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la ficelle

la ficelle (fee-sehl) noun, feminine
1. string, twine
2. stick, small rope (of French bread)
3. trick (tip)

Terms & Expressions:
ficeler (verb)
= to tie, to string
C'est ficelle = It's not easy
tirer sur la ficelle = to exaggerate
tirer les ficelles = to pull the strings
voir la ficelle = to see how something is done
connaître les ficelles = to know the ropes
les ficelles du métier = the tricks of the trade
être mal ficelé = "to be badly tied up" (badly dressed)
déménager à la ficelle = to pack up and leave without paying

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Citation du Jour:
Voir, entendre, aimer. La vie est un cadeau dont je défais les ficelles chaque matin, au réveil.

To see, to hear, to love. Life is a present in which I untie the strings each morning, upon awakening.
--Christian Bobin

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A Day in a French Life...

(Do not miss the story that originally appeared here, along with the vocabulary below. Order the book!)
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*References Entrez, entrez! = Come in, come in!; le canapé (m) = sofa; le repas de vendanges (m) = harvest meal; le vin rouge (m) = red wine; la poutre (f) = beam; la confiture (f) = jam; underwear (the thong type) is known as "un string" in France.

Quand on prend la peine de découvrir les ficelles, on se sent moins marionnette... / When we take the time to discover the strings, we feel less like a puppet.
-- Robert Blondin