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My top 13 of the funniest French expressions

I heart linguistics and love words & phrases from different country especially knowing and understanding where they are coming from. For expressions, we have a whole lot in French and whilst some of them make perfect sense and others are funny, some are completely weird and I wonder/ed why they’re being said. Here is my top 13 of the weirdest French expressions:

Enjoy!

#13: Mentir comme un arracheur de dents

Literal translation: Lie like a tooth puller/dentist

English equivalent: none ?

Meaning:  have a guess….

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It refers to dentists (anciently called tooth puller) who assured their patients that the operation was painless. it’s not today and it was certainly not at the time! Aie aie aie…

#12: Bruyant comme un tonneau vide

Literal translation: Loud as an empty barrel

English equivalent: none? The English aren’t as mean as the French, are they? Come one… I need to search further or HELP?!

Meaning:  have a guess….

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The most ignorant people speak without saying anything consistent…

#11: Mettre du beurre dans les épinards

Literal translation: Put butter in the spinach

English equivalent: put butter on your bread

Meaning:

“Put butter in the spinach” means that one improves their living conditions, and in general in the financial field. In fact, butter symbolizes the ease and simplicity (like in English I’m guessing) while spinach would refer to a delicate situation, even trouble. Is it the bread for the English?

#10: Con comme une valise sans poignée

Literal translation: Dumb as a suitcase without a handle

English equivalent: None? Help again?

Meaning:

It is the image of an object unusable in this instance the suitace can’t be carried => someone stupid

#9 : Grimper au Rideau

Literal translation: climb the curtain

English equivalent: send somebody into raptures (really???? More romantic…)

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Meaning:  Take a lot of sexual pleasure, orgasm.

#8: Clouer le bec à quelqu’un

Literal translation: nail someone’s beak

English equivalent: shut someone up

#7: Fumer la moquette

Literal translation: smoking carpet

English equivalent: talk nonsense

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Meaning:

When addicts have nothing to smoke, they can get on their knees to look for small pieces of cannabis that would have been on the carpet; usually, this means smoking dirt, even the carpet itself => Do or say anything, as if under the influence of drugs.

#6: Donner de la confiture aux cochons

Literal translation: giving jam to pigs

English equivalent: Give pearls before swine

#5: Les anglais ont débarqué

Literal translation: The English have landed

English equivalent: none (?) I hope…

Meaning:  have a guess….

In 1815, when Bonaparte took a final slop in Waterloo (you guys were so organised), the English landed in France and occupied it until 1820 (Noooooo! So bad!).

At that time, the English were dressed in red uniforms. The link between this flood of red English invading the country and the capital and the red flow of menstrual blood has been easy to make in 1820, it’s a Parisian phrase in (bad) memory of the occupants. Ooopss… And still in use… Ouch…

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#4: Rire comme une baleine

Literal translation: laughing like a whale

English equivalent: laugh out loud; laugh one’s head off; laugh like a drain.

#3: prendre ton pied

Literal translation: take one’s foot

English equivalent: have a blast

Meaning:

to take pleasure from something, usually to come, have an orgasm.

This expression dates from the nineteenth century. The foot meant a ration at the time of the corsaires: it was the unit of measure to share the property of a booty. More generally, it is used when someone is happy.

#2: Ne pas être sorti de l’auberge

Literal translation: we’re not out of the hostel/inn

English equivalent: We’re not out of the wood yet…

Meaning:

The most employed phrase in France and the second preferred one.

In slang, the word ” hostel” meant ” prison”. This expression means that we will still have to spend a long time in a ” prison” (physically or emotionally) => Still have a lot of trouble to face.

 

#1 – Les chiens ne font pas des chats

Literal translation: Dogs do not make cats

English equivalent: The apple never falls far from the tree

Meaning: Children resemble their parents.

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Hope you enjoyed! @ Bientôt

Tell me which one was easy for you to guess and which didn’t make sense at all.

On the same notes, this page is quite interesting: http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/20-funniest-french-expressions-use/

A good book to read for the Francophiles…

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