36 terms

A collection of idiomatic expressions in French

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Faire la tête
to sulk ("to do the head")
Garder la tête froide
to keep one's cool ("to keep the head cool")
Se creuser la tête
to think really hard, to try to remember something ("to dig into your head")
Se casser la tête
to go to a lot of trouble, to worry about sb/sth ("to break your head")
Coûter les yeux de la tête
to cost an arm and a leg ("to cost the eyes from the head")
Se mettre le doigt dans l'œil
To put your foot in it, to make a mistake ("to put your finger in your eye")
être bouche bée
to be open-mouthed, gapping, flabbergasted ("to be mouth open")
être sans voix
to be speechless ("to be without voice")
Donner sa langue au chat
to give up ("to give one's tongue to the cat")
avoir (un mot) sur le bout de la langue
to have (a word) on the tip of your tongue
Avoir les dent longues
to be ambitious, to have lofty goals ("to have long teeth")
Avoir un poil dans la main
to be lazy, to avoid work ("to have a hair in the hand")
Manger sur le pouce
to grab a bite to eat, to eat on the run ("to eat on the thumb")
Ne rien faire de ses dix doigts
to be lazy ("to do nothing with one's ten fingers")
Prendre ses jambes à son cou
to take to one's heels, to run away ("to take one's legs to one's neck)
Casser les pieds à quelqu'un
to get on someone's nerves ("to break someone's feet)
Enlever une épine du pied à quelqu'un
to help, get someone out of a fix ("to remove a thorn from someone's foot)
Couper la poire en deux
to meet someone halfway ("to cut the pear in two")
Pédaler dans la semoule
to go round in circles, to get nowhere fast ("to pedal in the semolina")
Tomber dans les pommes
to faint, pass out ("to fall in the apples")
Tondre des œufs
to be cheap, a skinflint ("to mow/crop/shear the eggs")
Sucrer les fraises
to be a bit doddery ("to sugar the strawberries")
C'est la goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase
the straw that broke the camel's back ("it's the drop of water that made the vase overflow")
Casser du sucre sur le dos de quelqu'un
to gossip about someone behind their back ("to break some sugar on someone's back")
Appuyer sur le champignon
to drive very fast, to accelerate, to floor it, to put the pedal to the metal ("to press on the mushroom")
Étre dans le pétrin
to be in a mess, a jam, in serious trouble ("to be in the kneading-trough")
avoir la tête dans le guidon
to be overwhelmed, to be striving, to be working hard ("to have one's head in the handlebars")
mettre son grain de sel
to butt in, to put one's oar in, to make one's point ("to put one's grain of salt")
se regarder le nombril
to be egocentric, pretentious, selfish, to think the world/universe revolves around oneself ("to gaze at your navel")
être soupe au lait
to be quick-tempered ("to be milky soup")
prendre la mouche
to go off in a huff ("to take the fly")
faire mouche
to score a bull's-eye ("to do a fly/button")
rouler à tombeau ouvert
to go at breakneck speed ("to roll with the tomb open")
sentir le sapin
to have one foot in the grave, have a graveyard cough, be not long for this world ("to smell of fir trees") - fir is used for coffins
(faire quelque chose avec) les doigts dans le nez
as easy as falling off a log ("[as easy as putting] one's fingers in one's nose")
tomber de sommeil
to fall asleep, to be asleep on one's feet, to be very sleepy