All about the French idiom "Tu as un poil dans la main"

Get prepared to discover everything you need to know about the funny idiom “Tu as un poil dans la main”.

It includes a full guide of what it is and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Together with the cool things we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonym and more!

Oh and before I forget, more of these idioms are available on this page plus all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

Pronunciation example

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


  • Avoir un poil → To have a hair
  • Dans la main → In the hand

You might think: “How this expression came to mean you are lazy?“.

Simple, let’s imagine someone so lazy that he/she is never using his/her hands. Then, just like nature coming back in abandoned cities, the hairs would start to grow up, claiming back their untouched territory.

Another theory is that, if you lend a hair to someone very lazy (a very common situation indeed). They will keep it in their hand and use it as an excuse for not doing anything else, because they “can’t“.

How to use it

Instead of just saying “You are lazy“, you can add some fun and color to your sentence by saying “Tu as un poil dans la main.” (You have a hair on your hand). 

This is a very informal idiom, so use it only with friends and relatives, ideally not at work since people might not appreciate…

Below, you will find some variations in case you need more details.

Funny stuff

If the person is extremely lazy, you can use instead “Tu as un baobab dans la main.” (You have a baobab on your hand).

If this is your case, take care of it and don’t forget that a healthy baobab need daily sun and fresh water. 


  • Avoir un baobab dans la main. (“Have a baobab on your hand“)
  • Avoir un palmier dans la main. (“Have a palm tree on your hand“)
  • Avoir une queue de vache dans la main. (“Have a cow’s tail in your hand“)
  • J’ai un poil dans la main. (“I have a hair in the hand“)
  • Il a un poil dans la main. (“He has a hair in his hand“)
  • Elle a un poil dans la main. (“She has a hair in her hand“)
  • Vous avez un poil dans la main. (“You have a hair in your hand“)(More polite)

Everyday life dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

” J’ai passé ma journée à dormir “
” I slept the whole day “
” Tu as vraiment un poil dans la main “
” You really have a hair in the hand “
” Je crois aussi “
” I think so too “
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