Un petit tour par la case maquillage et je suis toute pimpante, mais aussi très endormie, pour retrouver mon amoureux.

I don't understand the meaning of the nouns "tour" and "case" in this context, as well as if "maquillage" is an adjective.

2 Answers 2


It' a humourous way of putting "un petit moment à me maquiller"; it refers to a board game played by the French in the last century and probably still today; it is called "Le jeu de l'oie" (ref). In this game each of the squares corresponds to an activity and the speaker in her sentence identifies life to a series of activities well confined to compartments, as in the game.

"case" is "square"; "tour" is "turn"; as you throw dice in the game you get from one square to another.

The construction "case maquillage" is the common construction of compound nouns; it means "square where the make-up is applied".

  • 5
    Although the answer is correct, I'm not too sure about the reference. A lot of games, sometimes very old ones, use "cases". Chess, checkers or simply Monopoly. I actually would rather think of Monopoly as the source for the expression. Indeed, "Passer par la case maquillage" is not very different from "Passer par la case départ", a classic in Monopoly.
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 11:45
  • I think it come from monopoly too Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 12:49
  • @LaurentS. Squares are also used in those games but their meaning is not related to life and they have essentially no Identity except in chess as the initial square of a given piece; the squares are related to life as concerns Monopoly but they are very specialised, as they represent real estate, almost uniquely property. In the "jeu de l'oie", however, even if the variety of possibilities is small, they are representative of life in general and not restricted to property. In Monopoly "La case départ" really means "a start from nothing in the domain of ownership".
    – LPH
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 22:01
  • I've heard this idiom in conjunction with 'ne touchez pas 20 000 francs', which is clearly from Monopoly. But then the latter could have inherited the phrase 'passer par la case x' from the Jeu de l'Oie.
    – mcadorel
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 6:50

Un tour, especially un petit tour, implies a detour from your primary purpose/goal. Not a major detour, especially if a petit one, but not where you were originally meaning to go.

La case is a box, or more generally a topic, an area of interest.

So here what you have is something like 'a small detour into the makeup area and I'm all spiffy, but very sleepy, to go meet my lover'.

  • 2
    In that... case, the word case means square (like in a board game) rather than box
    – Cid
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 8:18
  • @Cid Indeed, although a case is not necessarily square. In board games, the French case likely comes from the Spanish / Italian / Portuguese casa (house) and was probably first used in that context for chess, jeu de l'oie or toute-table/trictrac/backgammon. In the latter case, the cases are triangles and an early French jeu de l'oie used egg shaped cases.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 14:42
  • There is absolutely no reason to think that a board game is meant here rather than a box. A board game area is just a 2-dimensional box anyway, and by no means always square :-)
    – user13512
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 22:42

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