What exactly does this mean and how is it used? Google tells me it means to run, and I’m assuming that’s not the same as courir. The latter I think refers to the physical act of running while the verb in question means to run as in a campaign, a show, something of that nature?


An affiche is a poster (of a show, a movie, a play), so the idiom

tenir l'affiche

means a show is "holding its poster", i.e. is currently running somewhere and has enough success to keep going day after day.

There are also the expressions:

être à l'affiche

which just means a show is running now, without giving any indication about its success and

tenir/occuper/partager/quitter/... le haut de l'affiche ("to hold/occupy/share/leave/... the top of the poster")

which means that a show or a part of a show is the most successful of its kind, or a person has his/her name listed first on the poster of a show/movie, or is simply one of the leaders in some domain.

  • I had no idea such an idiom existed. Would it be translated literally, then, in a given phrase? i.e. J’adore The Lion King, c’est vraiment tenir l’affiche ! to mean I love The Lion King, it’s really successful/holding its poster! – tssmith2425 Jun 12 '19 at 2:57
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    C'est vraiment tenir l'affiche doesn't work. Moreover, tenir l'affiche means the show is effectively on stage/on display so the expression can't be used afterwards at the present tense. You might only say something like: Le Roi lion a tenu le haut de l'affiche plusieurs mois ! or ... a tenu l'affiche pendant cinq mois. You also say La souricière (The Mousetrap) d'Agatha Christie est à l'affiche sans interruption depuis soixante-six ans – jlliagre Jun 12 '19 at 3:25
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    "Tenir le haut de l'affiche" c'est être l'attraction principale d'un spectacle, soit en anglais to headline a show – qoba Jun 12 '19 at 5:16
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    @qoba Oui, c'est le sens original de l'expression mais elle est très souvent utilisée au sens figuré aujourd'hui. – jlliagre Jun 12 '19 at 7:53

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