Il m’a fait du pied sous la table.

Il m’a fait du pied sous la table.

eel mah fay dew peeYAY soo lah TAH-bluh. Click below to hear this.

1. He gave me a warning kick under the table.
2. He played footsy with me under the table.

How can we get two such different meanings from one phrase? Or perhaps more importantly, how do we know which one applies to the current situation? Which one of us should be outraged, or at least annoyed?

Literally, faire du pied means to do some foot. The fact is that “footsy” involves kicking (sort of), and so does a warning (to shut up, or to change the subject, for instance). The difference resides in the amount of damage done to the shin of the recipient. It also may depend on whether the target actually does involve a shin, or rather a set of toes.

In either case, you’d better hope there’s no cross-traffic going on under that table, or the wrong person may be receiving your message. And if the dog has slipped under the table to beg, that warning kick could result in some sharp teeth where they weren’t wanted.

Best to keep your feet to yourself, as your mama doubtless tried to teach you!

By the way, the verbal phrase faire du + a noun covers a wide range of expressions, like do in English. Tune in tomorrow for another.

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