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Idiomatic Expressions

It’s good to learn the idiomatic expressions of a language you want to learn. Not everything is translated literally, and unless you learn these expressions, you’ll be left with scratching your head. So I’ve compiled a few of these helpful expressions for your reference. 🙂

Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles.

Literal translated: To have the ass surrounded by noodles.

Idiomatic expression: To be a lucky so-and-so.

Pédaler dans la semoule.

Literal translation: To pedal in semolina.

Idiomatic expression: To go around in circles.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine.

Literal translation: The habit doesn’t make the monk.

Idiomatic expression: The suit doesn’t make the man.

Chanter comme une casserole.

Literal translation: Sing like a saucepan.

Idiomatic expression: Someone who can’t sing/sings flat.

Avoir le cafard.

Literal translation: To have the cockroach.

Idiomatic expression: To feel blue/feel down.

Faut pas pousser mamie dans les orties!

Literal translation: Don’t push granny into the nettles!

Idiomatic expression: Don’t push your luck!

Être dans de beaux draps.

Literal translation: To be in beautiful sheets.

Idiomatic expression: To be in a right mess.

Noyer le poisson.

Literal translation: Drown the fish.

Idiomatic expression: Change the topic/confuse the issue.

Il pleut des cordes.

Literal translation: It’s raining ropes.

Idiomatic expression: It’s raining cats and dogs.

C’est la fin des haricots.

Literal translation: It’s the end of the beans.

Idiomatic expression: Nothing more can be done.

Il me court sur le haricot.

Literal translation: He’s running on my bean.

Idiomatic expression: He’s getting on my nerves.

Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard.

Literal translation: It doesn’t break three legs of a duck.

Idiomatic expression: Nothing to write home about.

Faire une queue de poisson.

Literal translation: Make a fish tail.

Idiomatic expression: Cut someone off.

Avoir le cul entre deux chaises.

Literal translation: To have one’s ass between two chairs.

Idiomatic expression: To sit on the fence.

Revenons à nos moutons.

Literal translation: Let’s come back to our sheep.

Idiomatic expression: Let’s get back to business/get back on track.

Manger les pissenlits par la racine.

Literal translation: Eat the dandelions by the root.

Idiomatic expression: Push up daisies.

Avaler des couleuvres.

Literal translation: To swallow snakes.

Idiomatic expression: To be gullible.

Être rond comme une queue de pelle.

Literal translation: To be round as a shovel handle.

Idiomatic expression: Drunk as a skunk.


I hope everyone is having a great week! Let me know if you like posts like this, and I can make more. Also, if anyone is having difficulty understanding the idiomatic expressions in English, let me know and I’ll be happy to explain it. I know a lot of my readers come from non-English speaking countries, and English isn’t their first language.

Merci à vous !

Courtney

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French Idioms Lesson 4

Here is your quatrième lesson in French idioms!


Oh la vache !

Idiomatic meaning: “Holy cow!” or even “Oh my God!”

Literal meaning: “Oh the cow!”

Here’s how you can use it:

Oh la vache! Il fait vraiment mauvais dehors!

Oh my God! It’s really ugly outside!

Oh la vache! Ce travail est vraiment difficile!

French Idioms Lesson 3

Here is your troisième lesson in idioms!


Avoir une peur bleue

Idiomatic meaning: To be terrified

Literal meaning: To have a blue fear.

A blue fear is an intense fear. You may actually even call it more of a terror than a fear.

 

Here’s how you can use it:

Il a une peur bleue des araignées.

He is extremely scared of spiders.

 

Tu m’as fait une peur bleue.

You scared the crap/hell out of me.

 

French Idioms Lesson 1

Just as learning verbs, nouns, vocabulary, etc. is important to learning a new language, so is learning idiomatic expressions whose meanings cannot be translated literally. In addition to my weekly posts, I will be sharing an idioms post every week, for as many as I can find. 🙂 Let me know if you’d prefer one idiom per post, or two.

Ils étaient sur les dents

Idiomatic meaning: They were under great pressure.

Literal meaning: They were on their teeth.