Discover common French idioms to use in everyday conversation.
Order a Coffee
Learn how to order coffee in French like a real French person, not like a tourist. Don't confuse your cup of cappucino, it has enough to be concerned about.
A French Village
Join the 'Comme une Française' videographer for a walk in the French countryside, in Haute-Savoie. French culture is so much more than baguettes and fields of flowers, but it's a good start.
Learn common French gestures, so you can avoid mistakes and communicate more clearly with French people.
Idioms tell a lot about the French people and culture.
Here's a list of commonly-used French idioms below:
Aller se faire cuire un œuf
- to go jump in the lake
Literal translation: to go and cook yourself an egg.
Avoir un chat dans la gorge
- to have a frog in your throat
Literal translation: to have a cat in your throat.
En faire tout un fromage/plat
- to make a mountain out of a molehill
Literal translation: to make a whole cheese.
Faire la grasse matinée
- to sleep in
Literal translation: to make a fat morning.
L’habit ne fait pas le moine
- you can't judge a book by its cover
Literal translation: clothes don’t make the monk.
Il faut souffrir pour être belle
- no pain, no gain
Literal translation: one has to go through pain to be beautiful.
Ne pas y aller avec le dos de la cuillère
- not to go in with half measures
Literal translation: not to go with the back of the spoon.
Ne pas avoir sa langue dans sa poche
- not never be at a loss of words
Literal translation: not to have one's tongue in one's pocket.
Pas avoir de quoi fouetter un chat
- no need to get your knickers in a twist
Literal translation: nothing to whip a cat about.
Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid
- little strokes fell great oaks
Literal translation: little by little, the bird builds his nest.
Quand les poules auront des dents
- when pigs fly
Literal translation: when chickens have teeth.
Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent.
- When the cat's away, the mice will play.
Literal translation: When the cat isn't there, the mice danse.
Qui vole un œuf vole un bœuf
- give somebody an inch, they'll take a mile
Literal translation: someone who steals an egg steals an ox.
revenir à ses moutons
- to get back on topic
Literal translation: to go back to one’s sheep.
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