The French expression "Appeler un chat un chat" revealed

Ready to discover all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic French expression “Appeler un chat un chat”?

To be more specific, it includes a complete definition of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. But that’s not all, we also added some super useful stuff like dialogue example, literal meaning, slow pronunciation audio and more!

If you want, you will also find more of these expressions pages like this one on this page plus the ultimate directory of all our French words pages on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

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Translation in English

How to pronounce

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


  • Appeler → To call
  • Un chat → A cat (x2)

In French, “Appeler un chat un chat” (To call a cat a cat) is a way to say that we should call the things by their name.

It encourages us to stop trying to change the words and just frankly call things the way they really are.

How to use it

Let’s say someone is talking about a cheating husband like: “You know, it was a difficult phase of his life, their couple was running through a tough phase, he wanted something new…“.

You might want to say: “Il faut appeler un chat un chat, il l’a trompée, c’est tout.” → “We must call a cat a cat, he cheated on her, that’s it.

The less polite version being: “Stop your bullshit, he cheated on her, that’s it.


“(Ne pas) tourner autour du pot.” → (To not) turn around the pot

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Le boulanger
The baker
Alice:   Quel homme horrible et méchant !
What a horrible and mean man!
Jacques:   De qui tu parles ?
Who are you talking about?
Alice:   Le boulanger.
The baker.
Jacques:   Qu’est-ce qu’il t’a fait ?!
What did he do to you?!
Alice:   Il m’a hurlé dessus !
He yelled at me!
Jacques:   Encore ?! Il faut faire quelque chose !
Again?! We have to do something!
Alice:   C’est un monstre !
He’s a monster!
Jacques:   Il faut
appeler un chat un chatLiterally: To call a cat a cat
: c’est un con !
You have to call things as they are: he’s a prick!
Alice:   Oui, tu as raison ! Un con !
Yes, you’re right! A prick!
Jacques:   Tout ça parce qu’il n’a pas de concurrence…
All that because he has no competition…
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