French Language Blog

Top 10 French Expressions Using the Word FORT (Strong) Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Vocabulary


You want to be FORT (strong) in French?

Well, then there is nothing better than learning new French idiomatic expressions…

À plus forte raison (especially) if the said expressions contain the word FORT (strong.)

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TOP 10 French Expressions Using the Word FORT (Strong):

  • 10 – Fort en…
The most obvious of all 10 expressions proposed today is fort en…, which means “strong in…”, as in “Tu es vraiment fort en géographie” (“You are really strong in geography”, which of course means to be very good at it.)
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  • 9 – Plus fort que (soi)
When you can’t help it about something, you say in French “c’est plus fort que moi“, literally “it’s stronger than me.”
Example: “Désolé, je ne peux pas m’empêcher de rire, c’est plus fort que moi!” (“Sorry, I can’t stop myself from laughing, I can’t helpt it!”)
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  • 8 – Avoir fort à faire
When someone is overwhelmed by work, or just extremely busy doing something, the person says: “J’ai fort à faire.
For example: “Je vous demande pardon, mes amis, mais je ne peux pas sortir avec vous, j’ai fort à faire aujourd’hui” (“I apologize, my friends, but I cannot go out with you, I’ve got my hands full today.”)
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  • 7 – Au plus fort de…
“At the height of…, at the pinnacle of…”
Un exemple: Elle a voulu acheter une nouvelle maison au plus fort de la crise financière” (“She wanted to buy a new house at the hight of the financial crisis.”) 
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  • 6 – Se faire fort de…
“To be very sure of…”, “to be confident of…”
In “J’accuse(“I Accuse”), the famous French author Émile Zola wrote: “Il se fait fort de confondre le traître, de l’amener à des aveux complets” (“He is confident to unmask the traitor, to bring him to a full confession.”)
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  • 5 – Le plus fort, c’est que…
Meaning: “The best part of it…”
Usually said in a highly ironic situation:
Ils se sont reveillés dans la rue, et le plus fort, c’est qu’ils ne se rappellent de rien” (“They woke up on the street, and the best part of it is that they don’t remember a thing.”)
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  • 4 – À plus forte raison que…
As mentioned on the intro of today’s post, this is essentially a different way to say “surtout que…“, “especially that…”
Example: “Tu devrais aller faire tes devoirs, à plus forte raison que les examens commencent dans une semaine” (“You should go do your homework, all the more so since the exams start next week.”)
Notice also that, especially in writing, French people often use the equivalent Latin expression “a fortiori
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  • 3 – Une forte tête
This French expression is pretty much straightforward: “Une forte tête” is a “strong head”, i.e. someone who is “hard-headed”, “stubborn”, “strong-minded”, etc.
Another way to express it is “une tête de mule” (literally “a head of a mule”)
Here’s a phrase you are likely to hear in a French gangster movie: “J’aime bien les fortes têtes dans ton genre…” (“I like the hard-headed ones of your type…”)
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  • 2 – Fort comme un Turc
In French, to be “as strong as a Turk” means to be extremely strong.
Par exemple: He may be originally Austrian, but “Arnold Schwarzenegger est fort comme un Turc
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  • 1 – C’est un peu fort!
C’est un peu fort“: “It’s a bit too much.” You say this experssion when someone crosses the limit, goes too far.
Là, c’est un peu fort, vous poussez le bouchon un peu trop loin!” (“Now, that’s a bit too much, you are pushing it a bit too far!”)


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