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

Get ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the funny French idiom "J'ai d'autres chats à fouetter". Including a complete guide of what it mean and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. But wait, we also added some useful stuff like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, literal meaning and more!

English translation

  • Translation : I have more important things to do

  • Literal meaning : I have other cats to whip

  • Register : Informal - Funny

How to pronounce?



  • IPA : / ʒe dotʁə ʃa a fwɛte /

aesthetic french quote autres chats a fouetter

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What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

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, the 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.

Example in a dialogue with French audio


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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parallel texts with slow French audio

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