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The French saying "L'habit ne fait pas le moine" revealed

Are you ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the basic French proverb "L'habit ne fait pas le moine"? More precisely, this includes a detailed definition of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. As well as the cool things we added like dialogue example, synonym, slow pronunciation audio and more!

English translation

  • Translation : Do not judge by appearances

  • Literal meaning : The clothes doesn't make the monk

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

How to pronounce?



  • IPA : / labi nə fɛ pa lə mwan /

aesthetic french quote habit fait pas le moine

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What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

Used for the first time in the 13th century by Pope Gregory IX, this proverb finds its origin in the behavior of the monks of the time. Most of them were behaving completely against their principles (drinking, killing, stealing...) without the slightest remorse.

It is from there that the expression "L'habit ne fait pas le moine" was born, which means that we should not trust appearances.

How to use it

The next time you see someone judging a person based on his/her clothes, you can use "L'habit ne fait pas le moine." as a reminder that appearances can be misleading and shouldn't be trusted.



Example in a dialogue with French audio


Elle porte des vêtements de luxe

She wears luxury clothes

Oui mais... l'habit ne fait pas le moine

Yes, but the clothes doesn't make the monk

C'est vrai

That's true

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parallel texts with slow French audio

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Avec des si, on mettrait Paris en bouteille


To vocabulary list


On ne peut pas avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre