When I was a kid, I would hear ‘grown ups’ using this phrase and I would immediately fall into some sort of day dream where I would figure out its meaning. What I often pictured was a somewhat surrealist image of a ‘candy’ raton (a young rat, or a raccoon, un raton laveur). But I never managed to understand what ‘candy’ (or qu’en dit-) could actually be. This part remained the unknown figure of the equation until I discovered that ‘candy raton’ was actually spelled ‘qu’en dira t-on’. And then, a new lexical universe opened up!
Le ‘qu’en dira t-on’ literally translates to ‘what are they going to say’ and can be use as a synonym for ‘gossip’.
In every day French, this phrase is often associated with the verb ‘soucier’: ‘Je ne me soucie pas du qu’en dira t-on’, is a very popular way of using it.
I asked my friend Marie to design a candy raton…you can see the result above!