Funny French expressions
I was chatting recently on Twitter with @EssParent and we got to talking about funny expressions in different languages, which has prompted this blog post. I hope you enjoy these French expressions which make me laugh, the expression is in bold with its literal translation underneath, scroll down to the bottom for the equivalent English expression, can you guess what they are without looking?
- C’est l’hôpital qui se fout de la charité/C’est l’hôpital qui se moque de la charité (more polite).
It’s the hospital that takes the piss out of/laughs at the charity.
- Il pleut comme des vaches qui pissent.
It’s raining like cows that piss.
- J’ai un chat dans la gorge.
I’ve got a cat in my throat.
- Il parle français comme une vache espagnole.
He speaks French like a Spanish cow.
- Elle a du monde au balcon.
She has the world on the balcony.
- Tu ne peux pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.
You can’t have the butter and the money for the butter.
- Ca se fait les doigts dans le nez.
It is done with fingers in the nose.
- Ca coûte la peau du cul.
It costs the skin of your arse.
- Appeler un chat un chat.
To call a cat a cat.
- J’ai les dents du fond qui baigne.
My back teeth are swimming.
- Quand les poules auront les dents.
When hens have teeth.
- Ca arrivera le 36 du mois.
It’ll happen on the 36th of the month.
- J’ai d’autres chats à fouetter.
I’ve got other cats to whip.
- J’ai des fourmis dans les pieds.
I’ve got ants in my feet.
- Il faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué.
You mustn’t sell the bear’s skin before killing it.
- Il a la chair de poules.
He’s got chicken skin.
English equivalents below….
- It’s the hospital that takes the piss out of/laughs at the charity.
That’s the pot calling the kettle black.
- It’s raining like cows that piss.
It’s raining cats and dogs.
- I’ve got a cat in my throat.
I’ve got a frog in my throat.
- He speaks French like a Spanish cow.
He speaks pidgin English.
- She has the world on the balcony.
She’s big chested. (Not really an expression in English but the French expression makes me laugh lots so had to include it.)
- You can’t have the butter and the money for the butter.
You can’t have your cake and eat it.
Break a leg! (i.e. theatre).
- It is done with fingers in the nose.
It’s a piece of cake.
- It costs the skin of your arse.
It costs an arm and a leg.
- To call a cat a cat.
To call a spade a spade.
- My back teeth are swimming.
- When hens have teeth.
When pigs fly.
- It’ll happen on the 36th of the month.
When pigs fly.
- I’ve got other cats to whip.
I’ve got other fish to fry.
- I’ve got ants in my feet.
I’ve got pins and needles in my feet.
- You mustn’t sell the bear’s skin before killing it.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
- He’s got chicken skin.
He’s got goose bumps.
What a brilliant post and made me laugh-seems the French like their cats. Totally going to use some of these-the Greeks has some funny ones too!
I love expressions from different countries – I learnt some great ones when I lived in Spain too.
Love this – so funny and love that they make as little sense (or even less than ours)!!
It just goes to show, that none of these expressions that we come out with makes much sense, always good for a laugh though!
Have seen a sort-of English equivalent for #5 – “You don’t get many of them to the pound” as in ‘Christina “you don’t get many of them to the pound” Hendricks’
Oh yes, there is that one, hadn’t thought of it.
I absolutely love French expressions. They are always so imaginative and full of life. And as a French person, it’s always fun to explain their often crazy meaning to friends.
Benjamin recently posted…By: Benjamin
I had so much fun when I first arrived in France learning all the different ones, one of my favourites is “ne fais pas un flan” as I love “flan” which my husband makes, so when he says “je vais faire un flan” I can’t resist saying “ne fais pas un flan”. The joke never gets old 🙂
Those French idioms above are hilarious! And the good thing is that there’s a lot more. I love these kind of expressions, they add a lot of fun to French conversations.
Frédéric recently posted…By: Tamara LANDRENEAU