Il lui a fait un croc-en-jambe.
eel lwee ah fay uh KRUH-kah-zhab. Click below to hear this pronounced.
He tripped him.
No, you needn’t worry about crocodiles here. But you could fall flat on your face, so pay attention.
Un croc (pronounced crow, like the bird) is a hook, not to be confused with le crochet, which is a way to make baby booties and afghans: with a little hook.
Un croc-en-jambe, literally, is a hook in the leg. It’s not clear whether it refers to the shape you make your leg when you intentionally trip someone, or to the act of hooking your leg around someone else’s. It doesn’t matter. The result is the same, and unpleasant both for the hooked (a fall) and the hooker (revenge, perhaps!).
The pronunciation changes when croc is embedded in this phrase. The final c is heard, spoken like a /k/–even though c followed by e is normally an /s/ sound.
This phrase can also refer to a metaphorical trip: for example, you sabotage someone else’s work, causing that person to fail, or at least to stumble and perform badly.
Note the lui. It’s an indirect object, indicating that you did this to him or her.
Do play nicely, now!
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