Du haut de ses 15 saisons, ce qui est déjà en soi un bel accomplissement, Grey's Anatomy continue de ravir ses fans fidèles et de combler sa chaîne américaine, ABC.

Even after consulting dictionaries, I can't figure out what this expression wants to say and how it can be paraphrased for the same meaning.

  • 1
    Generations of French people learned this sentence at school: Soldats, du haut de ces pyramides, songez que quarante siècles vous contemplent pronounced by Napoléon Bonaparte in Egypt, but probably not exactly that way
    – jlliagre
    Jun 26, 2019 at 1:05

2 Answers 2


"Du haut de [qqchose]" (literally 'from the top of [smthing]') usually indicates watching/managing something from a higher position after achieving the something referred to.

A certain disdain usually leaks from these words: the subject is standing above and looks down on the following part of the sentence.

Exemple: Du haut de mes 25 ans d'expériences, je suis à même de ... Intending to say: I am mature enough, so I am obviously capable of doing ...

In your example, the words are written by someone else, thus there is no contempt, and the author just praised the longevity of the show.

In this case, you could re-write it: "Après plus de 15 saisons, [...]"

  • Thank you. What does combler mean in this context?
    – Dasshoes
    Jun 25, 2019 at 6:22
  • Combler is 'to fill'. When you 'comble' someone, you are implying with happiness (You 'fill' him so he has no holes for desire anymore), but here it is the channel ABC that is being 'combler', so you have room for interpretation: it can literally means they continue to fill it with content, or figuratively they continue to make the channel happier.
    – Pims
    Jun 25, 2019 at 6:48
  • @Pims "combler" here stands for "make the channel happy", there's no ambiguïty and there never is as soon as you're not talking about some kind of empty space that gets filled.
    – Laurent S.
    Jun 25, 2019 at 11:45
  • I understand your point, it isn't wrong. However I feel that a channel can be filled, can't it?
    – Pims
    Jun 26, 2019 at 6:07

Locutions of that sort stem by analogy from one unique fixed locution according to the TLFi, D 3, and that's "du haut de sa grandeur".

Loc. adv. (Syntagme défini) Du haut de sa grandeur D'une façon hautaine, avec un air de supériorité. Regarder qqn du haut de sa grandeur.

  • Le beau Mistral, fier comme le roi David, lui disait [à la vieille] du haut de sa grandeur : « Laissez, laissez, la mère... les poètes, tout leur est permis... ».

TLFi, D 3 Loc. fig., fam. (Regarder, traiter, juger qqn) du haut de sa grandeur. Avec mépris, avec condescendance ou avec indifférence. Cf. grandeur I A 1.
P. anal. (Regarder, toiser qqn) du haut de sa gloire, du haut de son piédestal, du haut de son trône, du haut de leur supériorité; du haut de sa condescendance, de sa science, etc.

  • D'abord je suspectais le major de vouloir me sonder pour me juger du haut de son savoir.

The Larousse en ligne confirms that contempt is indissociable of the use of that expression. This shows that the writer is redefining the meaning, shifting it so that what is meant is simply "du sommet de" or "de la hauteur de". Moreover, the construction is awkward: the antecedent of the pronoun "ce" is not well defined; a clear formulation would have been as follows;

  • Du sommet de quinze saisons, qui par leur nombre constituent déjà un bel accomplissement, Grey's Anatomy continue de ravir ses fans fidèles et de combler sa chaîne américaine, ABC.

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