Qu'est-ce que le coiffeur fait ?
Le coiffeur imagine des coiffures.

While literally translated to “the barber invents hairstyles”, which obviously makes no sense, I'm wondering what the actual definition of “imaginer une coiffure” would be.

My Guesses:

  • to create a hairstyle — a whole new hairstyle? That's ambitious.
  • to imagine a hairstyle — I can do that right now.
  • to style hair (including cut, wash, apply products, etc) — seems like the right definition, but I'm not sure.

What would be the correct definition here?

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    the barber invents hairstyles is not literal translation here, though. Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 7:09
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    -Romain I realize it is not literal. -Amphiteóth I got rid of the idiomatic statement. I found it listed several times throughout my DELF study material. It basically listed professions with what they do. Instead of "couper les cheveux," it said "imaginer des coiffures." I would like to understand this to be able to reuse the term. Is it related to "imaginer des recettes?" Thanks.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 1:02
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    I haven't formulated an answer because I admit I don't see the difference between french and english here. What part of to imagine hairstyles (the literal translation) is unclear to you ? Of course it's kind of a metonymic use of the word. And obviously his job doesn't end with imagining. Once he has the idea, he applies it or I guess the customer won't be very happy. But imagining is the more creative part, so there's that. Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 1:26
  • What makes you think that the literal translation “the barber/hairdresser imagines hairstyles” is not the intended meaning? I don't know any idiomatic expression that it could match. Please provide the context. Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


In this context, we are talking about a hairdresser, more than a barber.

I would translate as "The hairdresser designs hairstyles".

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