On this page, we are going to teach you all the things you want to know about the basic French expression “Être de mauvais poil”.
To be more specific, this includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. And because learning a new language is important, we also sprinkled some useful informations like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, literal meaning and more!
This idiom comes from the 19th century and makes a direct link between hairs and the mood. Because hairs are the first thing that you see when you look at someone, even before the skin. (Physically speaking)
And “mentally” speaking, the mood is the first thing that we see when we look at someone. So, instead of saying that someone is in a bad mood, we say that this person is “of bad hair“. Building a bridge between the mental and the body.
Let’s imagine your brother wants to talk with your dad, but you noticed he is in a bad mood today. So you would say to your brother: “Ne lui parle pas, il est de mauvais poil aujourd’hui.” (Don’t talk to him, he is in a bad mood today.)
Another scenario, someone asks you: “How do you feel today?” and you don’t feel good at all. Then instead of just saying “Pas très bien” (Not very good) you can say “Je suis de mauvais poil, et toi?” (I am in a bad mood, and you?)
We like this expression so much that we also have one to say the exact opposite: “Être de bon poil” (To be of good hair).