French Expression of the Day: Au forceps

French Expression of the Day: Au forceps
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This is a useful expression for describing a task which requires great effort - and may even apply to your new year's resolution.

Why do I need to know au forceps? 

Because this is how health authorities have described efforts to convince anti-vaxxers get their shots. 

What does it mean? 

Au forceps, pronounced “oh four-seps”, is a French expression used to qualify a task as particularly difficult. It is one of the few French words where the s on the end is not silent. 

In both English and French, forceps are medical tools used as pincers or tweezers, often in surgery.

The word also describes the instruments sometimes used to help pull a baby out during a difficult childbirth. 

How to use it

Convaincre les gens est un travail au forceps – Convincing people is difficult work 

Le budget a été adopté au forceps – The budget was passed with difficulty

L’équipe a eu deux victoires au forceps – The team won two difficult victories 

La monnaie unique a été conçue comme le moyen de faire advenir au forceps une nation européenne – The single currency was conceived of as a tough way to bring Europe together as a nation 



Avec beaucoup de peine


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