up, handle, survive; to stay the course, weather the storm
Literally to hold the blow
Register normal / informal
Pronunciation [teu neer leu koo]
IPA   [tə niʀ lə ku]

Usage notes: The French expression tenir le coup is pretty straightforward. Literally, it means to cope with a physical blow.

Par exemple…

Comment est-ce que les boxeurs tiennent le coup ?   How do boxers cope with being hit?

By extension, tenir le coup informally means to hold up to an intangible blow, to cope with a psychological or emotional situation.

Par exemple…

Je ne sais pas s’ils peuvent tenir le coup.   I don’t know if they can cope / weather the storm.
Ils ont tenu le coup, et leur mariage s’en trouve mieux.   They survived, and their marriage is all the better for it.

Tenir le coup isn’t limited to difficulties faced by people.

Par exemple…

J’espère que son témoinage tiendra le coup.   I hope his testimony will hold up.
Penses-tu que l’économie tienne le coup ?   Do you think the economy will survive?

Somewhat synonymous

  • endurer – to endure
  • résister – to resist, overcome
  • supporter – to endure, tolerate
  • survivre – to survive

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