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French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées

The Local France
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French Expression of the Day: Avoir des idées arrêtées
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This type of person knows what they like, and more importantly, what they don't like.

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Why do I need to know avoir des idées arrêtées ?

Because your friend who will only watch certain movie genres might be described this way.

What does it mean?

Avoir des idées arrêtées roughly pronounced ah vwar dayz ee-day arr-eh-tay –  translates precisely to “to have stopped ideas.” 

In its normal usage, the phrase translates more accurately as “to have strong opinions” or "to have fixed ideas" - being uncompromising in your one’s viewpoints. 

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Another way to describe this type of person in French might be “catégorique” (or ‘categorical’ in English). 

You might also hear this expression as “des idées bien arrêtées” - meaning someone who has ‘very’ strong opinions. Depending on context, this phrase might have a bit of a negative connotation, particularly if it is being used to portray someone as being stubborn.

Use it like this

Elle a des idées arrêtées sur les films, comme elle refuse de regarder tout autre film que ceux de Marvel. Elle ne veut même pas regarder les films DC. – She has very strong opinions about films, for instance she only watches Marvel movies. She won’t even watch DC movies.

Tout le monde dit qu'il a des opinions arrêtées, mais je l'ai trouvé flexible sur certaines choses... comme le choix d'un restaurant. – Everyone says he is uncompromising, but I find him to be flexible on some things, like choosing a restaurant.

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