French Expression of the Day: Achète-toi une vie

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French Expression of the Day: Achète-toi une vie
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This French expression is not the gentlest, but it is useful.


Why do I need to know achète-toi une vie?

Because it's an excellent casual but brutal dismissal. 

What does it mean?

Achète-toi une vie - roughly pronounced ah-shet twah oon vee - technically translates as ‘buy yourself a life’. 

If someone says this to you, then you have every right to be offended - it is the French equivalent of ‘get a life’.

Equally rude in both languages, this expression should be reserved for jokes or situations where you really want someone to leave you alone.


The phrase is most commonly used in French-speaking Canada, and less frequently in mainland France. You’ll probably see it pop up in the French press from time to time - especially when quoting an English speaker who has told someone to ‘get a life’ (eg environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s 2022 response to influencer Andrew Tate).

A less rude way of telling someone to mind their own business would be “Occupe-toi de tes oignons”.

Use it like this

Achète-toi une vie et arrête de me poser des questions indiscrètes. - Get a life and stop asking me inappropriate questions.

Ce type m'a suivi depuis le magasin jusqu'à ma maison, alors j'ai crié “Achète-toi une vie”! - That guy followed me from the store to my house, so I shouted ‘Get a life’! 


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