The French saying "Tel père tel fils"

Get prepared to learn everything you have to know about the basic French saying “Tel père tel fils”.

Are included a full definition of what it is and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Not to mention the useful things we added like dialogue example, synonyms, slow pronunciation audio and more!

If you are interested, on this page you can find our others sayings guides and the list of all our French words tutorials on this page. Wishing you a good learning!

Table of Contents

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Translation in English

Pronunciation guide

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?

Definition

Literal meaning:

  • Tel → Like/As
  • Père → Father
  • Tel → Like/As
  • Fils → Son

Even though we can be very different, we all tend to have few common features with our parents. These genetic common traits can be physical, about character, or even about tastes and likes. That’s why two teachers are more likely to have a child who becomes a teacher than non-teachers couples.

By extension, we use the expression “Tel père tel fils” (Like father like son) to summarize these natural similarities. Note that even if the default form is masculine, you can tweak it to your gender and your situation, check the synonym section for ready-to-use examples.

How to use

This proverb is a dangerous weapon that can save you as much as it can hurt you, here is how to use it:

For children: if your parents are mad at you about something you do and they actually do the same thing, reminds them “Tel(le) père(mère) tel(le) fils(fille)“. (Adapt it to your situation)

I mean, this is not your bad after all. They started first and transmitted it to you, right? (*wink*)

But be careful, parents can also use it against you…

For parents: if you are proud of a certain quality of your child, use this proverb to brag about it. If they have this quality, it’s 100% because you are so good that you ended up transmitting it to them. (*wink again*)

Ideally, keep this trick in case your child is using the technique above against you.

Synonyms and similarities

  • Telle mère telle fille. (Like mother like daughter)
  • Telle mère tel fils. (Like mother like son)
  • Tel père telle fille. (Like father like daughter)
  • La pomme ne tombe jamais loin de l’arbre. (“The apple never falls far from the tree“)
  • Bon sang ne saurait mentir. (“Good blood can’t lie“)

Audio dialogue example

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

” Je ressemble beaucoup à mon père “
” I look a lot like my father “
” Tel père, tel fils ! “
” Like father, like son “
C’est vrai
” That’s true “
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