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'Grosse déception pour Adrian Mattenet. Le Français a été éliminé pour son entrée en lice face à l'Autrichien d'origine chinoise…'

'Huge disappointment for Adrian Mattenet. The Frenchman was eliminated after joining the fray against the Austrian of Chinese extraction, Weixing Chen…'

With the Olympics well under way in London, there is no shortage of sports-related vocabulary making the headlines.

The excerpt above from this morning's Équipe provides us with an example of the phrase être en lice / entrer en lice. This colourful expression means 'to enter the fray', 'to join the fray', 'to be in the running', etc.

Consider the following examples:

  • Laure Manadou est entrée en lice sans pression.
    = Laure Manadou made the running without (any) pressure.
  • Nathalie entre en lice.
    = Nathalie has joined the fray.
  • Il est toujours en lice pour remporter un troisième titre.
    = He is still in the running to win a third title.

Note that the French word lice is pronounced like the English words 'peace', 'niece' and 'cease'.

One final thing… it goes without saying that the expression être en lice has nothing to do with head lice! Those nasty critters are les poux (que l'on peut avoir dans les cheveux …)

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