"American Airlines prend du plomb dans l'aile après trois vols désastreux…"
"American Airlines are weakened after three disastrous flights…"
The news headline above is an interesting one, referring to the difficult situation in which AA finds itself following problematic flights, difficult relations with employees, delays, cancellations, etc.
It utilises the expression prendre du plomb dans l'aile which conveys the idea that a someone, company, an entity, etc, has been diminished or weakened by an event or series of events. Other expressions which convey a similar idea are être handicapé, être mal en point, être affaibli.
The origin of the expression is the injury to – and weakening of – a bird which has been hit and has received lead 'shot' in one of its wings. The expression is perfectly suited to the plight of an airline company but can be used in a wider context, too. Voici d'autres exemples:
- Dans le delta du Nil, la démocratie a pris du plomb dans l'aile.
= In the Nile delta, democracy has been weakened/diminished.
- Malheureusement, le projet a pris du plomb dans l'aile et a été annulé.
= Unfortunately, the project was hit badly/weakened and was cancelled.
Faites attention à la prononciation! On ne prononce pas le b de plomb. Le mot aile se prononce comme elle.
Note! Don't confuse the expression above with the expression mettre du plomb dans la tête à quelqu'un which means 'to make someone think more carefully (following a particular event)'.
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