Péter les plombs

Do you remember the word péter, which means, among other things, “to blow up”? Today’s expression is pretty similar in French and in English: “to blow a fuse”.

Le plomb usually means “lead” (the metal), and is also a colloquial name for fuses (le fusible). There are several variants of péter les plombs, and all of them mean “to go crazy”:

  • péter un plomb (singular instead of plural),
  • péter un câble (“a cable”),
  • péter une durite (“a hose in a car radiator”).

Ma bagnole est encore en panne, je vais péter un câble.
My car broke again, it’s driving me crazy.

Il a pété les plombs quand sa femme l’a quitté.
He blew a fuse when his wife left him.

T’as vu la vidéo du mec qui pète un plomb à la télé ?
Did you see the video of the guy who goes nuts on TV?

Listen to the examples:

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