Categories: French Expressions

French Idiomatic Expressions – 5

French Idiomatic Expressions – 5

401- Daily French Expressions: ça fera combien? how much will it cost?

402- Daily French Expressions: je n’ai pas la monnaie: I have no change.

Monnaie is related to money but does not mean money, it is change or currency.

403- Daily French Expressions: en tout: the total

After buying or ordering several things, to ask for the total you can say “en tout”
ça fait combien en tout? what’s the total?

404- Daily French Expressions: ben quoi? so what?

When somebody looks surprised at you, you say ben quoi (ben is said like the number one in French: un)
And “tu veux ma photo?” is something said when someone is staring at you!

405- Daily French Expressions: Faire un prix: to pay less

Vous pouvez me faire un prix pour tout ça? Can you let me have them for less?

406- Daily French Expressions: c’est fort de chocolat: that’s going too far.

Non, c’est un peu fort de chocolat cette histoire-là: no, that’s going a bit too bar this story!

We also say “fort de café”. When something is full of chocolate, we use “en” and not “de”: le gâteau est fort en chocolat.

407- Daily French Expressions: Juillettiste, Aoûtien: July and August holiday maker (vacationer)

Juillet = Juillettiste
Août = Aoûtien, ne
êtes-vous juillettiste ou aoûtien?

408- Daily French Expressions: Merci: means “no”!

– Tu en veux d’autres? – Do you want some more?
– Merci, ça ira! – No, thank you, I am fine!

You can say “no” with your head when you say “merci”.

409- Daily French Expressions: kess tu fous? what are you doing?

“Kess tu fous” is the abbreviation of “qu’est-ce que tu fous?”, we don’t often say “qu’est-ce que” but just the beginning and we write is this way “kess” as you can see in “Fous” is the verb “foutre” instead of faire, this verb is colloquial, sometimes rude but not here.

410- Daily French Expressions: une livre: a pound

You know that we use gramme in France but on a market and when you want to buy some things loose, you may have to use the word “livre” instead. Une demi-livre de beurre = 250g and une livre = 500g. (don’t mix the word with “le livre” which masculine for book).







411- Daily French Expressions: Une douzaine: a dozen

Like in many countries, we also use the word “douzaine” for some products: eggs and also oysters: huîtres. So you can say une demi-douzaine or une douzaine d’oeufs.







412- Daily French Expressions: un petit bobo: a sore, a cut

Bobo is a child word, parents may ask: ça te fait bobo? does it hurt? and a kiss may solve the situation!








413- Daily French Expressions: se la péter: to show off

Comment il se la pète avec sa bagnole: lok how he shows off with his car!

414- Daily French Expressions: Prière de… : Please do… or don’t….

Prière de ne pas piétiner les pelouses: Please don’t walk on the grass! (Prière here means that we beg you to do something, piétiner means to trample).







415- Daily French Expressions: être baba: to be astonished!

Nooon, j’en suis baba: nooo, I am dumbfounded! And for an event in the past, we usually say: j’en suis resté baba!








416- Daily French Expressions: être baba cool: to be like a hippy

Regarde son look, trop baba cool! Look at his clothes, too hippy!









417- Daily French Expressions: le B.A BA: the basics, the elementary knowledge

Le B.A.-Ba is the elementary knowledge of anything, it can be le b.a.-ba du français, du vélo, des maths, etc… It means the things you should know before going






418- Daily French Expressions: Nawak: Nonsense

Nawak is backslang French for nonsense or rubbish, the expression “n’importe quoi” became “nawak” or “n’importe nawak”.









419- Daily French Expressions: Chichi: fuss

Faire des chichis is to make a fuss, to be formal and ask for more. Sans chichi means informal, quite simple: Un repas sans chichi, une invitation sans chichi.









420- Daily French Expressions: Bizutage: Hazing of new students

Le bizutage is forbidden in France, the verb is “bizuter”, however many students think it is just a tradition even when it is sexually explicit.








