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coup dans l'eau

English translation: fruitless effort

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:coup dans l'eau
English translation:fruitless effort
Entered by: Hélène Treloar
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02:26 Jan 11, 2008
French to English translations [PRO]
History / Historical Controversy
French term or phrase: coup dans l'eau
In a book where the people in a German town are challenged to find a Carolingian palace or town to prove that Charlamagne was there.

Context:

"...on devrait y retrouver ou y avoir retrouvé le palais d'Aquisgranum et la capitale des Carolingiens-s'ils y ont jamais existé. Il y a quelques années, les Allemands ont organisé un concours public et offert un prix important à qui trouverait un palais ou une ville carolingienne. Est-il nécessaire de dire que cette initiative a été un**coup dans l'eau?**

Merci!

femme
Barbara Cochran, MFA
United States
Local time: 16:34
fruitless effort
Explanation:
an other way to say came up empty..
Selected response from:

Hélène Treloar
Local time: 15:34
Grading comment
Worked just great, given the overall tone of the piece. Thanks!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2a vain effort, all in vainxxxBourth
4 +2a wasted effort
Michael GREEN
3 +2fruitless effort
Hélène Treloar
4 +1was all for nothingMatthewLaSon
5was (turned out to be) just a drop in the bucket...
peekay
4came up emptyemiledgar
3dud / dead duck
L.J.Wessel van Leeuwen


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
came up empty


Explanation:
was a complete waste of time.

emiledgar
Belgium
Local time: 22:34
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 12
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46 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
was all for nothing


Explanation:
Hello,

I think it's from the French expresson "un coup d'épée dans l'eau" (hitting the water with a sword). What good is that going to do you?

It was all for nothing...
It was all in vain...

I hope this helps.

MatthewLaSon
Local time: 16:34
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Etienne Muylle Wallace
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, etienne!
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48 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
fruitless effort


Explanation:
an other way to say came up empty..

Hélène Treloar
Local time: 15:34
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Worked just great, given the overall tone of the piece. Thanks!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Michael GREEN: I think your confidence level could be higher here, Helen !
4 hrs

agree  Victoria Burns: definitely
6 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
dud / dead duck


Explanation:
just suggestions...

L.J.Wessel van Leeuwen
South Africa
Local time: 22:34
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in DutchDutch
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
a wasted effort


Explanation:
a "coup (d'épee, as Matthew points out) dans l'eau" is a waste of effort ...
an alternative to Helene's suggestion

Michael GREEN
France
Local time: 22:34
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Attorney DC Bar
20 mins
  -> Thanks Rufinus

agree  Diane Partenio
10 hrs
  -> Thank you Diane
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
a vain effort, all in vain


Explanation:
But I can see I'll be accused of being too literary again ;-)

xxxBourth
Local time: 22:34
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 154

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Michael GREEN: But we all enjoy your literary style, Bourth ...
2 hrs
  -> I was fishing for that, of course ;-)

agree  katsy
3 hrs
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
was (turned out to be) just a drop in the bucket...


Explanation:
I think it is a bit closer to the spirit of your sentence although I do'nt disagree with the other recommendations.

peekay
Canada
Local time: 16:34
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
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Changes made by editors
Jan 20, 2008 - Changes made by Hélène Treloar:
Edited KOG entry<a href="/profile/123909">Barbara Cochran, MFA's</a> old entry - "coup dans l'eau" » "fruitless effort"
Jan 20, 2008 - Changes made by Barbara Cochran, MFA:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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