The French saying "Aux grands maux les grands remèdes"

Get prepared to learn everything you want to know about the inspirational French saying “Aux grands maux les grands remèdes”.

Including a full guide of what it mean and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. But wait, we also added super useful stuff like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Oh and if you want, you can also find more of these sayings tutorials on this page and the ultimate list of all our French words pages on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

Audio pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


Let’s dig into the sentence: “grands maux” literally means “big evils” and use the plural form of the word “mal“. We can translate this word as “evil“, “bad” or even “wrong” depending on the context.

Here the meaning is even wider though, allowing “maux” to refer to any problems. (Because problems are… bad).

In the second part we have “grands remèdes” which means “big remedies“. And those sentences are getting connected with the word “aux” which means “to” here. So, we have: “To great evils, great remedies“.

How to use

This proverb means that we should not be afraid to use an extreme remedy when we face an extremely important problem.

Let’s imagine a conversation with someone shocked about a decision. Then you could say: “Aux grands maux les grands remèdes” to express “It might seem extreme, but this is necessary“.

Another usage would be to encourage someone unhappy about something to take a bold decision. In this case, the proverb would mean “If you really want things to change, make a bold move!“.

Because sometimes little steps aren’t enough and what we need is a “big remedy” (a “big decision” in this case).

In fact, this saying is broad enough so you can use it on many occasions. No matter if the conversation is about politics, ecology, education, social issues, personal development… you can use it either to justify a bold decision or to encourage one.

Long story short: a powerful, wise and popular expression that will make you sound like a true French!

Fun stuff

Wonder the origin of this proverb? Want to be cool at parties? You can drop that this saying is coming from the Latin “Extremis malis extrema remedia“. Wow effect 100% guarantee.

Synonyms and similarities

Sometimes you can also find the variation “Aux grands maux les grands moyens” which is similar. The only change is “remèdes” replaced by “moyens” that we can translate as “resources“.

Everyday life dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

” Pourquoi il a quitté son travail ? “
” Why did he quit his job? “
” Il n’était pas heureux du tout “
” He was not happy at all “
” Je vois, aux grands maux les grands remèdes. “
” I see, to the great evils great remedies. “
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