Hello and welcome again to “Expressions bien de chez nous”! Today you’ll learn about the expression “C’est tiré par les cheveux”. It has two main words, “Tirer” which means to pull and “cheveux” that means hair. Are you getting a picture of what it is? Let’s find out if you guessed it!
The history of the phrase
This expression appeared in the XVII century meaning “to force” something. It comes from the literal sense of the capilar violence that is suffered when one’s hair is pulled out. Nowadays we say that a reasoning is “tiré par les cheveux” (pulled by the hair) when it is complicated and neither very logical nor easy to understand.
So it means…
Exactly, it describes a story that is unbelievable and in fact, not normal. Now let’s break down this phrase a little. “Tiré” is the past participle of the verb “tirer” which in English means “to pull out”. Now, be careful because “les cheveux” (maybe you already know that) corresponds to the hair we have on our heads and only on our heads.
Some examples on how to use it
The first example we are going to give you is easy to relate with whether you’re a parent or not, since you’ve been a child too. A girl comes back from school and tells her parents she’s been punished because she didn’t listen to the teacher. Her father asks her what exactly happened and then she says “It wasn’t my fault, my pencil fell out from my desk and when I wanted to grab it, it was Tommy who took it first. It was him talking and talking, not me”. Her father looks at her and tells her “Elle est un peu tirée par les cheveux ton histoire” (your story is a bit far-fetched).
Another example is when in the enterprise you work, your boss starts making promises such as “We’ll raise your salaries once the sales surpass the record of last year”. You’ve heard similar things before from your boss and you are well aware of the company’s situation right now. You’re, in fact, sure it won’t happen, because it wasn’t the case when the company was at its best. So, after this moving speech you look at your colleague who thinks just like you and say “C’est un peu tiré par les cheveux”. It is indeed something you and your colleagues can’t believe.
Do you remember a situation in which you used a similar expression?
Let us know! And if you have an equivalent expression in your language(s) don’t forget to share with all of us!
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