French phrase of the day: Pas dans mon assiette

French phrase of the day: Pas dans mon assiette
This is not about crockery, instead you can use this very useful phrase to say a lot about your mood.

Why do I need to know  je ne suis pas dans mon assiette?

If ever you find yourself a little out of sorts, this is the phrase for you.

What does it mean?

Je ne suis pas dans mon assiette literally translates as ‘I am not in my plate’. But it really means a general complaint about being out of sorts, not in a good mood or maybe a little under the weather. It's probably best translated as 'I'm not on good form'.

What are its origins?

To get to the roots of this phrase, we have to go all the way back to the 16th century.

The idea of a everybody having their own plate at meal times only entered common usage after the 16th century. Before that, there was a shared dish put in the middle of the table and everyone, apart from the extremely rich and regal, just helped themselves with their fingers. 

But the French word assiette actually has its origins in the verb asseoir or to sit, as people sat around the common dish. As a result, one of the meanings of the word has been la manière d'être assis or the “way of sitting” and, for equine lovers, the “position of the rider on his horse”.

This association of the word with a position gave it, figuratively, the meaning of a state of mind or a way of being. Hence, “I am not in my plate” being used to mean “I am not in my proper frame of mind”. 

How is it pronounced?

Juh swee pah donn monn ass-ee-yet


Je vais rentrer, je ne suis pas dans mon assiette ce matin.  I’m going home, I don’t feel like myself this morning.

Ça va, Emma? Tu n’as pas l’air dans ton assiette aujourd’hui. Are you okay, Emma? You don’t look in good form today.

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