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The French phrase "J'ai une mémoire de poisson rouge"

You are in the right place to learn all the things you ever wanted to know about the funny expression "J'ai une mémoire de poisson rouge". To be more specific, it includes a complete guide of what it mean and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. But, we also added some super useful stuff like dialogue example, synonym, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Translation in English

  • Translation : I have a bad memory

  • Literal meaning : I have a goldfish memory

  • Register : Informal - Funny




  • IPA : / ʒe yn memwaʁ də pwasɔ̃ ʁuʒ /

aesthetic french quote memoire de poisson rouge

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What does it mean?


The literal meaning is:

This popular expression basically means "To have a bad memory". But why the goldfish comparison?

Because a common cliché says they have only a few seconds of memory, which has been proven false, but the cliché remains... What an injustice!

How to use

If you want to apologize for your bad memory, use: "Désolé, j'ai une mémoire de poisson rouge" (Sorry, I have a goldfish's memory). But if you want to taunt someone with a terrible memory, use instead: "Tu as une mémoire de poisson rouge !" (You have a goldfish memory!).

Fun facts

Looking for the antonym of this expression? We have it too! And it's: "Avoir une mémoire d'éléphant" → To have an elephant's memory.

It refers to elephants because they are known to have an excellent memory. They can travel very long distances and then remember them. They can also recognize human beings and remember years later people who mistreat them.

Synonyms / Related


↓ Example in a story with French audio ↓

Finally, let's see an example in a parallel story with slow audio.

Rencontrer un voisin

Meet a neighbor

Un jour, quelqu'un frappe à la porte de Joe.
One day, someone knocks on Joe's door.
Il ouvre et voit une jeune femme.
He opens and sees a young woman.
IsabelleBonjour ! Je suis désolée de vous déranger...
Hello! I'm sorry to bother you...
JoeBonjour... Hmm, on se connaît ?
Hello... Hmm, do we know each other?
IsabelleOui, je suis la voisine d'en bas, on s'est rencontrés deux fois.
Yes, I'm the neighbor from downstairs, we met twice.
JoeAh oui c'est vrai... hmm...tu es...
Oh that's right... hmm... you're...
Joe fronce les sourcils en essayant de se souvenir de son prénom...
Joe frowns, trying to remember her name...
Elle dit doucement :
She says softly:


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