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French phrase of the day: Comme cul et chemise

French phrase of the day: Comme cul et chemise
Why, in France, nothing says friendship like an arse and a shirt. No, really . . .

Why do I need to know comme cul et chemise?

Because it is a very strange expression that doesn't really make any sense.

What does it mean?

Comme cul et chemise directly translates as 'like arse and shirt', but it is really the French version of the English expression 'two peas in a pod' – ie two things that are very similar or very close.

Being 'like arse and shirt' is a French metaphor for friendship, complicity or similarity between two people, the idea being that their closeness is like that between the body (le cul) and a piece of clothing (la chemise).

Cul is one of the more vulgar ways of addressing one's behind in France (there are many).

READ ALSO: Moon, loaf and firecracker – 12 French words that actually mean 'butt'

 

According to French online dictionary l'Internaute, the expression originated during the 17th Century.

Back then the full expression was generally ils sont deux culs dans une chemise (they are two arses in one shirt) or ce n'est qu'un cul et une chemise (it's only one arse and shirt), according to another online dictionary Expressio.

Use it like this

There are not a lot of different ways of using this expression. Generally it's used in same way as the English 'two peas in a pod'.

On sait tous que ces deux-là sont comme cul et chemise. – We all know that those two are like two peas in a pod.

Ils sont jumeaux mais très loin d'être comme cul et chemise. – They're twins but far from being like two peas in a pod.

Synonyms

Copain comme cochon – friend like a pig (two peas in a pod)

Larrons en foire – thieves at a fair (two peas in a pod)


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