Tomber dans la marmite

Tomber dans la marmite
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Familiar French Expression

Meaning to fall under a spell, to become passionate about
Literally to fall in the pot
Register familiar
Pronunciation [to(n) bay da(n) lah mar meet]
IPA   [tɔ̃ be dã la maʁ mit]

Usage notes: The French expression tomber dans la marmite, which I’ve yet to find in any dictionary, comes from the French comic strip Astérix.* When Obélix was little, he fell into a pot of magical stew and drank it all, putting him under a permanent spell of superhuman strength and making him forever obsess about the magic potion.

In real life, tomber dans la marmite refers to a person’s (usually life-long) passion for any given subject or activity.

Par exemple…

Je suis amoureuse de ce pays ; je suis tombée dans la marmite française à l’âge de 15 ans.   I’m in love with this country; I fell under the French spell when I was 15 years old.
Franck est tombé dans la marmite des motos quand il était tout petit.   Franck became passionate about motorcycles when he was very young.
Quand es-tu tombé dans la marmite de (la musique de) Bach ?   When did you become passionate about Bach(‘s music)?

 You can use tomber dans la marmite with people in the sense of loving their work, but for falling in romantic love, you need tomber amoureux.

Une marmite has nothing to do with the British substance “marmite” – they are faux amis. See the literal translation above.

Related verbs and expressions

* Another French expression from comic books: tirer plus vite que son ombre

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Tomber dans la marmite

  Lawless French Files:  

Stay up to date with Lawless French

Questions about French?

 Visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

3 Responses

  1. Simon Wilkie 14 December 2018 / 17:49

    There is in fact a connection with the British foodstuff Marmite because this is named after the French dish or ‘marmite’. The label has a little cooking pot on it if you look closely.

    • lkl 15 December 2018 / 8:58

      Thanks Simon. I was thinking about it from the other direction, wanting to make sure people understood that the French expression does not mean “to fall into a pot of the British foodstuff.” 🙂

      • Simon Wilkie 19 December 2018 / 3:47

        If that were to happen one would either love it or hate it I suppose!

Leave a Reply