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"Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué"

Get ready to learn everything you want to know about the basic proverb "Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué". It includes a detailed guide of what it mean and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. Not to mention the useful informations we added like synonym, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

French to English

  • Translation : Don't claim victory too soon

  • Literal meaning : You shouldn't sell the bear's skin before killing the bear

  • Register : Neutral - Basic




  • IPA : / il nə fo pa vɑ̃dʁə la po də luʁs‿ avɑ̃ də lavwaʁ tɥe /

aesthetic french quote pas vendre la peau de lours avant de lavoir tue

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What does it mean?


The literal meaning is:

It means you shouldn't use something before being sure you own it. By extension: you shouldn't claim victory until you are sure that you have won. Even more broadly: you can't predict the future and you shouldn't skip the steps.

This saying comes from the middle ages and became popular a few centuries later thanks to Jean de La Fontaine in "L'Ours et les deux Compagnons." (Book V - Fable 2, 1668)

How to use it

Imagine someone you know is planning how he/she will spend his/her money after winning the lottery. Then, you can use it as a reminder of not claiming victory too soon: "Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué." (You shouldn't sell the bearskin before killing it.)


↓ Example in a story with translation ↓

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

Le jour de l'examen

The day of the exam

Aujourd'hui, Philippe a un examen très important.
Today, Philippe has a very important exam.
Il doit le réussir pour être accepté dans l'école de ses rêves.
He must succeed to be accepted into the school of his dreams.
Philippe est donc très nerveux...
So Philippe is very nervous...
Il a passé toute la semaine à travailler. Et il a même refusé de voir Emily.
He spent all week working. And he even refused to see Emily.
Elle est donc venue le voir aujourd'hui pour le soutenir...
So she came to see him today to support him...
Philippe arrive au centre d'examen. Puis Emily lui souhaite bonne chance et l'embrasse sur la joue.
Philippe arrives at the exam center. Then Emily wishes him good luck and kisses him on the cheek.


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L'herbe est toujours plus verte chez le voisin


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