Vous n'êtes pas sorti de l'auberge.

Does this expression have two different meanings, depending on context?

1: You have not even got past the first phase of the entire process yet.

1: You still have a long road ahead of you.

2: You are not out of the woods / danger yet.

2: It will still be some time before you are out of danger.

  • There is no idea of danger in the idiom. Out of the woods is the most usual way to say it.
    – Lambie
    Nov 4, 2016 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


The idea behind this expression is that you are really far from your goal, all the most difficult parts are still to be done, and you already have a hard time progressing. The goal can be very different things: to literally go out of some woods, to find a solution during a meeting, to make someone understand something, to win a death battle against deadly opponents...

Usually you say that when you realize how far you are from your goal and that it is very likely that you won't ever manage to accomplish it. A dangerous goal and a difficult goal are considered the same way: a goal you have big chances not to manage to accomplish. This may be because of a danger, but this notion is not included in the expression. The danger is only pertinent as long as it makes the goal more difficult to reach.

Notre convoi avait à peine franchi la pancarte qui indiquait la sortie du village que des brigands nous avaient dérobé la moitié de nos biens. Nous n'étions pas sortis de l'auberge !

-Je vais t'apprendre l'algèbre, connais-tu le théorème de Xarkavsky ? -Non, mais je sais compter jusqu'à 10 ! -On n'est pas sortis de l'auberge...

Si tu continues à faire des pauses toutes les dix minutes, on n'est pas sortis de l'auberge !

  • 2
    To be out of the woods is an idiomatic expression that fits: ne pas être sorti de l'auberge. It has nothing to do with literally "going out of the woods". Also, there is no idea of danger at all in either the French or the English, really. Though some context might introduce the idea of danger.
    – Lambie
    Nov 4, 2016 at 15:41
  • edited, thank you ! Nov 4, 2016 at 16:17

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