421- Daily French Expressions: des biftons: bank notes (slang)

Bifton is a word from Slang French with the meaning of bank notes with a high value.
La police a trouvé chez lui, une valise pleine de biftons: Police found at his home a suitcase full of bank notes!







422- Daily French Expressions: Une brique: One million

Une brique is a brick wall, but the slang meaning is one million euros, dollars…

422 – Daily French Expression: un péché mignon: a weakness

Un péché mignon: a weakness. Litteraly: a sweet sin! something you know is not necessary good for you but you can’t resist, like “le chocolat est mon péché mignon” and you? do you have un péché mignon?









424 – Daily French Expression: les binocles, les lorgnons: glasses

Binocle is an old word and Lorgnons comes from the verb Lorgner: to ogle, to have an eye.









425 – Daily French Expression: Travailler au noir or au black: To work illegally

We say travailler au noir or travailler au black. Je travaille au black, c’est du travail au black.









426 – Daily French Expression: Un  bogosse: a Good-Looker

The word Bogosse comes from Bo and gosse, bo is in fact Beau (good looking) and gosse is kid, young man. For a girl we would say: une belle gosse!









427 – Daily French Expression: ça me fait une belle jambe: a fat lot of good that does me

We use this expression: ça me fait une belle jambe, when someone tells you something that it is not going to be of any help.
– I can’t repair this computer!
– what a shame, the neighbour has been able to do it.
– ça me fait une belle jambe!

428 – Daily French Expression: un Bouquin: a book

This French words comes from the English. Tu as vu mes bouquins? Have you seen my books?








429 – Daily French Expression: Le Petit Coin: the smallest room

Un coin is a corner, but also a spot, a place and somewhere: Je cherche un bon coin pour les vacances: I am looking for a good place for holidays. Dans un coin de la maison: somewhere in the house.









430 – Daily French Expression: les bras m’en tombent: I am stunned

Literally means my arms fall from me! When you receive unexpected bad news, you say les bras m’en tombent!

431 – Daily French Expression: Jeter un froid: to cast a chill

ça jette un froid: it casts a chill.








432 – Daily French Expression: Y a pas l’feu: we are not in a hurry

Y a pas l’feu or Il n’y a pas le feu means no hurry (literally: there is no fire), we have time. Grouiller here means to hurry, to move on: tu te grouilles? hurry up!








433 – Daily French Expression: se lever du pied gauche: to be in a bad mood

Se lever di pied gauche when someone is not in a good mood after waking up. Qu’est-ce qui te prend? tu t’es levé du pied gauche ou quoi? What’s wrong with you, did you get out of your bed on the wrong side?







434 – Daily French Expression: Tu me fais suer: you annoy me, you are a pain in the neck

Tu me fais suer is not rude, you can use this expression when someone is annoying you and you want him to leave you alone.








435 – Daily French Expression: Rouler sur l’or: to be rich, rolling in money

This expression is used negative form: tu sais, je ne roule pas sur l’or: you know I am not exactly living in the lap of luxury.

436 – Daily French Expression: une bestiole: an insect, an animal

Une bestiole may be an insect or a small animal, it is a pejorative word. C’est quoi cette bestiole? What is this thing?







437 – Daily French Expression: savoir sur le bout des doigts: to know by heart

Well, tout savoir sur le bout des doigts is not to cheat, but is to know something by heart (savoir par coeur): je connais ma leçon sur le bout des doigts: I know my lesson by heart (there is a lesson about the difference between savoir and connaître)







438 – Daily French Expression: avoir quelqu’un: to have, to fool

Here avoir means to get, je t’aurai is I will get you. Avoir also means to fool, J’ai été eu: I have been had and se faire avoir is to be had, je me suis fais avoir: I have been had (To make fun, some say: je me suis fait eu, but it is not correct French).






439 – Daily French Expression: C’est pas du jeu: it is not fair

This expression is used when someone does something that it is not following the rules, when something is not fair. Tu triches, c’est pas du jeu: you are cheating, it is not fair!









