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Weird and Wonderful Idioms

By Rebecca Connell

It's easy enough to wheel out a few standard GCSE French Phrases, but "Une bière et un poulet frites" will only get you so far. They say the real spirit of a language is in its idioms, so Franceinlondon collected a few to help you roll with the natives...


Idioms and expressions:


  • Ah, la vache! (lit: oh, the cow!): oh my god!
  • A l’eau de rose (lit: with rose water): sentimental/soppy
  • A Toutes les sauces (lit: with all the sauces): in all sorts of ways
  • Au poil (lit: to a hair): perfect; flawless
  • Avoir la gueule de bois (lit: to have a wooden face): to have a hangover
  • Avoir le bourdon (lit: to have the bumblebee): to feel down/have the blues
  • Avoir le cafard (lit: to have the cockroach): be down in the dumps; have the blues
  • Avoir le démon de midi (lit: to have the midday demon): to have a midlife crisis
  • Avoir un chat dans la gorge  (lit: to have a cat in your throat): to have a frog in your throat
  • Avoir une peur bleue de quelque chose (lit: to have the blue fear): to be scared stiff of something
  • Avoir une araignée au plafond (lit: to have a spider in the head): to have a screw loose
  • Les carottes sont cuites (lit: the carrots are cooked): I've had it/that's enough
  •  Quand on parle du loup (...on en voit la queue) (lit: When you talk about the wolf (you see its tail)): speak of the devil
  • Se fair une toile (lit: to make a fabric): Go to the movies.
  • Un film trop mortel (lit: a film too mortal): such a good movie (used by young people only)
  • C'est la fin des haricots. (lit.That's the end of the beans.): It's the last straw or that's the end of it.
  • Marcher à côté de ses pompes. (lit.To walk next to one's shoes): To be out of it.
  • Arrête ton char! (lit. Stop your chariot!):  Stop bluffing!
  • Aller au charbon (lit.To go to the coal (mines)): To do something very difficult or arduous.
  • Casser les oreilles- "Tu me casses les oreilles!" (lit.To break someone's ears): With too much/too loud music, talking, etc.
  • Boire comme un trou(lit. to drink like a hole): to drink like a fish, to get wasted.
  • Poser un lapin(lit. to leave a rabbit) to stand someone up .


23/06/2011 - ewen.boulouard said :

"Etre au bout du rouleau" is also funny. It is to be very tired.

12/06/2011 - info said :

I bow down hmbuly in the presence of such greatness.

22/05/2011 - fkgoble said :

I like 'casser sa pipe' (die) as well.


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