6

It is about

someone who is in a very difficult situation, and who will take any available opportunity to improve it

An example:

Facing the possibility that his marriage might be over, John began visiting psychics to help him decide what to do. A drowning man will clutch at a straw.

I have checked on the internet but couldn't find one. Do you know any?

3
  • 1
    Hello. It'd better if you provide an example of usage of this idiom and what is its meaning. – Dimitris Jun 21 '20 at 12:19
  • 1
    i have added the meaning. – MoonHorse Jun 21 '20 at 12:22
  • 1
    Could you please also provide an example of usage in, e.g., a possible dialogue? I.e. give some context. I'm sure that native speakers will find a French idiom conveying the meaning (not necessarily a one-to-one). – Dimitris Jun 21 '20 at 12:23
4

No native speaker of French and English. According to: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/a_drowning_man_will_clutch_at_a_straw

"a drowning man will clutch at a straw"

has an equivalent shorter version

"grasp at straws".

According to https://www.linguee.fr/anglais-francais/traduction/grasping+at+straws.html one gets some ways to convey the desired meaning in French (not necessarily the Metropolitan French) such as:

It is total grasping at straws. On fait flèche de tout bois.

Or are we clutching at straws here? Ou parlons-nous à tort et à travers ?

and so on.

According to https://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-francais/grasping+at+straws one may also use:

se raccrocher aux branches

e.g.

I mean, they must be really grasping at straws. Ils doivent vraiment se raccrocher aux branches.

Cf.

https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/se_raccrocher_aux_branches

https://www.languefrancaise.net/Bob/35991

EDIT

(Thanks to native speaker @Pas un clue).

'Se raccrocher aux branches'

is an option. In the exact contexte, one may use

«on tente de se raccrocher à n'importe quelle branche»;

or

«...à n'importe quoi»;

but it's not as colorful as the original English idiom. A couple of examples of usage in French: 1; 2. A literal translation from English to French is provided here. The image may not be customary in French, but very understandable nonetheless.

EDIT 2

(Thanks to native speaker @Personne)

Another way to convey the same meaning:

Se donner au premier saint venu.

1
  • Entendu, mais sans référence écrite dans ngram : « Se donner au premier saint venu » – Personne Jun 22 '20 at 9:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.