Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Montrer patte blanche


How should I translate the expression montrer patte blanche?


The expression montrer patte blanche, which first appeared in a French fable by Jean de La Fontaine, became popular in the nineteenth century. Basically, it means to be straightforward about something or to present documents or credentials. The expression is interpreted and translated differently depending on the context. Here are some suggested translations:

  • appear open

    Le directeur veut montrer patte blanche par rapport aux suggestions.
    The director wants to appear open to suggestions.

  • be clean

    Si le comité veut montrer patte blanche, il devrait ordonner une enquête dans cette affaire.
    If the committee wants to show that it is clean, it should order an inquiry in the matter.

  • be honest; come clean; fess up

    Il est temps pour toi de montrer patte blanche.
    It is time for you to be honest (come clean, fess up).

  • present a boarding pass; present papers

    Avant de monter dans un avion, les passagers doivent passer par une barrière d'accès et montrer patte blanche.
    Before boarding an airplane, passengers must go through a gate and present a boarding pass (present papers).

  • put on kid gloves

    Montrer patte blanche et dire ce qu'il faut faire.
    Put on kid gloves and say what needs to be done.

  • redeem oneself

    La Ligue nationale de hockey essaie de montrer patte blanche quant au lock-out.
    The National Hockey League is trying to redeem itself with regard to the lockout.

  • show an ID card; show identification; show ID

    Vous devez montrer patte blanche au commissionnaire pour avoir accès à l'immeuble.
    You must show your ID card (show identification, show ID) to the commissioner to gain access to the building.

  • state one's credentials

    Les personnes qui remplissent cette section du formulaire doivent montrer patte blanche.
    Persons completing this section of the form must state their credentials.

So the next time somebody asks you to montrer patte blanche, you'll know what to do.