The French phrase "Occupe-toi de tes oignons" revealed

Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about the basic expression “Occupe-toi de tes oignons”?

More precisely, it includes a complete definition of what it is and how to use it in a dialogue with an audio example. But wait, we also sprinkled some useful informations like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!

By the way, on this page you will find more of these expressions explained and the directory of all our French words guides on this page. Wish you a happy learning!

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?

Definition

The literal meaning is:

  • Occupe-toi → Take care/Mind
  • de → of
  • tes → your
  • oignons → onions

 

This French saying is a way to express “Mind your own business / It’s none of your business“. Because it’s informal, the closest expression in English would be “None of your beeswax“.

But what’s the link with onions?!

This expression comes from the 20th century, where the term “Oignon” (Onion) was slang for both the feet and the ass. It also referred to a mark of independence from women who had a piece of land to grow their onions and sell them.

So “Occupe-toi de tes oignons” became a way to say “Mind your own business. My onion(s), my life“.

How to use it

Use it like you would use “Mind your own business” in English, but beware that it’s familiar, so avoid using it in formal situations. For a formal version, I recommend you to use “Ça ne vous concerne pas” (It doesn’t concern you).

Synonyms and similarities

  • C’est pas tes oignons → It’s not your onions
  • Occupe toi de tes affaires → Take care of your own business
  • Mêle-toi de tes affaires → Ge involved in your own business
  • C’est pas tes affaires → It’s not your business
  • Ça ne te regarde pas → It doesn’t concern you
  • Ça ne vous regarde pas → It doesn’t concern you (Formal)
  • Ça ne te concerne pas → It doesn’t concern you
  • Ça ne vous concerne pas → It doesn’t concern you (Formal)

 

Example in a story with French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
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Passer une mauvaise journée
Have a bad day
___
Joe sortit pour acheter à manger.
Joe went out to buy food.
Il est allé au supermarché, a acheté ce dont il avait besoin et retourna à son appartement.
He went to the supermarket, bought what he needed and went back to his apartment.
En arrivant, il vit Isabelle assise sur le sol en train de pleurer.
When arriving, he saw Isabelle sitting on the floor, crying.
Et il vit à côté d’elle un gâteau explosé par terre
And he saw next to her a cake exploded on the ground
Il courut jusqu’à elle.
He ran to her.
Joe:   Isabelle, ça va ?
Isabelle, are you okay?
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