From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: The end of the French beans

Best equivalents: It is the end of it all. The end of the road, when all hope is lost.


One said that the expression took roots in boarding schools, where food was meager. Beans were part of each meal, so when there were not even beans left, that was the end of everything. Others mention origins dating as far back as the Middle Ages where hunger was frequent. In any case, the expression signals a loss of hope and can be used in different contexts. Just a few examples:

When it is obvious that a soccer team won’t possibly catch up with its opponent, when a business can only close, when someone has to go bankrupt, when a relationship is deteriorating so much that there is no hope to salvage it.


See you tomorrow for the letter I, part of the A to Z challenge!




  1. Oh no – uplifting. We need some uplifting expressions 🙂

  2. Our Irish Mother use to say, “No beans about it.” I wonder if she got the idea from the French expression?

  3. This looks fun and fascinating… only today when I said I was flat stick, meaning hopelessly busy,, my partner said where does that come from…

  4. elle est super cette expression!!! 😀

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Evelyne – interesting to know where that phrase came from … love that it goes back so far … cheers Hilary

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