Get prepared to find out everything you want to know about the basic French idiom “J’ai une dent contre lui”.
To be more specific, it includes a full guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. Plus, we also sprinkled useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, literal meaning and more!
The simplest way to translate it in English would be “To be mad at somebody“. But you should know that the meaning is wider than “Mad” and also has a sense of bitterness / resentment.
Then, the more precise way to translate it would be “To have a grudge against somebody“. But why use the word “Tooth” to express such feelings?
Teeth are a symbol of aggressivity, of hardness, but also danger. In nature, it’s rarely a pleasant sight to see the teeth of any wild animal… This is a showcase of primitive instincts.
We can see these primitive instincts as a form of resentment against the other species. These species being a threat to their survival.
So, having a tooth against someone means that your bitterness might make you “use your teeth” against this person, so you can have your revenge.
Let’s say you feel resentment and bitterness toward someone, this person betrayed you or did you wrong in the past.
Instead of saying that you hold a grudge against this person, you can use the idiom “J’ai une dent contre lui” if he is a man and “J’ai une dent contre elle” if she is a woman.
In the next paragraph, you will find more variations with more pronouns.