Cherchez la Femme - The Most Sexist French Expression

Cherchez la Femme Meaning
Plume Creative / Getty Image Prestige.

Cherchez la femme is an expression that has somewhat shifted meaning between French and English. Literally, this expression translates as "look for the woman".

Cherchez la Femme (Not Churchy la Femme) English Meaning

In English, this expression means "same problem as ever", kind of like "go figure". It's often misspelled as "Churchy la femme"!

- I'm still hungry.
- Cherchez la femme! 

Cherchez la Femme French Meaning

But its original meaning in much more sexist

The expression comes from the 1854 novel "The Mohicans of Paris" by Alexandre Dumas.

Cherchez la femme, pardieu ! Cherchez la femme !

The phrase is repeated several times in the novel.

The French meaning is no matter what the problem may be, a woman is often the cause. Look for the mistress, the jealous wife, the angry lover... there is a woman at the root of each problem.

- Je n'ai plus d'argent. I no longer have money.
- Cherchez la femme. Look for the woman - ie your wife must have spent it all.

The only thing more sexist may be the so often misused phrased: "voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir". Check it out, because I bet you don't REALLY know what it means...