Éric Zemmour, the far-right probable candidate for the 2022 French presidential election said (in his book La France n'a pas dit son dernier mot but also in many meetings, example) that Lenin has said:

In French: "Faites-leur manger le mot, ils avaleront la chose" or "Faites-leur avaler le mot, ils avaleront la chose."

Translated into English: "Make them swallow the word, they will swallow the thing."*

I cannot find any reference. Did Lenin or somebody else really say something similar?

  • 1
    Irrelevant to your actual question, but is the quote grammatically correct French? My French is rusty but the 'leur' looks off to me.
    – quarague
    Nov 16, 2021 at 16:33
  • 1
    Translating Lenin into French and then translating what a French person says about it into English is fraught with difficulty. I'm not sure if there is a French idiom there, but in English: "to eat one's words" means "to retract what one has said". OTOH in English "to swallow" means "to believe" in some contexts. Nov 16, 2021 at 17:10
  • 2
    @quarague Yes it is grammatically correct, I'm a French native speaker.
    – Polk
    Nov 16, 2021 at 18:32
  • 1
    @WeatherVane I agree, l'm removing the "make them eat the word" as an English translation to avoid confusion.
    – Polk
    Nov 16, 2021 at 20:17
  • 3
    Perhaps a French speaker could explain what this means in French, rather than a literal translation, so we can compare to the duplicate more easily?
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 16, 2021 at 23:42


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