French phrase of the Day: Etre à la traîne

French phrase of the Day: Etre à la traîne
If you know someone who needs to catch up and get with the programme, this is the phrase for them.

Why do I need to know être à la traîne?

Because the French often use it to describe someone who is lagging behind, and you’ll hear it a lot in the upcoming elections. 

What does it mean? 

Etre à la traîne is the French phrase for to ‘be behind.’

It can be used to speak of someone who is literally lagging behind, when a group is walking for example.

But it can also be used in the figurative sense for someone who is behind the times. 

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See also on The Local:

During elections, this phrase is typically used to describe a candidate who is behind in the polls, but it can also be used for something that is behind in terms of progress. 

Use it like this

Dépêche toi, tu es encore à la traîne ! – Hurry up, you’re behind again!

Tu es à la traîne, ces lunettes ne sont plus du tout tendance ! – You’re behind the times, these glasses are no longer trendy!

Dans la région Paca, ce candidat est à la traîne dans les sondages – In the PACA [Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur], this candidate is lagging behind in the opinion polls. 

Ce pays est à la traîne en terme de développement durable  – This country is behind in terms of sustainable development


Rester derrière – To stay behind

Être en retardTo be late

Être dépasséTo be outdated 

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