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The French saying "Tel père tel fils"

Get ready to find out everything you need to know about the basic French saying "Tel père, tel fils". To be more precise, it includes a complete guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example.In addition, we also added useful informations like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonym and more!

Translation in English

  • Translation : Like father, like son

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

Pronunciation guide



  • IPA : / tɛl pɛːʁ, tɛl fis /

aesthetic french quote tel pere tel fils

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What does it mean?


Literal meaning:

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, remind them "Tel(le) père(mère) tel(le) fils(fille)". (Adapt it to your situation)

I mean, this is not your fault 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 / Related

Example in a dialogue with French audio


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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Bon à tout, bon à rien