entre chien et loup

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Calque of Latin inter canem et lupum (between a dog and a wolf), because at that time in the day, one can't see the difference. Traditional sentiment, dating to antiquity (found in 2nd century C.E. texts), in French from the 18th century.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ɑ̃.tʁə ʃjɛ̃ e lu/
  • (file)


entre chien et loup

  1. (literally) between a dog and a wolf
  2. (by extension, idiomatic) at dusk, at twilight; gloaming
    • 1999, Anna Gavalda, “Petites pratiques germanopratines”, in Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part, →ISBN:
      Entre chien et loup, le boulevard s'est apaisé et les voitures sont en veilleuse.
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
  3. (photography) golden hour (used in same technical sense for “good photographic light at twilight”)

Usage notes[edit]

If used in poetic sense, witching hour, which describes a different time of day, when it is darker, but is similarly idiomatic, may provide a more evocative translation.[2]



  1. ^ Entre chien et loup, L’Internaute
  2. ^ Entre chien et loup, Naked Translations, February 6, 2004