Discover the French expression "J'ai les dents longues"

You are going to find out all the things you want to know about the basic French expression “J’ai les dents longues”.

Are included a full guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. Along with the useful stuff we sprinkled like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

Oh and if you are interested, you can find more of these expressions tutorials on this page plus the directory of all our French words pages on this page. Ready to learn? C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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Translation in English

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


  • Avoir → To have
  • Les dents longues → Long teeth

This idiom used to mean: “To be hungry” which seems logical, but with time it ended up meaning: “To be ambitious“.

Why? Because teeth are a symbol of strength / aggressivity and because “hunger” is an image for ambition. Just like in English we have: “I’m hungry for the power“.

So having “long teeth” represents having a lot of ambition and having a shark mindset: ready to do anything to succeed.

How to use it

You can use it about yourself “Je ferai de grandes choses, j’ai les dents longues.” (I will achieve big things, I’m ambitious.)

But also about someone else: “Ça ne m’étonne pas, il a les dents longues.” (I’m not surprised, he is ambitious.)

Fun stuff

We have an even more extreme expression: “Avoir les dents qui rayent le parquet” which means “To have teeth (so long that they are) scratching the floor“.

That’s a lot of ambition!

Synonyms and similarities

  • Avoir les dents qui rayent le parquet. (“To have teeth scratching the floor“)
  • Être un requin. (“To be a shark“)
  • Tu as les dents longues. (“You have long teeth“)
  • Il a les dents longues. (“He has long teeth“)
  • Elle a les dents longues. (“She has long teeth“)

Everyday life dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Tu penses pouvoir y arriver ? “
” Do you think you can do it? “
” Oui, j’ai les dents longues “
” Yes, I have long teeth “
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