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French phrase of the Day: Laisse tomber

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 22 Feb, 2021 Updated Mon 22 Feb 2021 15:22 CEST
French phrase of the Day: Laisse tomber

This phrase quite often goes with a shrug or a sweep of the hand and seems particularly French.


Why do I need to know laisse tomber? 
It's a useful and straightforward expression that's easy to understand and that makes you feel you've got the hang of French conversation once you know how to use it.
So, what does it mean?
Laisse tomber translates literally as 'leave fall' but it really means 'leave it', 'forget it' or 'let it go' or to drop something as in give it up.
It can also mean to let someone down, or to fail someone. 
It's somewhat slangy, but certainly not offensive and very widely used, making its way into films and song titles.
Although if you're a fan of Frozen (La Reine des neiges in France) don't be tempted to translate the famous Let It Go song as laisse tomber, the French version of the karaoke classic is in fact Libérée, Déliverée).


Some examples:
Je suis sûr d'avoir vu le voisin violer le couvre-feu hier. -  Oh laissez tomber! Nous avons de plus gros problèmes en ce moment - I'm sure I saw the neighbour break curfew yesterday. - Oh, let it go! We've got bigger problems right now.
Le travail ne m'intéressait plus, alors j'ai laissé tomber - The job didn't interest me any more, and so I dropped it. 
Tu n'as plus le temps d'aller à tes cours de dance le soir? Alors, laissez tomber! - You don't have time to go to your dance lessons in the evening anymore? So drop them!
Mes amis m'ont laissé tomber hier soir, ils ne sont pas venus au cinéma - My friends let me down last night, they didn't make it to the cinema.
For pronunciation, check out the song below, one of many in the French musical canon to include the phrase.


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