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Nadege Preston

Nadege Preston


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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!

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French idioms

French idioms

Idioms form part of our language, and without even realising, we often use them in our everyday lives. Consequently, I find that in schools, tutorials, at university etc. we often are not taught idioms when learning a foreign language. They may not be vital for speaking the language, but when in France, you will need to understand them as there are many which are often used. This guide to understanding French idioms will aim to help you gain a better understanding of the French language, and if you are able to use an idiom or two when speaking French, or even simply being able to  understand them, French-speakers will be highly impressed.


Below are the French idioms, in alphabetical order, the English translation, and the literal translation.


avoir le cœur sur la main - to be generous - to have the heart in the hand


avoir une faim de loup - to be really hungry / famished - to have a wolf's hunger


bête comme un âne – to be very stupid - dumb as an ass


ça me dit quelque chose – it rings a bell – that tells me something


ce ne sont pas vos oignons - it is none of your business - those are not your onions


comme ci, comme ça - neither good nor bad, so-so - like this, like that


comme un poisson dans l'eau - at ease, like a duck to water – like a fish in water


en un clin d’œil – in a flash – in the wink of an eye


être bouche bée – to be flabbergasted – to be mouth open


faire la grasse matinée - to have a lie-in - to do a fat morning


faire la tête – to sulk – to do the head


malin comme un singe - very clever - smart like a monkey


manger comme quatre - to eat a lot - to eat like four


(être) mort de rire (mdr) - laughing out loud (lol) - (to be) dead from laughter


mon petit lapin/loup – my darling – my little rabbit/wolf


poser un lapin à quelqu'un – to stand someone up - to pose someone a rabbit


quand les poules auront des dents – when pigs can fly – when hens will have teeth


qui vivra, verra - time will tell - who lives will see


se plier en quatre - to bend over backwards/to do your best - to fold oneself in four


suivre comme un mouton – to follow obediently - to follow like a sheep


têtu comme une mule - stubborn as a mule - stubborn like a mule


tomber dans les pommes - to faint - to fall in the apples




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