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The French idiom "Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser"

Ready to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the funny expression "Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser"? To be more precise, it includes a full definition of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because we want to help you on your learning journey, we also added some useful stuff like synonyms, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Translation in English

  • Translation : I don't know what to do

  • Literal meaning : I don't know which foot to dance​ on​​

  • Register : Neutral - Funny

How to pronounce it



  • IPA : / ʒə nə sɛ pa syʁ kɛl pje dɑ̃se /

aesthetic french quote sais pas sur quel pied danser

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What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:


According to various sources, this expression emerged during the 15th century.

And it means that you're hesitating; you don't know what to do or how to react; you are embarrassed. That's why this expression is linked to a difficult situation, or a complicated choice.

But what's the link with dancing?

In dancing, the order of steps is crucial. Then, if you don't know "Sur quel pied danser" (On which foot to dance on) it means that you are lost.

How to use it

If you feel lost, don't know how to react or hesitate between two choices, you can use "Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser".

In case you want a simpler way to express this idea, you can use: "Je ne sais pas quoi faire" → "I don't know what to do" or  "Je ne sais comment réagir" → "I don't know how to react".

Funny stuff

Similar expressions expresses the same idea, such as "Je ne sais pas où donner de la tête" (I don't know where to give my head) or "Je ne sais pas à quel saint me vouer" (I don't know which Saint to devote). And of course the (very familiar) expression "J'ai le cul entre deux chaises", which emphasizes the feeling of dilemma and hesitation between two possibilities.



Example in a dialogue with French audio


Tu vas voter pour qui ?

Who are you going to vote for?

Je ne sais pas sur quel pied danser...

I don't know which foot to dance​ on​​...*

Moi non plus

Me neither

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Des bonbons ou un sort !


To vocabulary list


Je suis en pétard !