This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.
This week’s idiom is, “Ne pas y aller avec le dos de la cuiller.”
Literally translated as, “not going at it with the back of the spoon,” it is a colloquial expression that means acting bluntly and deliberately, without restraint or moderation. It is often used in the context of interpersonal relationships, and especially when someone is particularly plain-spoken about an issue (equivalent then to “not mincing one’s words”).
Note: the French word for spoon can be spelled cuiller or cuillère; both spellings are correct. One should probably choose a spelling and stick to it for the sake of consistency, and when I stop to think about it I prefer the former, but I seem to go back and forth between the two in my writing.
Example: “Tu as lu sa critique du dernier film des frères Coen ? Il n’y va pas avec le dos de la cuiller !” “Did you read his review of the latest Coen brothers movie? He doesn’t go at it with the back of the spoon!”
Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:
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