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Questions tagged [expressions-idiomatiques]

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

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4answers
246 views

« On s’était plus ressemblant à une Zero »

I am translating some old letters written in the 1800s by someone who was possibly not a native French speaker. Sadly, I do not have access to the letters themselves, only to a transcript made by ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

Use of “partagez quoi” to mean “go share”

I was watching this video and at the end the narrator says "Partagez quoi!", which they translated below as Go share! My question is why is there a need for the "quoi"? I was under the impression ...
2
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3answers
157 views

Comment interpréter l'expression «réduite à l'os»?

Comment interpréter l'expression «réduite à l'os»? Je l'ai trouvée dans la phrase «(...)mais leur liberté de culte est réduite à l’os». (Voici le texte) Est-ce que c'est une expression idiomatique?
1
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2answers
514 views

Translation of “have a chance”

"I am lucky to have a chance to meet you." Is "avoir l'occasion" the correct translation of "have a chance" in this context? J'ai de la chance d'avoir l'occasion de vous rencontrer. Is it correct ...
6
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2answers
146 views

Two consecutive Participes Passé in the expression « j’aurais eu tôt fait de … »

1: Si je n’avais pas perdu bêtement la bague de fiançailles, j’aurais eu tôt fait de lui demander sa main. I’m not sure why the use of two consecutive Participes Passé, « eu » et « fait », is ...
3
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1answer
148 views

« Mettre la (les) main(s) à la pâte/dans le cambouis » : comparaisons ?

Mettre la main à la pâte, c'est « entreprendre quelque chose, y prêter son concours, participer activement à un travail » (Larousse) ; on le note de registre familier pour « intervenir dans un travail,...
0
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1answer
70 views

Expression sur visage d'un personnage

In English I could say "she had a sad expression (on her face)". Can I say "elle a eu une expression malheureuse sur son visage"?
3
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3answers
179 views

Japanese idiom « J'aimerais même qu’un chat me prête main-forte »

I just sent this message to a French speaker: Je suis tellement débordé ces temps-ci que « j'aimerais même qu’un chat me prête main-forte » ! Peut-être bien que ça t'échappe, cette expression, mais ...
1
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3answers
333 views

What is the meaning of this phrase: “Vous m'en direz des nouvelles”

I'd like to know its precise meaning. Does it mean "Tell me what you think about it (the next time we meet)"? I don't know how to use this phrase. Ce collier, je l’ai fait moi-même. Vous m'en ...
1
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1answer
37 views

What does the phrase “ravir l'adhesion de” mean?

What does the phrase "ravir l'adhesion de" mean? Example (source): Vraiment, vous avez tort d'accuser la popularité de vous ravir l'adhésion de tant d'intelligences.
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1answer
72 views

What does the phrase “Si rien ne vous appelle ailleurs” mean?

"If you have no other business to attend to" is what it means? And is this phrase frequently used? « Si rien ne vous appelle ailleurs, pourquoi ne pas vous joindre aux festivités ? »
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2answers
325 views

« Tire[r] ses grègues, gagne[r] au haut » : précisions ?

Sur la branche d'un arbre était en sentinelle Un vieux coq adroit et matois. « Frère, dit un renard, adoucissant sa voix, Nous ne sommes plus en querelle: Paix générale cette fois. Je viens te l'...
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4answers
205 views

Comment traduire « they had it/we all have it comin' » : du spécifique au proverbial ?

Avertissement : divulgâcheur/spoilers (film Unforgiven, 1992) (1) Kid: You know how I said I shot five men? It weren't true. That Mexican who come at me with a knife? I just busted his leg with a ...
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3answers
180 views

quelqu'un “en or”

I have been struggling with translating this one into English. I had come across a conversation when someone mentioned it about his boss, and today online I came across a person mentioning it about ...
6
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2answers
423 views

Étymologie de « Les doigts de pied en bouquet de violettes »

Pour dire : Au calme, dans la béatitude, la grande relaxation J'ai un peu de mal à voir d'où vient l'expression. Il me semble que c'est un équivalent moins imagé de l'expression "les doigts de ...
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2answers
506 views

What is the meaning of «Chien(ne) de garde»? [closed]

