French phrase of the day: Coûte que coûte

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French phrase of the day: Coûte que coûte
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When something is really worth it in France..


Why do I need to know coûte que coûte ?

Because it is timely, but also generally useful to know.

What does it mean?

Not to be confused with croûte - the delicious 'crust' of a bread or baguette - coûte means 'cost' as in the verb coûter, 'to cost'.

Coûte que coûte directly translates as 'costs what costs', but means 'at all costs' or 'whatever it takes' and this doesn't just encompass financial costs.

It is a phrase to use about tasks that look difficult to accomplish, but which you're willing to get done - no matter what.

Coûte que coûte been frequently used in France lately, as, Covid oblige (Covid obliges), we find ourselves in a situation where many things are more difficult than usual.

The government wants to avoid mass bankruptcies, coûte que coûte. If that means pumping out state money to keep business afloat throughout the crisis, then so be it.


Ski enthusiasts want to take their February holiday in the mountains, coûte que coûte. It doesn't matter that the lifts are closed, strap your skis on the back and walk up the mountain.

France also wants to keep its schools open, coûte que coûte. If that means school children have to be regularly mass-tested for the virus, then that's worth it.

Use it like this

Il faut absolument qu'on s'achête un appartement à un moment, coûte que coûte. On ne pourra pas louer eternellement. - We absolutely have to buy an apartment at some point, whatever it takes. We can't rent forever.

Qui va payer pour cette politique de 'coûte que coûte' ? - Who will pay for this politics of 'whatever the cost'?

Avec la crise Covid, on a vu l'importance d'avoir un système hospitalier solide, coûte que coûte. - With the Covid crisis, we've seen the importance of having a solid hospital system, whatever the costs.


À tout prix - at all costs

Quoi qu'il en coûte - whatever it costs


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