le beurre et l'argent du beurre

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Literally "the butter and the money from [selling] the butter"

Noun[edit]

le beurre et l'argent du beurre

  1. (idiomatic) Two mutually exclusive things that one can only choose one over another; having one's cake and eating it too.
    Tu ne peux pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.
    You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Usage notes[edit]

  • While the French expression is used mostly with avoir and vouloir, a variety of construction with verbs such as obtenir or garder are possible, unlike in English.