«Chien(ne) de garde» I have seen this expression in a lot of political contexts. For example: «Les médias, chiens de garde de l'ordre établi ?». Ideally, I would like the answer to come in the ...
0
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1answer
84 views

La mauvaise herbe chasse la bonne [closed]

La mauvaise herbe chasse la bonne Can someone explain this expression in English? I searched online, but could not find an answer. I hope to find better luck here!
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7answers
240 views

Manière idiomatique de dire que les gens malhonnêtes ont tendance à voir le mal partout

J'écris un livre en ce moment, et un de mes personnages est un ancien voleur, arnaqueur et menteur qui s'est repenti (appelons le X). Un autre personnage (appelons le Y) lui pose une question de ...
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2answers
415 views

“Leveling up” dans un jeu en français

If I'm playing an online game such as World of Warcraft, how would I say the idiomatic expression "level up" in French? I know I see "monter niveau" and such, but how would it be said colloquially? ...
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3answers
16k views

Is “La vie est belle” a specific idiom in French?

There is a famous movie Life is Beautiful - by Roberto Benigni made in 1997 with strong European themes. In addition, the perfume that Julia Roberts promotes, La vie est belle, translates to Life is ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a colloquial phrase for a brash, over-confident person?

I'm looking for an idiom which corresponds to the English "He's got more front than Harrods". The phrase implies more than just self-confidence, but someone cheeky/brazen who will 'try it on'. I ...
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4answers
746 views

Meaning of “Chacun y met du sien”

I'm having trouble translating Chacun y met du sien Which I think says "Each one puts their own there" but I don't understand why it's "du" and not just "le" Wouldn't Chacun y met le sien ...
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2answers
56 views

The phrase “c'est au premier qui …”

Sometimes it seems that the best translation would be something like "the winner is the one who ..." : Ils avaient inventé un jeu ... C'était au premier qui reconnaîtrait l'auteur de ces clichés. ...
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2answers
190 views

Comment dire l'expression anglaise « Who wouldn’t? » en français ?

J'aimerais un équivalent de : “I need money.” “Who wouldn't?” Cette réponse suggère « tout le monde à besoin d'argent ». La phrase « Qui ne l'aurait pas ? » m'est venue à l'esprit, mais je n'en ...
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4answers
159 views

Antique expressions “tourmenteroit” and “à-peu-près”

I am trying to figure out what is meant by some antiquated expressions found in Mme. Motteville's memoirs, the phrase: Laffemas avoit promis au Ministre qu'il le tourmenteroit si bien qu'il en ...
0
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2answers
1k views

How to say growing up

I'm trying to work out how to say variations on the phrase "growing up" to refer to my childhood. Since this is idiomatic in English I don't think a direct translation will make sense.
2
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3answers
430 views

“fine” in “faire la fine bouche”?

Sadly, I am an extremely picky eater, so it's good for me to know how to tell people this to explain my selectivity with restaurants and meals. But I'm a bit confused by the phrase "faire la fine ...
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3answers
1k views

How did “Allez, viens!” originate?

This phrase has never made much sense to me. It's a 2nd-person plural imperative followed by a 1st/2nd person singular non-imperative. I understand it to me "C'mon, let's go!" but it's not clear to ...
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3answers
2k views

Quel est le sens de « gorge nouée » ?

Je suis en train de lire un roman, et je suis tombé sur l'expression « gorge nouée » dans cet extrait : Ceux qui ont changé l'école ont dû connaître ces matinées de septembre où, gorge nouée, on ...
2
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2answers
192 views

Comment exprimer la phrase russe “Хорошего понемножку” ?

Comment traduit-on du russe le syntagme "Хорошего понемножку"? La phrase mot-à-mot traduite comme "du bon par petite quantité" en gros veut dire que "ça suffit!... car on doit avoir une mesure pour ...
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2answers
94 views

Is it idiomatic to use an infinitive in a question without finite verb or preposition?

In two journal articles, I came across a use of the infinitive in French that I'm not familiar with. The first article is titled Enseigner la vertu?, and the second—which is a reply to the first—is ...
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5answers
2k views

How to say “old days” in French?

