Your current hand in five-card poker is disappointingly unglamorous with just a measly one pair.

The adjective "measly" is used here to emphasise that One Pair is considered low(est) in value as a poker hand.

In saying this phrase, the following three adjectives come to mind, but I find myself wavering between them, as these synonymous words ought to have shades of meaning that make one of them more appropriate than others for a given context.

1st: minable ... 2nd: piètre ... 3rd: pauvre ... or something else?

Which adjective do you find most appropriate to use to express this idea?

  • Are you using “with just a measly one pair” (instead of simply “with just a measly pair” or “with just one measly pair”) in the English to emphasize that the hand’s unglamorous nature is the result of its having only one pair, regardless of the strength of that pair? If so, maybe it would be best to avoid adjectives/constructions in French that could imply that the pair was a low/weak one and try to find a way (as you did in English) to emphasize that the real issue is that the hand is weak because it only has one (sad/lonely) pair (?“avec juste une [seule/pauvre/malheureuse] paire”?).
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


Piètre doesn't work well here (too formal and outdated) but minable and pauvre are fine:

juste une pauvre petite paire

juste une paire minable

Here are other suggestions:

juste une petite paire de rien du tout

juste une petite paire ridicule

  • So those four adjectives -- pauvre, minable, ridicule, de rien du tout -- generally match well with something representing a sum or an amount such as a salary, I take it? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 10:31
  • Also: "minable" and "petite" are rather mismatched? Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 10:35
  • For a salary, un salaire minable and un salaire ridicule would best fit. Un salaire de rien du tout if fine too but not un pauvre salaire. Petite paire minable and une minable petite paire are possible.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 8:10
  • @Alone-zee What do you mean "are rather mismatched" ? Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 7:28

As a native French speaker I would not use any of these adjectives but rather say:

... juste une misérable paire.

Misérable is a false friend and doesn't mean sad but "really poor and weak". It can be applied to humans (c.f. les miserables) but also to object/situations, where it often contains a bit of irony:

Tu ne vas pas aller loin avec tes 3 misérables euros.

It is thus fine to express the weakness of a poker hand.

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