Photo: The Art of Pics/Shutterstock

The 20 Weirdest French Expressions (and How to Use Them)

France Languages
by Morgane Croissant Jul 27, 2015

1. The French won’t tell you that “you’re going a bit far”…they’ll tell you not to “push grandma in stinging nettle” (Faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties).

2. The French are not “crazy”…they “play yoyo with the coffee pot” (Yoyoter de la cafetière).

3. The French don’t “lie”…they “make someone swallow grass snakes” (Faire avaler des couleuvres à quelqu’un).

4. The French are not “dead”…they “eat dandelions from the root” (Manger les pissenlits par la racine).

5. A French person is not “naive”…they let “their wool get eaten while it’s still on their back” (Se faire manger la laine sur le dos).

6. The French won’t say that someone “takes liberties”…they’ll say “we did not look after the pigs together” (On a pas gardé les cochons ensemble).

7. The French are not “brave”…their “eyes are not cold” (Ne pas avoir froid aux yeux).

8. The French won’t tell you that your work is “worthless”…they’ll politely say that it’s “goat’s poop” (C’est de la crotte de bique).

9. The French don’t “talk behind your back”…they “break sugar” on it (Casser du sucre sur le dos de quelqu’un).

10. The French don’t “add their two cents”…they “bring in their strawberry” (Ramener sa fraise).

11. A French person doesn’t say “he/she does not have long to live”…they say “it smells like fir tree” (Ca sent le sapin).

12. The French don’t “cry a lot”…they “cry like a madeleine” (Pleurer comme une madeleine).

13. The French won’t call someone “stupid”…they’ll say they are “as dumb as the moon” (Etre con comme la lune).

14. The French don’t say that someone is “hard of hearing”…they say that “their Portuguese are filled with sand” (Avoir les portugaises ensablées).

15. A French person won’t tell you that you speak “broken French”…they’ll say that you speak French “like a Spanish cow” (Parler français comme un vache espagnole).

16. A French person won’t defend themselves by saying “I’m not stupid”…they’ll say “I was not born during the last rain fall” (Je ne suis pas né(e) de la dernière pluie).

17. The French don’t say that something is “fizzling out”…they say “It’s turning into blood sausage water” (S’en aller en eau de boudin).

18. The French are not “very lucky”…their ass is “lined with noodles” (Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles)

19. The French don’t reprimand someone…they “soap them up” (Passer un savon à quelqu’un).

20. The French don’t “give up”…they “throw away the sponge” (Jeter l’éponge).

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.