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French expression of the day: Remettre le facteur sur le vélo

French expression of the day: Remettre le facteur sur le vélo
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Don't worry, this is not a tax you pay for biking in France.

Why do I need to know remettre le facteur sur le vélo?

Because it's quirky slang expression that has several meanings.

What does it mean?

Tap “remettre le facteur sur le vélo” into Google translate, and you get “put the postman back on the bike”.

If this sounds odd, it is. Remettre le facteur sur le vélo actually is a slang expression that can be translated as 'get back to it', 'get on with it', or 'to get back in the saddle'.

This latter is perhaps the best translation, although remettre en selle is more common.

Its historical roots are said to come from postmen in rural areas being offered powerful home-brewed booze by farmers, which made them a trifle unsteady on their Post Office bikes, but these days it is generally just a way to say 'get back on one's feet' (figuratively).

If you are hungover from yesterday's very boozy evening and bracing yourself for another night out, you can say Allez-hop ! On remet le facteur sur le velo. – Okay! Let's get on with it.

Remettre le facteur sur le vélo can also refer to particularly strong alcohol. If so, it's the drink in question that remet le facteur sur le vélo.

Use it like this

Inutile de traîner les pieds, remettons le facteur sur le vélo. – No use in dragging things out, let's get back in the saddle.

Après la pandémie il nous faudra du temps pour remettre le facteur sur le vélo. – After the pandemic we will need time to get back on our feet.

Dis-donc, ta liqueur fait maison remet le facteur sur le vélo ! – Gosh, your homemade liqueur has a real kick!

Synonyms

Remettre en selle – get back in the saddle

 


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