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When I first learned French in high school, we were taught that mon œil was a way of expressing disbelief to another person, accompanied by a silly finger-eye gesture. For the French users here, I was wondering how prevalent this phrase is in French culture? Is it still used with both saying and gesture? If not, what is usually said in place of it?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Using Mon œil sounds a bit childish for grown ups.

Among young adults, you'll quite more often hear Mon cul! (literally My ass, quite vulgar, to be used very cautiously and with good friends only).

To be on the safe side, I would use Mais bien sûr! with an ironic tone. Something quite similar to this famous Milka commercial (check around 0:17).

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+1 Bravo pour la référence :) – jv42 Jun 8 '12 at 13:03
The difference between mon _oeil and mon cul is that, with the second one, you generally don't accompany it with the gesture... – smonff Jun 11 '12 at 18:53
That would be fun :) – Alexis Pigeon Jun 11 '12 at 19:12
Or: "Mais oui!", "Mais voyons!". – Laurent Couvidou Jun 12 '12 at 19:26

Another form that could amuse you English people is this common sentence we sometimes use to show our interlocutor he's really kidding :

"C'est ça, et moi je suis la reine d'Angleterre!"

which literally means:

"That's it, and me, I'm the queen of England!"

In fact this is quite equivalent to "mon oeil!"

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Il semble y avoir méprise ; un œil n'est pas seulement un organe de la vision, mais aussi, comme œillet et œilleton, mais aussi :

un trou destiné à faire passer quelque chose

comme un cordage en marine, un lacet pour une chaussure.

Je vous laisse deviner pourquoi l'expression est en fait très grossière.

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Le Robert
Locution exclamative familière : "Mon oeil! : se dit pour marquer l'incrédulité, le refus."

"Je ne te crois pas", "Tu [te] racontes des histoires qui ne correspondent pas à la réalité."

Son emploi est une question de personne et de moment : il peut paraître ringard en société, ironique s'il est savamment amené dans la réponse.

Entre familiers, il est plutôt signe d'une bonne humeur amusée apportant une réponse bienveillante à une affirmation naïve, lorsqu'elle va d'adulte à enfant.

Lorsqu'en plus on porte le doigt à l’œil (et que l'on abaisse la paupière inférieure), on attend que la personne admette son erreur.

Bien que les modes changent, l'expression et le geste seront parfaitement compris, surtout si c'est un non francophone qui l'emploie pour montrer qu'il n'est pas dupe.

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It is still used but it might sound a little too polite and childish (even more if you make an emphasizing gesture). What I usually say (with my friends) is "C'est ça" in an ironic way with a face that clearly shows disbelief. Nevertheless older adults might say that but it will sound a bit old or tacky ("ringard").

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+1. In a slightly more casual register than your C'est ça, I would just this other variant : Vachement... – Romain VALERI Jun 7 '12 at 21:34
Voire, c'est cela, oui – njzk2 Dec 15 '15 at 18:16

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