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French expression of the day: Se prendre la tête

French expression of the day: Se prendre la tête
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Why, in France, 'grabbing your head' isn't recommended.

Why do I need to know se prendre la tête?

Because it's a common expression that makes no sense when you don't know what it means.

What does it mean?

Se prendre la tête literally translates as 'to take the head' or 'to grab the head', but it really refers to 'worrying', 'kicking up a fuss', 'getting annoyed' or 'arguing' – all depending on the context and how you use it.

French online dictionary l'Internaute defines it as 'making one's life difficult' or 'getting angry/annoyed'. 

It needs to be accompanied by the right conjugated version of se, so je me prends la tête tu te prends la tête nous nous prenons la tête, etc.

If you add avec quelqu'un (with someone) it means 'arguing' or 'quarrelling'. 

On se prend la tête avec Antoine. – Antoine and I are fighting.

You might know faire la tête, which is another common French expression that means 'to pout' or 'to sulk'.

All of these versions have in common that they imply that person grabbing or doing the head is overreacting, or making things unnecessarily stressful or worrisome. 

Use it like this

Ne te prends pas la tête avec ça, je suis sûre que tout va bien se passer. – Don't worry so much about that, I'm sure everything will be fine.

Depuis le confinement on se prend la tête tout le temps avec mon mari. – Since lockdown my husband and I have been fighting all the time.

Il faut que j’arrête de me prendre la tête pour rien. – I need to stop kicking up a fuss over nothing.

 

 


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