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Qu'est-ce que c'était bon ! J'ai bien cru que j'allais m'en faire péter la sous-ventrière !

The speaker stuffed himself with fine food and drink. The context leads me to believe that this expression is more or less an equivalent of "I’m stuffed", but its structure has me puzzled.

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A sous-ventrière is a cinch that passes under the belly of a horse. The expression means more or less eating and drinking so much that the belly (and any cinch around it) is ready to explode. It is a familiar expression that apparently was quite commonly used, but I have only read it in books, younger people are not that used to horses - and I'm not that young myself...

Some now more common expressions:

  • je m'en suis mis plein la lampe
  • j'ai les dents du fond qui baignent (may be a little more vulgar)

But à m'en faire pêter la sous-ventrière is still understood by native french speakers.

  • Then, what other colloquial expressions do french speakers nowadays use to express the idea of "I'm stuffed"? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 6 '16 at 14:48
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    @LUNA: see my edit – Serge Ballesta Nov 6 '16 at 15:03
  • You may also say "Je me suis fait pété le bide" :) – Random Nov 6 '16 at 16:28
  • Could the image of being "stuffed like a [Christmas] goose" or "feeling like a stuffed goose" be captured idiomatically in French with "[avoir l'impression] d'être gavé/e comme une oie [de Noël]" or "[sentir] comme une oie gavée"? I do see quite few hits on Google for both of them, but maybe they're just literal translations of the English.expressions (or maybe it's the other way around!). Thanks! cc: @LUNA – Papa Poule Nov 6 '16 at 23:20
  • @Random Good suggestion, even better with a correct grammar: "Je me suis fait péter le bide" ;-) – jlliagre Nov 6 '16 at 23:31
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Indeed, this expression is an equivalent of "I’m stuffed" in a rather colloquial way, but frankly, I've never heard anyone saying it.

Most native French speakers would understand, but they'd believe you made the expression up (which you can definitely do).

In your sentence, "J'ai bien cru que" definitely asks for an image, and the structure itself makes it colloquial. What I hear the most is "J'ai bien cru que j'allais exploser" (literally, "blow up").

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    Merci, c'est corrigé. – Anne S Nov 7 '16 at 8:15

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