Questions tagged [expressions-idiomatiques]

Phrases ou expressions dont les mots portent une signification différente du sens littéral.

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3answers
65 views

How do French people typically say, 'from all the odds and ends we had lying around'?

I'm not sure a French expression matching with this exists but French language is rich in the scope of their expressions, so I must try. What is a typical way to say, 'from all the odds and ends we ...
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2answers
961 views

Can “être sur” mean “to be about” ?

Can "être sur" be used as "to be about"? Examples: Ce livre est sur la naissance du capitalisme. C'est sur le vol de la plus grande banque du pays.
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4answers
3k views

French equivalent of “Make leaps and bounds”

Talking about an English grammar book to some French friends I wanted to say something like Use this book and soon you will be making leaps and bounds. In fact I have seen the expression in this ...
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7answers
511 views

“To go from zero to hero”

I was talking to my colleagues about one Mechanics book and I wanted to say something like With this book any student may go from zero to hero. Or equivalently This book may take any student ...
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0answers
29 views

Idiom Involving Histoire [duplicate]

Here is a passage from a published translation of a popular novel that was originally written in English: "Je ne mis pas longtemps à transporter mes affaires à l'étage. J'avais la grande chambre à l'...
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2answers
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Comment est-ce qu'on dit “I've got you right where I want you”

Je suis en train de jouer un match de Scrabble en ligne, un match que je suis sûr de perdre. Je voudrais dire, en plaisantant bien sûr, "I've got you right where I want you". Google Translate m'a ...
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3answers
111 views

French equivalents of “an inside day”

Man, I'm beat from all the climbing and such. Today’s got to be just an inside day. This is a humourous way of saying "being cooped up in the house all day by his/her own free will, spending a ...
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1answer
75 views

Can “ Du coup” render “By the way”?

I came across this question How to translate “By the way”? — Comment traduire « By the way » ? I wanted to answer it by mentioning "Du coup" but I was not sure. I think it is not mentioned ...
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2answers
200 views

French equivalents of “some people”, as in “Honestly, some people!”

To express the idea of "Honestly, some people!" (said irritatedly), in conversation I said jokingly: Tu ne sais pas que c’est mal élevé d’interrompre une conversation ? Franchement, il y a de ces ...
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10answers
9k views

“It is what it is” in French

According to https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/it+is+what+it+is this idiomatic expression is used to talk about the The situation, circumstance, or outcome (that) has already happened or been ...
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1answer
75 views

selon le vs selon les

Are all sentences below correct? If so, is there a difference of meaning between the two sentences of each pair? Example 1: Selon la culture, la politesse peut prendre différentes formes. Selon les ...
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1answer
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Is d'accord used to express permission…or that something is allowed?

I know that "d'accord" expresses agreement...as in Okay. But is it also used to say something is "allowed". As in "Is it Okay for us to wait here?".
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“Faire le buzz” / “faire du buzz”

Les expressions « faire le buzz / faire du buzz » sont-elles assez répandues en dehors des mondes technologique internet, entreprise, marketing, etc. ? Comment doit-on prononcer buzz afin d'être bien ...
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358 views

What does “un pareil soin” mean here?

So here is a sentence by Montaigne, I can get the overall meaning of it but I really can not figure out the meaning of "un pareil soin" here, and as for the "de" before "un pareil soin", I think it ...
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2answers
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Comment explique-t-on le sens de « ver » dans la locution « Tirer les vers du nez » ?

On a l'expression (lui) tirer les vers du nez pour « obtenir de quelqu'un, par la parole, une information qu'il ne souhaite pas donner » (TLFi), par exemple : Ils tentaient de lui tirer les vers du ...
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1answer
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Translating “the price of independence” into French

If you translated the phrase "the price of independence" very literally into French, would it have any meaning for a native speaker? Or is there some idiom that better conveys the meaning?
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104 views

Is there an equivalent to “virtue signaling” in French?

English idiomatic expressions aren't easily translatable in French... I thought of "vertu ostentatoire" but a single word would be good.
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1answer
73 views

“Handle/treat someone/something with kids gloves”: translation variants and phrasing?