440 – Daily French Expression: Ne pas avoir sa langue dans sa poche: never have a loss for words

A person who has not la langue dans sa poche is someone who is straightforward and frank, someone who does not hesitate to say things.

441 – Daily French Expression: être fou de or être folle de: to be mad about

We may be fou de something or someone, fou d’amour: mad in love; fou de joie: out of one’s mind with joy. And the feminine form is folle de.







442 – Daily French Expression: C’est du délire: it’s crazy, it’s great!

Of course “délire” means delirium but we use the word for great things and frenzy things too. And you can say “c’est du délire” for a lot of things like a concert.







443 – Daily French Expression: Peser le pour et le contre: to weigh the pros and cons

Same expression in both language.








444 – Daily French Expression: Avoir un trou de mémoire: to have a mental block, blackout

In French un trou de mémoire is a hole in our memory, we also say: j’ai un trou!

445 – Daily French Expression: Faire le zozo: to clown about

We have several expressions to say the same thing: faire le zozo, faire le clown, faire le pitre…







446 – Daily French Expression: M’en fous: I don’t care

Instead of “je m’en fous”, you can just say “m’en fous”.









447 – Daily French Expression: Avoir le coeur sur la main: to be open-handed, to be generous

Literally to have our heart on the hands.










448 – Daily French Expression: Se serrer les coudes: to stick together

Serrer means ‘to hold tight’ and “un coude” is an ‘elbow’. Il faut se serrer les coudes: we must hold tight.








449 – Daily French Expression: Pour dépanner: to help

Dépanner means to repare, to fix, but we use the verb to say to help out. Tu peux me dépanner de 5 euros: can you spare me 5 euros?

450 – Daily French Expression: Retirer une épine du pied: to let someone off the hook

Retirer or enlever une épine du pied means to get out of a difficulty. Merci, tu me retires une épine du pied. Une épine is a thorn or a spine.








452 – Daily French Expression: En faire voir de toutes les couleurs: to give a hard time

To give a hard time, il m’en a fait voir de toutes les couleurs: he gave me a hard time. And the expression “en voir de toutes les couleurs” is ‘to have a hard time’ (because of someone), j’en ai vu de toutes les couleurs: I had a hard time.







451 – Daily French Expression: Puer du bec: to have bad breath

This expression is colloquial. Le bec is the beak (here for mouth) and puer is to stink. We also say: avoir mauvaise haleine.








453 – Daily French Expression: Mon vieux, ma vielle: mate, old boy, old girl…

A colloquial expression when speaking with friends or colleagues: alors là, mon vieux je n’en sais rien. Mon vieux, c’est ton problème. Ma vieille, c’est comme tu veux…







454 – Daily French Expression: C’est dans la poche: it is in the bag.

This expression means that something is easy to get, un examen dans la poche for example or a contract… The funny thing is that sometimes it is said in English: it is in ze pocket by French people!

454 – Daily French Expression: être zen!

To be zen! the same expression.








456 – Daily French Expression: Des balivernes: nonsense

We say: dire des balivernes: to talk nonsense and also when you want someone stop talking nonsense, you can tell him: trêve de balivernes (enough of nonsense).







457 – Daily French Expression: s’ennuyer à mourir: to be bored to death

J’ai rien à faire, je m’ennuie à mourir: I have nothing to do, I am bored to death!

458 – Daily French Expression: a gaff, a blunder

Un couac is first a weird sound in an orchestra, then a gaff that someone says or makes, something that breaks the harmony. Les couacs du gouvernements!








459 – Daily French Expression: C’est pas trop tôt: not before time!

T’as vu l’heure? c’est pas trop tôt! Have you seen the time? in the nick of time!

Tu as fini? c’est pas trop tôt!







460 – Daily French Expression: être peinard: cushy, quiet, peaceful

Pas moyen d’être peinard: impossible to be peaceful!









