The French language is peppered with expressions and being such a gastronomic place it should come as no surprise that it is particularly rife with culinary-inspired idioms. Here are 9 of my favourite French expressions.
Tomber dans les pommes
photo credit: Leading Line Photography via photopin cc
Literally “fall in the apples”. Meaning: to faint, to pass out.
Long comme un jour sans pain
photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via photopin cc
Literally “long like a day without bread”. Meaning: something very long and dreary, both physically like a long road, or more commonly the duration of an event like a long speech.
C’est la fin des haricots
photo credit: Mr.TinDC via photopin cc
Literally: “it’s the end of the beans”. Meaning: it’s the last straw, all hope is gone, the end of the world.
Sucrer les fraises
photo credit: Tim@creighton via photopin cc
Literally “to sugar the strawberries”. Meaning: to have shaky hands, be doddery. Implies getting old. This is probably, possibly in my top 3 favourite French expressions!
C’est pas tes oignons
photo credit: sleepyneko via photopin cc
Literally: “they’re not your onions”. Meaning: it’s none of your business.
Avoir la pêche
photo credit: I Nancy via photopin cc
Literally: “to have the peach”. Meaning: to be in high spirits, in a good mood.
Pédaler dans la choucroute
Literally: “to pedal in the sauerkraut”. Meaning: to be in a tricky situation and every effort to get out of it only makes it worse.
Mettre son grain de sel
Literally: “putting in your grain of salt”. Meaning: to stick one’s nose in, interfere with a conversation with an unsolicited comment.
En faire tout un fromage
photo credit: Chiot’s Run via photopin cc
Literally: to make a whole cheese about it. Meaning: to exaggerate something, make a big fuss.
The photo above is of a local supermarket’s doors, covered in food idioms! What do you think of these expressions? Do you have similar ones in your language?
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All expressions added to photos have been made by me. Photos credited where appropriate.
After many years I. Have just re read this blog. There are some very good expressions wish I could remember them.
It’s a good one isn’t it Nancie!
Excellent Sophie!! Love it!
You are so funny Richard!! 😀
C’est pas tes oignons…love it!;)
Some fab expressions here – although not my favourite which is “ne fais pas un flan” which I say to Hubs all the time when I want him to make me a “flan”, it goes like this “chéri, tu me fais un flan? Mais ne fais pas un flan!” followed by lots of laughter – 13 years in and the joke never gets old 😉
Phoebe sure knows her onions.
Maybe I should challenge myself to learning and using a new idiom once a month or so. I am sure I could use “mettre son grain de sel” when the boys are nosing into something that they have no business nosing into!
Another fan of granny in the nettles! You’re the 3rd to mention this fab phrase. I must start using it!!
Thanks Elena, it’s fun to keep trying!
What a fab post! The French are just obsessed with food (she says, thinking about what she could eat!). My all-time favourite is, “Faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties!”
I love the fact that so many French idioms focus around food! I’d been trying to insert some of these in my speech, but been failing a little ’cause my French is still so imperfect…
Anyways, that’s a fantastic list!
Another witticism from Richard! You are so funny!!
Ah, it takes another blogger to spot the work that has gone into this deceptively simple post! Thanks Steph for acknowledging it. It was fun to do. As for SEO, I’d love to think I’d got it right but it’s not my strong point and time will tell! Thanks for your enthusiasm!!
Oh I like that one Catherine, thanks for adding it!
I use quite a lot of these regularly, particularly sucrer les fraises whcih I love, but I know it takes time to feel at ease with idioms.
Amazing. It’s almost as if you could have your cake even though you’d eaten it.
What a fantastic post! Love this little insight into French life and culture, and you’ve done the images fantastically! I can see you’ve put a lot of time into it and it’s really beautiful I hope you’ve done your SEO wonderfully & get google hits for years to come 😉
Haha! That must be the blogger version of live long and prosper!!
I know them all… 😉 xx
So do I!
You’re the second person to mention mamie in the nettles!! I hadn’t heard of it before but I love it!
They’re great, aren’t they!
My favourite one, could be Australian, is ” don’t boil your cabbage twice” meaning don’t repeat yourself. Thanks for the French expressions. I didn’t know any of them
I love the idiosyncrasy of idioms and because they are so odd I do find them difficult to use in a foreign language. That said I use “Tomber dans les pommes” but possibly only because I can never remember the word for “to faint”! I blogged a while back about the other few French idioms I use so now I think I need to work on getting more of them into my everyday chit chat!
How funny! I love finding expressions and sayings in other languages x
Oh gosh, “pédaler dans la choucroute” was one I didn’t heard for quite some time, but I love it. We have indeed rather funny expressions. “Il ne faut pas pousser mémé (ou mémère) dans les orties”: don’t exagerate it, don’t be overdramatic and too egoistic. (one of my favorites, my son laughs everytime I use it.)
I’m loving some of these phrases
Valerie, there are so many wonderful expressions, I shall post more at a future date, but thanks for adding these. I must say I hadn’t heard about mémère and the nettles but I do rather like it!!
What about “poser une pêche”, “être chocolat”, “tirer les marrons du feu”, “faire ses choux gras” and “pousser mémère dans les orties” (my personal favorite although I admit that nettles are somewhat of an uncommon delicacy)?
Sucrer les fraises is my favourite one, must be getting old…