Tenir le coup

Informal French Expression

Tenir le coup
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Meaningto cope, hold up, handle, survive; to stay the course, weather the storm
Literallyto hold the blow
Registernormal / informal
PronunciationFrench sound files [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 and informally, tenir le coup means to hold up to an intangible blow, to cope with a psychological or emotional situation.

Je ne sais pas s’ils peuvent tenir le coup.  I don’t know if they can 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.

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?

French lesson plans Tenir le coup in action

Example of tenir in a real-life video from Lawless French Immersion:

On tient le coup, on reste debout. We hold on, we stay on our feet.
Video: Les Enfoirés – Maintenant

Somewhat synonymous

 To survive a literal storm is essuyer une tempête.

 Related lessons

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Ils ont tenu le coup

  Lawless French Files:  

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