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10 funny French idioms
Feb 13, 2017

10 funny French idioms


Every language has its own figurative language, full of particular constructions and sayings which gradually become part of the common tongue. They are therefore called idiomatic expressions or idioms, because they are characteristic of a specific linguistic system. Their meaning cannot be assumed by the significance of the single words which compose them (for example think about the English “kick the bucket”, that simply means “to die”) and frequently they are related to ancient traditions, customs or superstitions. Often these expressions have very old origins which are unknown to the speaker, even if they are using them on a daily basis.

The use of idioms is very common in French, so learning how to use them will make you sound more natural and help you a lot in informal situations (otherwise you can get very confused while hearing them talking about people who drink like a hole or do things with fingers in their nose!).

Here you can find some pleasant French idioms that will make you sound like a native speaker:

  • J’ai pété un plomb” literally “I have broken a fuse”, meaning “I went crazy”.
  • tu as la patate!” lit. “you’ve got the potato”, which means that you are in a good shape.
  • il boit comme un trou” literally “ he drinks like a hole!”, meaning that he drinks excessively.
  • il a cassé sa pipe” literally “he’s broken his pipe”, which means he died.
  • je le fais les doigts dans le nez literally “I can do it with my fingers in the nose”, meaning that you can do something with eyes closed.
  • c’est comme pisser dans un violon” literally “it’s like urinating in a violin”, which can be translated with “it’s like talking to a wall”.
  • j’ai un poil dans la main” literally “I have a hair in my hand, which means you are lazy.
  • tu vois 36 chandelles” literally “you see 36 candles”, meaning you see stars.
  • ça me gonfle!” literally “I’m getting swollen by that”, which means that you are annoyed by something.
  • tu n’attaches pas ton chien avec des saucisses” literally “you don’t tie your dog with a sausage line”, which means that you are cheap.




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