French Expression of the Day: Poser un lapin

French Expression of the Day: Poser un lapin
Do you have unreliable friends? Or perhaps you are the flaky one? Either way, you might need this. Spoiler: It has nothing to do with cute furry animals.

Why do I need to know poser un lapin? 

If you often leave your friends hanging, then don't be surprised if the next time you see them, they ask you why you poser un lapin

So what does it mean?

Poser un lapin literally means to ‘put down a rabbit’ but the expression has nothing to do with the furry animal but more with the action of not showing up to a meeting without telling anyone.  

The equivalent expression in English would be to stand someone up. 

J’avais rendez-vous avec une fille que j’ai rencontré sur une appli de rencontre mais elle m’a posé un lapin! I was meant to go on a date with a girl I met on a dating site but she stood me up!

Je n’y crois pas, c’est la troisième fois qu’on essaye d’aller au cinéma cette semaine, mais à chaque fois il me pose un lapin! I can’t believe it, this is the third time that we tried going to the movies this week but each time he’s stood me up.  

But where does it come from?

The choice of word rabbit goes back to ancient times when this animal was synonym of abundance. In the 19th century, poser un lapin meant leaving without paying for the favours of a woman, according to French author Georges Planelles in his book The 1001 favourite expressions of the French. With time, the meaning evolved and became the one we know today. 

Looking for more French expressions? See our word of the day section on our website

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