Favourite French Idioms

I’m trying to encourage my 63 year old brain to be better at French. I try and use idioms when I can, what’s your favourite everyday french idiom?

I find “desolé… mais je parle le francaise comme une vache espagnol” helps break the ice…

If this is a new one to you it means, i don’t speak french very well and references a view that basque people dont speak french very well…

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Je m’en fous


C’est la fin des haricots !

crétin va

I like using odd phrases, many of which I make up myself by just translating apt Chinese idioms.

However, a true French one, that is less widely known but gets a good laugh down here. Now in our second year people know to expect and even repeat it to me all summer - Je transpire des carottes!


C’est dingue!

Complètement dingue!

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Il pleut comme une vache qui pisse


Yes i like that one too!

Happily the xenophobia has been dulled down with basque turning into vache, but I wouldn’t use this phrase even in jest……

Mu current ear worm is
J’ai un coup de barre

Just “comme vache qui pisse” no une :slightly_smiling_face:

Someone expects you to give them something or do them a favour - Il peut se brosser= fat chance

J’en ai ras le bol = I’m fed up

Il a le cul bordé de nouilles = he is lucky

Il a un œil qui dit merde à l’autre = he has a divergent strabismus or by extension any lazy eye or squint


Thanks @vero - noted! The number of references to vache in Normandie is extraordinary but I suppose it’s not all that surprising…

Il/elle a son caractère.

That certainly gets bandied about… when not wishing to be drawn (about someone) and, depending on the tone of voice, it can be joking or serious… :wink:

Rightly or wrongly… “mais, pas de neige” is what I offer when folk are moaning about the weather (or whatever) and that nearly always stops 'em in their tracks and respond with a smile/chuckle…

Ça m’en bouche un coin!
Ça t’en bouche un coin, hein ?

En voiture Simone ! (those with some older French TV culture will understand)

Prendre son pied…

Jeux de mains, jeux de vilains…

and the list goes on !

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" Il faut se magner le popotin"
Which means, I think, “I have to get moving.” (Not strictly-speaking idiomatic)

Move yo ass :joy:

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Il faut faire avec…

“Les doigts dans le nez” - it’s easy to do.

“Renvoyer l’ascenseur” - return a favour.

“Je dis ça, je dis rien” - just saying

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“le canard” is not only a feathered-friend, but a delicious cube of sugar soaked in eau de vie (hic) :+1: :+1:


Also a ‘news’paper!

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Yep… and I’d long thought that a padlock was a “canard” but that was 'cos folk here talk very fast and my brain simply chose the word which “cadena” sounded like…
"aha, it’s another duck :wink: "

Yet, it wasn’t until yesterday that a neighbour corrected me (with a smile of course)…
perhaps it was because he’s deaf and I was ennunciating my words (big mistake… :rofl: :rofl:)