The French expression "J'ai d'autres chats à fouetter"

Get ready to learn all the things you want to know about the funny French idiom “J’ai d’autres chats à fouetter”.

This include a full definition of what it mean and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Along with the useful stuff we sprinkled like literal meaning, dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

If you want, you will find more of these idioms tutorials on this page and the complete directory of all our French words content on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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English translation

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?

Definition

It literally means:

  • J’ai → I have
  • d’autres → other
  • chats → cats
  • à fouetter → to whip

 

In the 17th century, when people wanted to show that something was not serious or unimportant, they said “Il n’y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat” (That’s not a reason to whip a cat).

And with time, it inspired the expression: “Avoir d’autres chats à fouetter” which means “To have more important things to do / To have bigger concerns“.

How to use

Whenever you are asked to do something you don’t care about or have more important things to do, you can use: “J’ai d’autres chats à fouetter” (I have other cats to whip)

Fun fact

You might wonder why these poor little cats had been condemned to be whipped for such a long time?

Well, truth is, the metaphor of the cat in all these expressions remains inexplicable. The English version: “To have other fish to fry” is already a bit more logical, since the fate of many fish is to be fried.

Dialogue example

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Tu vas à la réunion ? “
” Are you going to the meeting? “
” Non, j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter “
” No, I have other cats to whip* “
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