Recently, I have found a French relative on the net and I want to tell him: I also have a vague memory of the old days. How can I say the sentence above and specially the "old days" in French that ...
5
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2answers
406 views

Meaning of “Autant faire”?

"...comme nous devrons y goûter devant les romains, autant faire un bon potage." I don't really understand that grammatically. I interpret the sentence to mean something to the effect of "Since we'll ...
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2answers
281 views

Is “rien n'est à craindre, tout est à comprendre” a play on words?

A question based on comments here Dans la vie, rien n'est à craindre, tout est à comprendre (Marie Curie) Is it a play on words in French?
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1answer
137 views

Is “work of the devil” a correct translation of this phrase?

In a letter, the mathematician Abel wrote Les séries divergentes sont en général quelque chose de bien fatal et c’est une honte qu’on ose y fonder aucune démonstration. In the book NIELS HENRIK ...
3
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1answer
173 views

What is the word/expression that is pronounced something like “bee-ah”? [closed]

My French teacher says a couple of expressions pretty often. Some of them I understand, but there's an expression I cannot figure out what it means. The problem is I can't google it because I don't ...
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4answers
1k views

“Faut pas trop y compter”?

Came across this sentence in Astérix and had no idea what it meant. The main character, Astérix, says "J'aimerais bien une bonne bagarre," and his friend Obélix responds "Faut pas trop y compter." ...
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2answers
146 views

What is the “Mayday Mayday Mayday” procedure in French?

"Mayday" is an emergency procedure word used as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications in English. What would be the equivalent in French?
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2answers
300 views

Une traduction de « wildcard », appliqué à des personnes ?

Je cherche un mot qui exprime une personne : qu'on peut utiliser partout qui sait « tout » sur « tout » ... Quand je cherches sur Internet, je tombe bien-sûr sur des termes techniques informatiques ...
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1answer
311 views

Quelle est l’origine de l’expression «avoir à voir»?

Avoir à voir signifie avoir un rapport. Par exemple: Sa maladie n’a rien à voir avec la chaleur. Mais il n’est pas évident quelle est la signification de voir dans cette expression. Alors, comment ...
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4answers
450 views

Définition de bruit de couloir

Je voudrais savoir la définition de : bruit de couloir J'ai entendu cette expression dans une chanson française.
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2answers
149 views

Why do nouns sometimes take an article and sometimes not?

I don't understand why in some cases, nouns have to add the word “le/la/l'” in front of them (e.g: in the structure “avoir l'intention de...” or “avoir l'air de”). However in some other cases, there ...
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5answers
1k views

What are the French “language buffer” words (aka “filler words”)?

I was curious as to how to translate some "filler words" that often appear in English speech but might not translate literally into French. For example, I might often say, "I guess," when talking ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a French equivalent to the English expression “hot potato”?

A definition from the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is "a controversial issue or situation that is awkward or unpleasant to deal with"
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3answers
239 views

A la Sainte Luce, les jours croissent du saut d'une puce

I've got some questions about this phrase: A la Sainte Luce, les jours croissent du saut d'une puce I can only find pages in French about it seem to be discussing the shortness of the day around ...
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4answers
171 views

Movie Jail, expression intraduisible ?

Extrait d'un article du journal : [Paul Feig] revient de loin. Du « Movie Jail », lance-t-il en s'esclaffant, expression intraduisible désignant le purgatoire où croupissent les artistes [...
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “servi pour l'ensemble des convives”

In menus (the printed variety) the phrase “servi pour l'ensemble des convives” can be found in the description of some menus (the multi-course meal). A literal translation does not get me very far, so ...
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6answers
2k views

Translation of “This isn't rocket science”?

The expression This isn't rocket science. is used to say essentially Ce n'est pas trop difficile. Is there a closer equivalent or expression?
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4answers
3k views

How to express “this is all about” in French?

What is a translation of the phrase "this is all about" in French? For example: This episode is all about finding a job. meaning that this topic is (maybe not obviously) the actual topic of ...
3
votes
1answer
235 views

Ça n'en vaut pas la peine

I understood that this sentence means, it's not worth the trouble, but, Why is there 'en' between ne and vaut? What does it signify? Is it a pronoun? In which other connotations can "en" be used?