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

On this page, we are going to explain you all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic French saying “L’habit ne fait pas le moine”.

Are included a complete guide of what it is and how you can use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. Along with the cool things we added like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

If you are interested, you will find more of these sayings guides on this page and the list of all our French words pages on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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Artboard 1
Artboard 1
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English translation

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

  • L’habit→ The clothing
  • ne fait pas → doesn’t make
  • le moine → the monk

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.


  • Les apparences peuvent être trompeuses. (“Appearances can be deceiving“)
  • Tout ce qui brille n’est pas or. (“Everything that shines isn’t gold“)
  • Si derrière toute barbe il y avait de la sagesse, les chèvres seraient toutes prophètes. (“If there was wisdom behind every beard, goats would all be prophets“)
  • La barbe ne fait pas le philosophe. (“The beard does not make the philosopher“)


  • L’habit fait l’homme. (“The clothing makes the man“)

Dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue text

” 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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