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Accorder ses violons


What does accorder ses violons mean, and how can I translate it?


Accorder ses violons literally means “to tune one’s violins.” Figuratively, it means to agree on something or reach an agreement with another person. The expression originally comes from the 15th-century phrase accorder ses vielles. A vielle is a stringed instrument that was used at that time. The expression plays on two meanings of the verb accorder: to tune and to harmonize or to bring together.

Here are a few ways to translate it:

  • agree on
  • Ils doivent dresser une liste de priorité pour leurs programmes de formation et ils doivent accorder leurs violons.
  • They need to prioritize their training programs, and they need to agree on how to do this.
  • come or get together
  • Les municipalités et les provinces doivent accorder leurs violons en la matière.
  • The municipalities and the provinces must come together (get together) on this matter.
  • get one’s act together
  • Je leur conseille d’accorder leurs violons sur la question des dossiers confidentiels.
  • I suggest they get their act together on the issue of confidentiality.
  • get one’s stories straight or square or keep one’s stories straight
  • Mettez-vous d’accord et accordez vos violons si vous ne voulez pas d’ennuis!
  • Make up your minds and get your stories straight (get your stories square, keep your stories straight) if you don’t want to get into trouble!
  • reach a consensus
  • Comme tout le monde le sait, il est difficile d'accorder tous ses violons ensemble sur ce sujet.
  • As everyone knows, it is very difficult to reach a consensus on this subject.
  • reach an agreement
  • Les deux pays tentent d’accorder leurs violons sur les changements climatiques.
  • The two countries are trying to reach an agreement on climate change.
  • read from the same page
  • Les deux ne disent pas la même chose concernant cet événement. Ils devraient vraiment accorder leurs violons.
  • The two of them are not saying the same thing about what happened. They should really be reading from the same page.
  • reconcile one’s stories
  • Ils doivent accorder leurs violons concernant cette histoire contradictoire.
  • They need to reconcile their conflicting stories.
  • sing from the same hymn book or hymn sheet or song book
  • Accordez vos violons si vous voulez que les gens croient vos propos.
  • You should sing from the same hymn book (hymn sheet, song book) if you want people to believe you.
  • sing the same tune
  • Ils n'accordent pas leurs violons sur le sujet.
  • They are not singing the same tune on the issue.