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21 French Expressions That Will Make You Laugh

France Languages
by Jonathan Ducretot Jun 12, 2017

Every country has its own set of expressions that, for an outsider, don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. They can vary from state to state, province to province, or even neighborhood to neighborhood. And even if you’re fluent in the language, that doesn’t mean you’ll get what people are really saying when they use local colloquialisms.

These French sayings that are common in parts of France are all proof. Sure, they may not make sense literally, but that’s what makes them all the more interesting.

French expressions for love

1. French people don’t “fall madly in love,” they “have a thunderbolt”: Avoir un coup de foudre.

2. French people don’t “have sex,” they “send each other in the air”: S’envoyer en l’air.

French expressions for stress, anger, and sadness

3. French people don’t “feel depressed,” they “have the cockroach”: Avoir le cafard.

4. French people don’t say “it drives me crazy,” they say “It’s taking my head”: Ca me prend la tête.

5. French people don’t “have a lot on their plate,” they “have bread on the board”: Avoir du pain sur la planche.

6. French people don’t “spaced out,” they are “in the West”: Etre à l’Ouest.

7. French people aren’t “fed up with something,” they “have a bowl full of it”: En avoir ras le bol.

8. French people are not “afraid of something,” they “have a blue fear” of it: Avoir une peur bleue.

9. French people don’t “feel bad,” they “aren’t in their plate”: Ne pas être dans son assiette.

10. French people don’t “lose their temper,” they “have mustard going up their nose”: Avoir la moutarde qui monte au nez.

French expressions for different states of mind

11. French people aren’t “hung over,” they have a “wooden face”: Avoir la gueule de bois.

12. French people are not “stupid,” they “have the same IQ as an oyster”: Avoir le QI d’une huître.

French expressions for doing certain things

13. French people don’t “eat on the go,” they “eat on the thumb”: Manger sur le pouce.

14. French people don’t “bite off more than they can chew,” their “eyes are bigger than their belly”: Avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre.

15. French people don’t say “it’s very cold,” they said “this cold is made for a duck”: Un froid de canard.

16. French people don’t say “things get nasty,” they say “things are turning into vinegar”: Touner au vinaigre.

17. French people don’t “sleep in,” they “have a fat morning”: Faire la grasse matinée<.

French expressions for spending money

18. French people don’t “waste money,” they “throw money out the window”: Jeter l’argent par les fenêtres.

19. French people don’t say “for next to nothing,” they say “for a mouthful of bread”: Pour une bouchée de pain.

20. French people don’t say “it costs a fortune,” they say “it’s as expensive as the eyes of my head”: Coûter les yeux de la tête.

21. French people aren’t “rich,” they “ride on gold”: Rouler sur l’or.

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