French Language Blog

More Colloquial French Posted by on Jun 29, 2009 in Vocabulary

I broke my husband’s iPhone yesterday and no, he was not content.  And just like many other people in today’s society, I decided to share this event with all of my friends on Facebook.  About an hour later, one of my French friends responded with “Tu as des mains à faire des mottes!” and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, so I did some investigating.  And it turns out that ‘avoir des mains à faire des mottes’ is an expression from the Languedoc region where Montpellier is located and where my friend is from.  Well, ‘motte’ can mean ‘a clod of earth’ or ‘slab of butter’.  So, it looks as though in this case it is referring to the slab of butter and my friend is referring to the fact that my hands are slippery perhaps.  Maybe a native French reader out there could help me out with this one by leaving a comment…???
In any case, this Facebook comment got me thinking about expressions again because after all, they are quite fun.  So, today I’ll give you some more expressions with ‘avoir’.

avoir le pot près des talons to be short
avoir du pot to be lucky
avoir le cul bordé de nouilles to be very lucky
avoir le nez creux to have flair
avoir les dents longues to be very ambitious
avoir une araignée au plafond to be a bit crazy, but not so much that you are dangerous or bothersome
avoir un polichinelle dans le tiroir to be pregnant
avoir un cœur d’artichaut to easily and often fall in love
avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre to ask for more food than you can eat
avoir un nom à coucher dehors to have a name that is difficult to pronounce or remember

And now, j’ai un poil dans la main (I’m feeling lazy), so I’m going to end this article now.  I hope you enjoyed it!

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  1. AA:

    “avoir des mains à faire des mottes” veut dire maladresse (nom féminin)

    1) caractère d’une personne maladroite, de ses gestes, de ce qu’elle réalise;
    2) défault de savoir-faire dans la conduite, dans les actions; ou
    3) action maladroite; impair.

  2. Alan Kirkby:

    En Angleterre nous appelons quelqu’un “butterfingers” s’ils tombent quelque chose – me semble semblable!

  3. Chanda:

    Merci pour votre aide!