461 – Daily French Expression: Fais voir: show me, let me have a look!

I think I got fleas! – let me see!

Formal or plural: Faites voir

462 – Daily French Expression: Avoir le bras long: to be well connected, to pull strings

Literally: to have a long arm. Meaning: to know important people who can help you.









463 – Daily French Expression: être debout: to be up; se mettre debout: to stand up

Elle est restée debout toute la journée: she stays on her feet all day. Allez, debout là-dedans: Go on, get up here!






464 – Daily French Expression: Ne pas pouvoir en placer une: not to be able to say something

When you try to say something but the person you are talking to is very talkative, you can say: je peux en placer une (une = une parole).












465 – Daily French Expression: Avoir du culot: to get a nerve

Il a du culot: he’s got a nerve. Quel culot! how dare you! the nerve!







466 – Daily French Expression: un moulin à paroles: a chatterbox

Un moulin à paroles is someone who speaks too much.

467 – Daily French Expression: Tout baigne: everything’s looking great

– ça va?
– Tout baigne!








468- Daily French Expression: Banzaï! = Bingo, geronimo!










469- Daily French Expression: ça vaut le coup: It’s worth it.

470- Daily French Expression: comme des petits pains: like hot cakes

C’est parti comme des petits pains or ça s’est vendu comme des petits pains: they were selling like hot cakes.









471- Daily French Expression: j’en peux plus: I am exhausted

The correct sentence is: je n’en peux plus, but we don’t say the first part of the negation when we speak. Also, we don’t say the final S of plus, just plu, because here it is the second part of the negation (the meaning is not more).








472- Daily French Expression: Bosser: to work

A colloquial verb to say travailler or to work, we use the same way.

473- Daily French Expression: Tout va bien: everythting is alright

How are you today? Comment ça va aujourd’hui?
Everything’s alright, thank you: tout va bien, merci!









474- Daily French Expression: être barbant: to be boring

Le cours est barba,t: the class is boring
Le prof est barbant: the teacher is boring








475- Daily French Expression: Gamin, gamine: boyish, childish

Regarde, quelle gamine: Look how childish she is!

476- Daily French Expression: boulot: work

Boulot is a colloquial word for “a work”, au boulot means let’s work. Un boulot is a work or a job: j’aime mon boulot: I like my work.








477- Daily French Expression: Kiffer grave: to love so bad!

Je te kiffe grave: I love you very much. Tu me fais kiffer is another way to say I love you.









478- Daily French Expression: Avoir un poil dans la main: to be bone-idle

Il a un poil dans la main: he is very lazy.








479- Daily French Expression: Super sympa: very nice

C’est super sympa: it is very nice.
C’est super sympa de ta part: it is very nice of you.
Tu es super sympa: you are very nice.

480- Daily French Expression: C’est pour aujourd’hui ou pour demain? it is for today or tomorrow?

So, this bus, is it for today or for tomorrow? (after long waiting)








481- Daily French Expression: un copain, une copine: a buddy (boy and girl)

Un copain is a friend but un petit copain is a boy friend. The same for une petite copine.









482- Daily French Expression: En cachette: secretly

Une cachette is a hiding place, so doing things en cachette is where nobody can see you.








483- Daily French Expression: ne pas être très fute fute: not very bright

Il n’est pas très fute fute: he is not very bright. Fute fute comes from Futé: savvy, wily.










484- Daily French Expression: Casse-pieds: a pain in the neck

No entrance or Banned for pain in the neck people!








485- Daily French Expression: Faut pas croire: make no mistake!

we use the expression “faut pas croire” when someone wants to do something that seems the opposite of other may think.
Faut pas croire, j’ai beaucoup travaillé: Contrary to what you may think, I worked a lot!
There are many food in your plate and nobody believes you may end up, so you can say: faut pas croire, je vais tout finir!
It is the abbreviation of: il ne faut pas croire.

(this expression is different from “il ne faut pas croire que…”: you must not believe…)

Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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