French Language Blog

Parlez-vous Français?: A Study of French Expressions (Part 7) Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Grammar, Vocabulary

This is the final installment in our series on French expressions. When writing the posts for this series, I wanted to help readers inject a little humor into their conversations with native French speakers. The purpose was to amuse, surprise and even impress your listener. If you usually converse with people who are just learning French, you might not get the same results. In the end, these are simply to help you appreciate the breadth of the French language and to familiarize yourself with witty sayings you might not hear very often.

Be sure to check out posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 if you haven’t already.

**Phrase in parentheses is the literal translation, or as close to it as possible.**

Raconter des salades (Telling salads) – Telling lies.

Fier comme Artaban (Proud like Artaban) – Being very proud, even arrogant.

Avoir des fourmis (Having ants) – Feeling antsy/restless, wanting to move.

Avoir du sang de navet (Having the blood of a turnip) – Lacking courage.

Presser quelqu’un comme un citron (Squeezing someone like a lemon) – To exploit another person.

La fin des haricots (The end of beans) – To feel hopeless.

Dormir comme un sabot (Sleep like a shoe/clog) – To be in a deep sleep, similar to the expression “Sleeping like a log.”

Tuer le temps (Killing time) – Distracting oneself to avoid boredom, like the English expression “Killing time.”

C’est une huile (It’s an oil) – To be a person of high stature/influence.

Partir les pieds devant (To leave with feet in front) – To die/pass away.

Jamais deux sans trois (Never two without three) – Similar to the English expressions “Third time’s a charm” or “When it rains, it pours.”

Aller au charbon (Going to the coal) – To do all the work/to make a living.

Pas folle, la guêpe! (Not crazy, the wasp!) – He/she is smart/cunning.

Se serrer la ceinture (To tighten one’s belt) – To cut back/make do.

Ramener sa fraise (To bring back one’s strawberry) – To have a pretentious attitude.

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  1. Mike Kelly:

    C’est pas grave — no big deal