Get ready to find out everything you want to know about the funny French expression "Il n'y a pas le feu au lac". To be clear, this includes a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. Not to mention the cool informations we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!
Translation : There is no hurry
Literal meaning : There is no fire on the lake
Register : Informal - Funny
IPA : / il nj‿ a pa lə fø o lak /
It literally means:
In the middle of the 20th century, French people started to use this expression to express "There is no hurry /emergency". Because if there is no fire, there is no reason to panic.
Instead of saying the basic: "Ça ne presse pas" (There is no hurry) you can use this expression to make it funnier.
It also good to know that in everyday French, we almost always end up saying "Ya pas l'feu" which is shorter and more informal.
The mention of "on the lake" is a way of making fun of the slowness of the Swiss, supposedly unable to hurry even in an emergency, according to the cliché. And the lake refers to the "Lac Léman" (Lake Geneva), the symbol of Switzerland.
And because it's impossible to have a fire on a lake, it makes it even more ironic...
↓ Example in a story with English translation ↓