We’re happy to welcome you again to our section “Expressions bien de chez nous”. Take a seat and enjoy the ride! Today we will share some knowledge with you about an expression that is not very old.
Even if this widespread expression looks like it is from the Middle Ages, it is quite recent since it made its first appearance in the XIX century. In order to understand how it was born and to what it makes reference, we need to explore some theories.
The oldest reference is the one from the marines who, in the XVII century, administered food taking into account its expiry. In this way, people had to eat animals and fresh products first, then dry cookies, after that salty or smoked products and at last ham and beans. When these last ones were eaten, it was the signal that the crew needed to land and resupply the ship.
Another hypothesis tells us that this expression originated in the board games played with the family back in the XX century. People didn’t play with money but with dry beans. In this way, “La fin des haricots” meant the end of the game. By extension, this expression started to be used in order to talk about a critical situation where one loses all hopes.
“La fin des haricots” is composed of two main words. First we have “la fin” that means “the end” in English and “haricots” means “beans”. In accordance with what we previously explained, when we say “C’est la fin des haricots” it means it’s the end, the end of everything. This expression makes reference to a situation in which nothing is going well anymore, a situation that has already come to an end and there is no more hope left.
How to use it?
As usual, we’ll share with you some examples of daily life that will allow you to better understand the use of this turn of phrase.
When it comes to economic crises, at a personal, family or national level we may not be able to foresee a good outcome. We may think things will never get back to normal and lose our hopes. In this kind of situation people tend to say “Pouf! Avec cette crise économique, c’est la fin des haricots” (This economic crisis is the end of everything).
Right now in Europe the government is very preoccupied because of the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine. The French president Emmanuel Macron, declared some weeks ago that the lack of gas meant “la fin de l’abondance” (the end of abundance) or we could say “la fin des haricots”.