Je lui ai cloué le bec!
zhuh lwee ay clooWAIL beck! Click below to hear this.
I shut him up!
As impolite as this is in English, it sounds even worse in French: literally, I nailed his beak!
In English, we sometimes use the word beak as a slang word for nose, specifically a large nose. In French, it’s slang for mouth. (It’s true that birds use their beak both for eating and for breathing, so both make sense.)
So when you say Je lui ai cloué le bec, try not to think about the literal sense of the words. It’s creepy and cruel. Just try to think of a good snappy comeback that will accomplish the job, and forget about boasting.
Or, if you must boast, do it grammatically. Je lui ai cloué le bec also means I shut her up. If you want to name the person, you say J’ai cloué le bec à Pierre (or à Marie). If he shut you up, you will have to say Il m’a cloué le bec. As usual, insults can go either way!
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