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Hands up! This is a hold down ...


chessfou

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Well, not exactly but I can't quite get a phrase in this morning's Le Monde. Writing about Michael Phelps' victory in the semis of the 200m butterfly, the journalist scribbles: « ... facilement qualifié pour la finale, remportant haut la main sa demie. »

OK, so he won (or carried off) his semi « haut la main » ?

« Haut les mains! » from many a Western ("hands up")

« avoir la haute main sur qqch » "to have supreme control of something"

I'm going to answer my own question!

I had searched fruitleslly in Le Robert & Collins (French section) for the answer but, while I have been typing, thought of tackling it the other way round and looked up "hand" in the English-French half and sure enough it's there:

haut la main = hands down

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Baisser les bras ? Non, je n'ai pas envie d'être un bras cassé en langue française donc je ne reste pas les bras croisés mais j'allonge mes bras vers le perfectionnement de mon français et si quelqu'un essayerait de m'empêcher je lui ferai un bras d'honneur (je suis prêt à toutes les bassesses). [;-)]

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