Chercher midi à quatorze heures

Woman standing with hanging clocks
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Expression: Chercher midi à quatorze heures

Pronunciation: [sher shay mi di a kah tor zeur]

Meaning: to make something more complicated, make a mountain out of a molehill

Literal translation: to look for noon at two pm

Register: normal


The French expression chercher midi à quatorze heures is a quirky way of telling someone that s/he is making an issue more difficult than it needs to be—turning something simple into something complicated. You might use it to mean someone has lost perspective or has gotten so caught up in a project that s/he is overdoing it.

The literal translation makes it seem more like you're trying to do something too late or to do something impossible, since of course at 2pm noon is long gone—but that's idiomatic language for you.


   C'est déjà parfait, je te dis—pourquoi cherches-tu midi à quatorze heures ?

   It's already perfect, I'm telling you—why are you making it more complicated?

Humorous variation: chercher midi à douze heures - to look for noon at twelve o'clock

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Chercher midi à quatorze heures." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Chercher midi à quatorze heures. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Chercher midi à quatorze heures." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 6, 2023).