Nous ne pouvons pas les mettre au pied du mur.

English Translation

We can’t call their bluff.

Is this an idiom? We can’t put them at the foot of the wall?

Hi James,

Yes it is, but I don’ think it’s a very good translation of the English sentence here.

I think that “to be up against the wall” would be better.

Apparently this expression dates back to the 16th century, back when fencing matches were quite a thing… One of the fencers would back off to protect themselves, until eventually they would find themselves up against the wall / “au pied du mur” or “have their back to the wall” / “être dos au mur”.