Monday, May 16, 2011

Geek's Corner (8) : More French Expressions You May Not Learn in School

There are just too many of these to include them all, so I've picked out some of my favorites from the rest of the list. Note that, if you were to attend the ACCORD school of languages in Paris, you would learn these, because I will be making a presentation about them in class tomorrow morning:

Démerden Zie sich
German-like expression for "solve your problem yourself" (literally: "get out of the shit yourself")

Donner sa langue au chat
To give up a riddle (literally: "to give one's tongue to the cat")

Être fagoté comme l'as de pique
To be dressed any old how (literally: "to be dressed like the ace of spades")

Être habillé à la six-quatre-deux
To be dressed any old how (literally: "to be dressed like six-four-two")

Il en a bavé des ronds de chapeau
His eyes nearly popped out of his head (literally: "he dribbled hat circles")

Être comme une poule qui a trouvé un couteau
To be at a complete loss (literally: "To be like a chicken who has found a knife")

Haut comme trois pommes
About a person: small (literally: "tall as three apples")

Il n'y a pas de quoi fouetter un chat
It is nothing to make a fuss about (literally: "It's no reason for whipping a cat")

Il y une couille dans le potage
There is a problem here (literally: "there is a ball (i.e., testicle) in the soup")
[One might reasonably wonder why "couille" is feminine]

Je te vois venir avec tes gros sabots
Now we are finally getting to the point (literally: "I see you coming with your big clogs")
[This is my personal favorite]

Ne pas avoir inventé la poudre
To be a little dumb (literally: "not to have invented gunpowder")

Noyer le poisson
To confuse the issue deliberately (literally: "to drown the fish")

Peigner la girafe
To do something useless (literally: "to comb the giraffe")

Quand les poules auront des dents
Never (literally: "when chickens have teeth")

Tous les 36 du mois
Never (literally: "each 36th day of the month")

Vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué
To count one's chickens before they are hatched (literally: "to sell the bear's skin before killing it")

Many thanks to my friend Bill B., who sent me the entire list in the first place.


  1. I like the one that translates to "he dribbled hat circles." Just because dribbled hat circles is a fun phrase in English or Français

  2. The Plain People of Ireland: Well, all them fancy froggy phrases is very impressive and all, but you'd think you'd have come up with a word for "geek" by now.

    Whipping Cats Management: That's a fair question, and I wish I had a better answer. A quick google search could only come up with "un petit intello coincé" or "une tête", both of which seem fairly lame.