In English it's very common to use the expression “I know it like the back of my hand” to express that you know or understand something extremely well.

In French I found “connaitre par cœur”, “connaitre comme le fond de sa poche” and “connaitre sur le bout des doigts”. In which context is each of those appropriate?

Are there any other French expressions of similar popularity and meaning?

  • 2
    Les traductions les plus courantes : Je le connais comme le fond de ma poche ; je le connais par cœur
    – Personne
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 14:44
  • When I was kid, my mom funnily used "Je te connais comme si je t'avais fait" ie "I know you like if I had made you".
    – Taladris
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 6:49

2 Answers 2


I would say connaître sur le bout des doigts, the others have slightly different meanings

  • connaître par cœur is straightforward knowing by heart. See also apprendre par cœur → learn by rote
  • connaître comme le fond de sa poche or just comme sa poche is generally use for place, e.g. one usually knows his hometown comme le fond de sa poche.

I would say that the French expression "je connais X sur le bout des doigts" is the closest to “I know X like the back of my hand” in terms of meaning and image. For meaning only, I agree with cl-r's suggestions.

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