Ne pas manger de ce pain-là
Translated literally as, not eating that kind of bread, this expression means refusing to act in a way that goes against your values, steering clear of a situation or behavior that you think is immoral or illegal.
By extension, Je ne mange pas de ce pain-là, may simply mean I strongly disagree with a moral connotation as in: I'm not that kind of person, I want nothing to do with this because I have higher standards.
This expression should not be confused with ça ne mange pas de pain - it doesn't eat bread - used to mean that something can't hurt. It may or may not be of much use, but if it does not eat into your food supplies, it is worth a try.
According to the Dictionnaire historique et philologique du français non conventionnel, ne pas manger de ce pain-là was first recorded in Le Conte de la Ramée in 1784, with pretty much the same meaning as it has today.
Bread in French idioms often figures as a symbol of sustenance - a reminiscence of a time when many people survived on little else than bread. In short: you’ll live if you have it and die if you don’t. What this expression does is oppose two kinds of people: those who would do anything to get a piece of bread, and those who would go hungry rather than eating bread that was acquired in a way that doesn’t sit right with their sense of ethics.
Je ne mange pas de ce pain-là is the title of a 1936 book of poems by French surrealist Benjamin Péret (1899-1959); it is also the epitaph that was engraved on his tombstone at the Batignolles cemetery.
Je pourrais utiliser Chat GPT pour faire mes devoirs, mais je ne mange pas de ce pain-là.
I could use Chat GPT to do my homework, but I won't because it wouldn't feel right.
Certains utilisent leurs relations pour obtenir des avantages, mais pas nous; nous ne mangeons pas de ce pain-là.
Some use their acquaintances to obtain favors, but we don't do that. We are not that kind of people.
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