The French language is full of colorful idiomatic expressions and phrases that don’t always translate literally into English. One such example is the expression “Avoir une dent contre quelqu’un“, which means to have a grudge or ill will against someone. In this article, we’ll explore the meaning, origins, and common usages of this quintessentially French expression.
Definition & Meaning
Literally translated as “to have a tooth against someone”, this idiomatic expression means to have a grudge or resentment against someone.
The “tooth” refers to the idea of someone gritting or bearing their teeth in anger, evoking a sense of hostility. So “avoir une dent” implies harboring negative feelings or animosity against another person.
Usage of "Avoir une dent contre quelqu’un"
This expression is used when talking about someone who clearly has ill will or a vendetta against another individual, usually originating from some past conflict or disagreement. It suggests an ongoing bitterness.
Some examples of usage:
- “Jean a une dent contre Marie depuis qu’elle lui a pris son petit ami.”
- “John has had it out for Mary ever since she stole his boyfriend.”
- “Fais attention, je pense que le patron a une dent contre les employés qui prennent trop de congés.”
- “Watch out, I think the boss has a grudge against employees who take too much time off.”
- “Il est évident que mon voisin a une dent contre moi, il me lance des regards noirs à chaque fois qu’on se croise.”
- “It’s obvious my neighbor has it out for me, he shoots me dirty looks every time we run into each other.”
So in summary, “avoir une dent contre quelqu’un” expresses holding a long-lasting resentment or animosity against someone, usually stemming from a past issue. It’s a common French idiom.