‘Qui se ressemble s’assemble’: Our French expression of the week

We look at an expression relating to similarity in a week where enthusiasts of different pastimes come together for various festivals taking place around the country

We look at a French expression which would be translated to the English ‘birds of a feather flock together’
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This week, fans of ice water swimming are taking part in a competition in Samoëns (Haute-Savoie), while truffle enthusiasts enjoy the Fête de la Truffe in Dordogne and circus lovers attend the Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque in Marseille.

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This variety of festivals and events celebrating a specific pastime or interest made us think of the French expression: ‘Qui se ressemble s’assemble’ (literally: those who resemble each other get together).

In English, this would be translated as ‘birds of a feather flock together’, and it is interesting that the phrase also contains a rhyme in French, even though the language used in the expressions differs significantly.

Just like the English phrase, ‘qui se ressemble s’assemble’ describes the way in which people with similar characteristics, hobbies, habits or backgrounds appear to gravitate towards each other and are more likely to be friends.

For example, someone might express surprise that two people are friends or have become romantically involved, and another may reply simply: ‘Qui se ressemble s’assemble!

The phrase could also be translated as ‘like attracts like’.

Of course, although birds of a feather flock together, opposites also attract, both in English and in French, where ‘les opposés s’attirent’.

Another French proverb relating to similarities and differences within relationships is ‘il n’y a aucune mauvaise chaussure qui ne trouve sa pareille’. This means that no matter how average or flawed someone is, there is always someone for them.

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