French Expression of the Day: Sourire du plombier

French Expression of the Day: Sourire du plombier
The cheery sounding phrase has nothing to do with a happy tradesman (or woman).

Why do I need to know sourire du plombier?

If ever you find yourself in a supermarket or Metro when someone bends down just that little bit too far and you get a vision that you would have preferred to live without, sourire du plombier is the phrase for you. 

What does it mean?

Sourire du plombier literally means ‘the plumber's smile’ but it also has a figurative meaning. It's that slightly embarrassing encounter between a customer and the beginning of their craftsman’s buttock and is the equivalent to the English phrase ‘builder’s bum’.  


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It occurs when one person is leaning forward or squatting and the elastic has slightly gone in their trouser waistband. The French version is a little broader, however, and also refers to the sighting of underwear above trousers. In other words, almost every male teenager across the world is guilty of showing a sourire du plombier

Interestingly, a French company identified this style issue and created a line of boxer shorts specifically designed to hide your sourire


How is it pronounced?

Saw-reer do plawm-beeaye


Si tu te penches encore plus, je verrai bien plus qu'un simple sourire du plombier. If you bend over any further, I’ll see a lot more than just a plumber’s smile.


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