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The French idiom "J'ai une dent contre lui" revealed

Get prepared to find out everything you have to know about the basic idiom "J'ai une dent contre lui". More precisely, it includes a full definition of what it is and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. And that's not all, we also added useful stuff like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Translation in English

  • Translation : I am a grudge against him

  • Literal meaning : I have a tooth against him

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

Audio pronunciation



  • IPA : / ʒe yn dɑ̃ kɔ̃tʁə lɥi /

aesthetic french quote avoir dent contre

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What does it mean exactly?


The simplest way to translate it in English would be "To be mad at somebody". But you should know that the meaning is wider than "Mad" and also has a sense of bitterness / resentment.

Then, the more precise way to translate it would be "To have a grudge against somebody". But why use the word "Tooth" to express such feelings?

Teeth are a symbol of aggressivity, of hardness, but also danger. In nature, it's rarely a pleasant sight to see the teeth of any wild animal... This is a showcase of primitive instincts.

We can see these primitive instincts as a form of resentment against the other species. These species being a threat to their survival.

So, having a tooth against someone means that your bitterness might make you "use your teeth" against this person, so you can have your revenge.

How to use it

Let's say you feel resentment and bitterness toward someone, this person betrayed you or did you wrong in the past.

Instead of saying that you hold a grudge against this person, you can use the idiom "J'ai une dent contre lui" if he is a man and "J'ai une dent contre elle" if she is a woman.

In the next paragraph, you will find more variations with more pronouns.


↓ Example in a story with slow French audio ↓

Finally, let's see an example in a parallel story with slow audio.

Quel imbécile !

What an idiot!

JacquesTu te souviens de mon ami Louis ?
Do you remember my friend Louis?
AliceQui ? Ah, cet imbécile ?
Who? Ah, that idiot!
JacquesWow ! Pourquoi tu dis ça ?!
Wow! Why do you say that?!
AliceParce que c'est un imbécile ! Pour rester polie.
Because he's an idiot! To stay polite.
JacquesAlice, dis-moi ce qu'il s'est passé.
Alice, tell me what happened.
AliceJe ne l'aime pas, c'est tout !
I don't like him, that's all!
JacquesEn général, tu as une bonne raison pour ne pas aimer quelqu'un.
In general, you have a good reason for not liking someone.
AliceEt bien oui,
j'ai une dent contre luiLiterally: I have a tooth against him
. Et j'ai une bonne raison pour ça...
Well yes, I have a grudge against him. And I have a good reason for that...
JacquesPourquoi tu lui en veux ?
Why are you mad at him?


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