The French saying "Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf" revealed

Are you ready to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the funny saying “Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf”?

Are included a full guide of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. Not to mention the cool things we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

Oh and… you will also find more of these sayings pages on this page plus the directory of all our French words pages on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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French to English

Pronunciation example

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


  • Qui vole → Who steals
  • Un oeuf → An egg
  • Vole → Steals
  • Un boeuf → An ox

As you probably guessed, the first meaning of this proverb is that there is no minor crime. Someone who steals something as cheap as an egg, will someday end up stealing something much more expensive, like an ox. 

If the thief doesn’t face any consequences after is minor crime, he will be more confident for the next one. And will be less hesitating before acting, because his mental barriers had been lowered.

Here the theft is an image for any kind of “crime” and can typically represent infidelity, hurting, etc.

But there is another lesson here: from the victim’s point of view, there is no minor crime. An egg might seem “nothing” for the thief but might be the only sustenance that keep the victim alive.

We could conclude that the severity of a crime is a relative notion and can vary a lot between different people and cultures.

How to use it

If you know someone who committed a minor crime/theft or don’t realize that what he qualifies as “minor” could have severe consequences for others. Or if you just want to keep a wise proverb that prevent you to commit “the first theft“.

Then you can use “Qui vole un oeuf, vole un boeuf” as a friendly reminder for staying on the track.


  • Qui vole un oeuf vole un chameau. (“Who steals an egg steals a camel“)
  • Qui vole veau, volera vache. (“Who steals a veal, will steals an ox“)
  • Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte. (“Only the first step has a cost“)

Everyday life dialogue example with audio

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Tu l’as volé ?! “
” Did you steal it?! “
” Oui, mais ça ne vaut rien “
” Yes, but it’s worthless “
” Certes, mais qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf. “
” Certainly, but he who steals an egg will steal an ox. “
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