Absolutely! Idioms come up in conversations all the time, and they’re a great way to express yourself quickly and with personality. Just like English speakers rely on expressions like “raining cats and dogs” or “break a leg”, French people have their own list of lively sayings. Although some of these idioms may look a bit strange to you at first, natives use them all the time! Wondering how to start learning French? Idioms are an interesting opportunity for sure. To make things easier, we've compiled a list of some of the most commonly used French expressions and explained what they mean.
This idiom literally translates to "to do the fat morning", but what does it really mean? Well, this idiom is used when someone wants to say that they slept in late. So next time your french friend tells you they had a long sleep, don't be alarmed!
The phrase "coup de foudre" is one of the most well-known and widespread French idioms, and it translates directly to "thunderbolt" in English. It is used to describe a sudden strong feeling of love or attraction at first sight. This expression suggests that when two people meet, they have an instant connection and a sudden realisation that they are meant to be together.
The best way to translate this expression in English is “to drink like a fish.” It is used to express someone who drinks alcohol excessively and without moderation.
Just like everyone else, the French language also has plenty of idioms about the weather. A popular one is “Il fait un froid de canard” which literally means “It's as cold as a duck”! This phrase is typically used when it's extremely cold outside.
This expression is used to express the idea of calling something what it really is. Literally translated, it means "to call a cat a cat". The phrase implies that you should be honest and forthright when describing things.
This idiom is used to convey the sentiment of becoming angry when someone does something wrong or unfair. It literally translates to "the mustard has climbed up my nose" and is used in situations where one feels so frustrated that they are nearly ready to 'blow their stack'.
If you've ever heard a French person use the idiom "Tomber dans les pommes," it might have thrown you for a loop. Fortunately, the meaning of this saying is easy to remember. It translates quite literally to "fall into the apples", and it's used to indicate an instance where someone faints or passes out!
This expression literally means "to be in the moon". This expression describes someone who appears to be lost in their own thoughts, as if they were not on Earth, but instead somewhere up in the sky.
It’s very possible to hear a Frenchman utter the phrase “Ta guele,” it’s likely that you were left feeling rather confused. Translating directly to “your throat,” this French idiom is used as an exclamation of disbelief or dismay. It’s commonly used in response to something outrageous or illogical, similar to the English expression “You have got to be kidding me!”
If you hear the phrase "Ça coûte un bras" it means something is very expensive. This is an example of a french idiom that shows cost and value as related to body parts, with the idea being that something might cost so much that it's like having to give up an arm!
This literally translates to "to have the cockroach". It's used to describe someone who is feeling down, discouraged, or depressed. In English, its closest equivalent would be "to have the blues".