The French expression "Quand les poules auront des dents"

We are going to explain you all the things you ever wanted to know about the funny French idiom “Quand les poules auront des dents”.

It includes a full explanation of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because we want you to learn efficiently, we also sprinkled some useful informations like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Oh and on this page you will find our others idioms guides and the ultimate list of all our French words tutorials on this page. Ready to learn? C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


It literally means:

  • Quand → When
  • les poules → hens/chickens
  • auront → will have
  • des dents → teeth


The French expression “Quand les poules auront des dents” (When the hens will have teeth) is an absurd reference to a situation that will certainly never happen. We use it mostly ironically about something that we judge impossible.

How to use

You can for example say to someone: “Tu seras riche quand les poules auront des dents.” (You will be rich when the hens will have teeth) a.k.a. never.

But few similar expressions exist, for example, if someone asks you when you will stop eating fast food, you can answer: “À la Saint-Glinglin” → During Saint-Glinglin’s day (A day that doesn’t exist) or “La semaine des quatre jeudis” (The week of the four Thursdays).

Fun stuff

During the 19th century, another formulation was used: “Quand les poules pisseront” (When the hens will pee).

Synonyms and similarities

  • À la Saint-Glinglin → During Saint-Glinglin’s day (doesn’t exist)
  • Tous les 36 du mois → Every 36th of the month
  • La semaine des quatre jeudis → The week of the four Thursdays


Dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue text

” What do you want for Christmas? “
” Une Ferrari ! “
” A Ferrari! “
” Tu l’auras, quand les poules auront des dents ! “
” You’ll have it, when chicken will have teeth!* “
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