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French phrase of the day: A la Saint-Glinglin

French phrase of the Day is A la Saint-Glinglin
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
You may be waiting a while for this day to come around.

Why do I need to know à la Saint-Glinglin?

Because otherwise you might be waiting for people to fulfill promises they never made.

What does it mean?

It’s a remnant of France’s Catholic heritage – to this day, every day is associated with the name of a saint, and it is traditional to offer a gift to people who share a name with the saint who is honoured on a particular day.

Some of these are more well-known than others, such as Valentine’s Day on February 14th, which is known as La Saint-Valentin in French. But every day has its saint.

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So when is La Saint-Glinglin, you ask? Well, never. La Saint-Glinglin is a fictional name day, and this expression works precisely because it doesn’t exist.

If you say you’ll do something à la Saint-Glinglin, you’re pushing it back to a day that doesn’t exist. In other words, you’re probably never going to get around to it.

It’s like saying you’ll do it “on the 10th of never”, but the Catholic version has the added bonus that people who aren’t aware of the expression could confuse it for an actual day.

As usual in French, you don’t pronounce the final consonants, so it’s pronounced similarly to “ah la Sah Glah-Glah”.

Use it like this

Il me remboursera à la Saint-Glinglin – He’ll pay me back when hell freezes over

Je te laisserai porter cette robe-là à la Saint-Glinglin – I’ll let you wear that dress when pigs fly

‘Est-ce que tu vas ranger ta chambre ?’ ‘Je le ferai à la Saint-Glinglin’ – ‘Are you going to tidy your room?’ ‘I’ll do it on the 10th of never.

Synonyms

Quand les poules auront des dents – When pigs fly (literally, when chickens have teeth)

Tous les trente-six du mois – Once in a blue moon (literally, the 36th of every month)


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