I'm looking at the translations for the idiom handle/treat (someone) with kids gloves and I can see manipuler avec des gants de soie, prendre des gants (Wiktionary) and prendre des gants avec quelqu'...
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1answer
91 views

“Si on n'était que douceur avec elle”: meaning and construction?

The other day I was at the hospital and I witnessed a conversation between two doctors about some intern: Tu es sans pitié, dis-moi... En même temps, elle n’aurait pas autant envie de nous ...
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1answer
52 views

“Il n'en reste pas moins que”?

I saw this sentence on wikipedia: Il n'en reste pas moins que New York est la ville la plus peuplée du pays depuis 1790, avec 8 622 698 habitants selon le Bureau du recensement des États-Unis. I ...
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3answers
160 views

Why the feminine “la” in “se la jouer stratégique”?

Si on veut se la jouer stratégique pour ne pas courir aux quatre coins de Paris, il faut optimiser son temps et faire tous les cadeaux au même endroit. Although I don't see any feminine noun before ...
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3answers
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“Non mais tu vois l'humour que je donne?” Has anybody heard this ( except in Orne, Basse Normandie)?

I've already heard in Orne (Basse Normandie) a guy saying, at the end of some sentences "tu vois l'humour que je donne?" in a way similar to "tu vois" , "you know what I mean". I suspect that this ...
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3answers
94 views

The “en” in “je n’en suis pas là”

I’d like to understand the meaning of “en” in the title phrase. I know the phrase means “I’m not there yet,” so my theory is, since “there” isn’t referring to a specific place, and is more idiomatic, “...
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2answers
135 views

Sens de « qu'est-ce que » dans deux contextes particuliers

I contexte de l'usage avec certains verbes intransitifs ou pronominaux Qu'est-ce que tu restes là à bayer aux corneilles ? Qu'est-ce que tu te mêles de cette affaire quand tu n'y a aucun intérêt ? ...
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250 views

How do you say “I see what you did there”?

How do you express "I see what you did there", which is used "to point out that another person's joke [or witty remark] has been understood, either to praise its cleverness or to clearly communicate a ...
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1answer
50 views

« (Compare, mix) apples and oranges » : les fruits ou le textile etc. ?

Laquelle des expressions « mélanger des choux et des carottes » (aussi comparer) et « mélanger les torchons et les serviettes » se rapproche le plus de (compare, mix) apples and oranges pour la ...
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2answers
133 views

Couper la pomme en deux

« Couper la poire en deux » est une expression française qui signifie faire un compromis que l'on veut équitable. Elle est apparue au 19e siècle et son origine est incertaine. J'ai été surpris de ...
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1answer
168 views

What is the filler phrase some French keep saying that is pronounced like German word “lecker”?

I suppose the meaning must be something like 'easy' or 'okay' or 'I see' or but there are tons of possibilities. The sound of it is pretty much like the German word "lecker".
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130 views

“ blow someone out of water”

Source: https://writingexplained.org/idiom-dictionary/blow-someone-out-of-the-water The English phrase to blow someone out of the water has literal origins, but it is more commonly used in a ...
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4answers
419 views

Traduction de « Life is a roller coaster »

Quelle est la tournure équivalente à life is a roller coaster ? life is a roller coaster: It means that in life, there are highs and lows. Sometimes it can be scary, sometimes it can be fun. The ...
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1answer
53 views

What is the meaning of “faire une touche”?

The following text is from an essay by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy: "[...] une touche au sens d'une touche de couleur, au sens de la touche d'un pianiste, et pourquoi pas au sens ou on disait dans le ...
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1answer
33 views

Un équivalent au proverbe « the chickens will come (home) to roost » ?

Dans une déclaration de l'American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on trouve la phrase suivante : [...] The chickens will come to roost when the next president uses these powers to call a national ...
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1answer
1k views

'Avoir les boules': submissive or aggressive

I just learned the other day (from Expressio) about the phrase: avoir les boules. They gave its meaning as "Être très énervé. En avoir assez. Avoir peur.". As in, Le cartel a les boules car ils ...
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2answers
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Comment exprimer ou traduire la technique de « catch and kill » ?

