The French idiom "C'est tiré par les cheveux"

We are going to explain you all the things you want to know about the basic French idiom “C’est tiré par les cheveux”.

Including a complete definition of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. As well as the cool stuff we added like literal meaning, dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Oh and if you are interested, you will also find more of these idioms explained on this page plus the ultimate directory of all our French words guides on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


  • C’est → It’s
  • Tiré → Pulled
  • Par les cheveux → By the hair

If you want someone to come with you to the restaurant, there are two options: ask this person nicely or pull him/her by the hair. The first one seems easy while the second is much more complex and illogical (but also illegal…).

That’s why we use “C’est tiré par les cheveux” to say “It’s far fetched” a.k.a. “It’s illogical / complex / unnatural“. Because it’s so illogical that you need to get pulled by the hair to understand it.

How to use it

Let’s say you are talking with someone about movies and this person tells you he/she didn’t see “Inception“. Then you spend the next 20 minutes trying to explain the entire story.

Once you finish, chances are that the other person will look at you with puffy eyes and say “Wow… c’est tiré par les cheveux“. (Wow… that’s far-fetched).

Fun fact

If you want to impress people, instead of the expression explained above, you can use “C’est capillotracté“.

What is that? In Latin “Capillus” is “Hair” and “Tractatus” is “To pull“. So “C’est capillotracté” is a fancy (and funny) way to say “C’est tiré par les cheveux.

Example with audio dialogue

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue text

” Ce film est vraiment bizarre ! “
” This movie is really weird! “
” Oui ! C’est tiré par les cheveux ! “
” Yes! It’s pulled by the hair “
Carrément ! “
” Totally! “
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