The French expression "Tu as un baobab dans la main" explained

Ready to discover all the things you want to know about the basic French idiom “Tu as un baobab dans la main”?

To be more precise, this includes a complete definition of what it is and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. But, we also added useful stuff like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

If you are interested, on this page you can find our others idioms tutorials plus the ultimate directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Ready to learn? C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

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French to English translation

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


  • Avoir → To have
  • Un baobab → A baobab
  • Dans la main → In the hand

You might think: How did this expression end up meaning “you are lazy?“.

It’s actually an amplification of the French expression “Avoir un poil dans la main” (To have a hair on your hand)

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 to their territory.

And with time, if the person is super lazy, this hair will slowly become a majestic baobab (A very high tree).

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 baobab dans la main.” (You have a baobab 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 it…

Funny stuff

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

Synonyms and similarities

  • Avoir un poil 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“)

Example in a story with French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Méga flemme
Mega laziness
Philippe et Emily avaient enfin terminé tous leurs examens.
Philippe and Emily had finally completed all their exams.
Philippe était dans le salon, allongé sur le canapé et regardait le plafond.
Philippe was in the living room, lying on the couch and staring at the ceiling.
Emily revenait de la cuisine et lui demanda de jeter les poubelles.
Emily came back from the kitchen and asked him to throw the garbage.
Il lui jeta un regard paresseux…
He gave her a lazy look…
Philippe:   Emily, ça a été une semaine difficile. J’ai besoin de repos.
Emily, it’s been a tough week. I need some rest.
Emily:   Tu n’as littéralement pas bougé de ce canapé depuis deux jours…
You literally didn’t move from this couch for two days…
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