Dans un texte on peut lire que : AMI, the owner of the National Enquirer, led by David Pecker, recently entered into an immunity deal with the Department of Justice related to their role in the ...
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2answers
92 views

Idiomatic translation of la justice à la peine

I'm looking for an idiomatic English translation of the cover of today's l'Humanité -- "la justice à la peine" https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/04/lhumanite-france-socialist-communist-...
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2answers
126 views

Mais si tu ne vas pas à Lagardère, Lagardère ira à toi

Mais si tu ne vas pas à Lagardère, Lagardère ira à toi. Peut-on utiliser de nos jours la phrase ci-dessus, voulant dire : Si sa volonté ne prévaut pas, il faut se soumettre à une alternative. ...
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1answer
56 views

La brioche, la croûte de pâté et la piquette : gradation de connotations, comparaisons ?

Avant la fin temporaire de la paralysie partielle de l'état fédéral américain (« shutdown »), un parvenu de fils à papa (M. Wilbur Ross) a tenu certains propos qui lui ont valu une réponse, entre ...
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4answers
81 views

How to express “make a radio” in French?

In this sentence, faire une radio means take an x-ray in English. Il va faire une radio. He is going to take an X-ray. Now I wonder then how to express the literal make a radio in French? ...
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2answers
762 views

“la pomme ne tombe pas loin de l'arbre” pour “the apple doesn't fall far from the tree”

L'expression la pomme ne tombe pas loin de l'arbre signifiant tel père, tels fils et the apple doesn't fall far from the tree est-elle courante des nos jours ?
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1answer
48 views

“Better than nothing”

If you say that something is better than nothing, you mean that it is not what is required, but that it is better to have that thing than to have nothing at all. E.g. After all, 15 minutes of ...
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3answers
87 views

How to say “A person not to mess with" in French?

What is the French equivalent of the expression "A person not to mess with" in the sense provided below https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-teach-people-not-to-mess-with-you I consider redoutable, ...
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206 views

How to say “go through the motions” in French?

What is the French equivalent of the expression "go through the motions" in the sense provided below? https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/go-through-the-motions go through the ...
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1answer
75 views

D'où vient l'expression “belle lurette” ?

J'ai lu l'autre jour "maison fondée il y a belle lurette" sur un panneau publicitaire et je me demande d'où vient cette expression. Est-ce que "lurette" est employé ailleurs dans la langue ?
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4answers
105 views

Comment traduire « has not risen to the mantle of the office » : « n'a pas endossé le costume de sa fonction » ?

[...] But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office. [ « Mitt Romney: The ...
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2answers
124 views

Where does the idiom « Elle est à cheval sur les détails » come from?

I got this phrase from a Duolingo lesson question, which suggests this translates to "She is a stickler for the details". A comment on the discussion for the question states that: It's an idiom. ...
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4answers
175 views

What does “ll est en train de se payer ma tête, en plus?” mean?

I’ve been stuck on this phrase for a while. I don’t know why it’s giving me so much trouble, but I know that “ll est en train de se” means something someone is currently doing, however, I don’t really ...
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1answer
198 views

Un pied dans la porte

Une question récente sur ce site faisait état d’un certain tour de langue nouveau et dans une certaine mesure controvesé qui aurait eu « un pied dans la porte ». Interprétant le tout à la ...
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2answers
61 views

Is “still” implied in the expressions 'il reste … à faire' and 'avoir… à faire?'

When asking "qu'est-ce qu'il te reste à faire" or "est-ce qu'il te reste à preparer le gateau?" (Do you (still) have to prepare the cake), is the concept of 'still' implied. For example, there is a ...
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3answers
166 views

Expressions similar to “I would give my right arm”

How can one idiomatically say in French something similar to I would give my right arm to... Does an one to one literal translation make sense? In a similar vein, in the film Edward Scissorhands ...
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1answer
69 views

Que signifie “les mets” dans cette phrase?

En répondant sur une question chez https://cooking.stackexchange.com, j'ai traduit cette définition: Connaissance de tout ce qui se rapporte à la cuisine, à l'ordonnancement des repas, à l'art de ...