Il a pris la clé des champs.
ee lah PREE lah CLAY day SHAH. Click below to hear this!
He’s playing hooky.
I love this expression! Literally, He took the key to the fields. Oh yes, he is out there unlocking the pleasures and the freedom of the countryside! Romping in fields of daisies, skipping stones by the stream…
It’s a beautiful day (or it was, or it will be), so why not? Interestingly, the English expression, playing hooky, suggests that this happy truant is off somewhere fishing. Why limit the fun to fishing? In French…ahem, pun intended…the field is wide open!
La clé, key, is in interesting word. It has two spellings, clé and clef, but only one pronunciation: clay. It’s the key to your house, your car, or your heart, but also the word that gave us treble clef, bass clef, G clef, and so on in the world of music. Don’t we talk about the key of C?
And if you are playing hooky from work, rather than school? Most people would probably say: Il a décampé. Literally, He broke camp. Which suggests that you practically live at your desk. Break camp! Take off! (But don’t tell your boss I said so…)