Raisonner comme une casserole


This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to the culinary world. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Raisonner comme une casserole.”

Literally translated as, “reasoning like a saucepan,” it means demonstrating poor logic, formulating arguments that are evidently flawed. It is a colloquial expression that should only be used in informal conversation.

Example: “Ce n’est pas la peine d’essayer de discuter avec lui, il raisonne comme une casserole.” “It’s not worth trying to talk to him, he reasons like a saucepan.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

(If no player appears, here’s a link to the audio file.)

It’s not hard to imagine that debating philosophical matters with a saucepan would lead you nowhere, but there is actually a little more to this idiom than that: it is in fact a pun that plays upon two homophonous verbs, raisonner, which means to reason, and résonner, which means to resound. So when you say, “il raisonne comme une casserole,” it is really a double entendre, meaning that the person has as much sense as a saucepan, but also implying that if you banged him on the head, it would likely echo.

You may encounter another, non food-related version of this expression, raisonner comme un tambour (reasoning like a drum), based on the same idea.

[Curious about the saucepan pictured above? You are so my kind of person! I am pleased to introduce my new vintage enameled cast iron saucepan, which is part of the Coquelle line designed by Raymond Loewy for Le Creuset in 1958. It has a round base but a squarish rim, and my beloved cocotte is overjoyed to get such a cute new sibling.]

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