Questions tagged [expressions-idiomatiques]

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

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74 views

Sauter - idiomatic meanings

Donnez au croupier la possibilité de sauter tout seul ! This use of 'sauter' seems to imply an idiomatic meaning, something like get himself in a fix, or give himself a length of rope Or does it ...
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174 views

When did the expression “dernier cri” start to be used in the context of fashion trends?

In a recent question in the Spanish language site we have debated about the origin of the Spanish expression último grito in the context of fashion trends. The first examples of it seem to come from ...
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What's the meaning of “Bien sûr je veux mon palais mais racontez pas vos salades”

I cannot understand what the meaning of "Bien sûr je veux mon palais mais racontez pas vos salades" is. I could not understand the first part of the phrase because I know that "raconter des salades" ...
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2answers
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Mettre du beurre dans les épinards

After doing some light research I found idiomatic translations such as we could use the extra to grease the wheels make lemons into lemonade put butter on your bread I'm somewhat confused. I ...
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1answer
45 views

Expression I cannot figure out

In the phrase Les garçons ont passé leur examen et tous l'ont eu. I understand that it means The boys took their tests and all of them passed. But what I can't figure out is what is the ...
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1answer
110 views

How to say “I'm leaving France”?

I was reading the following article about the different types of "leaving". It is still unclear to me how to say "I am leaving France". Google trans gives me Je quitte la France. The ...
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3answers
108 views

Comment exprimer/transposer « (like) a fly in amber » ?

Captain's log, supplemental. We remain like a fly in amber trapped in the void. We have encountered a vessel which appears to be the USS Yamato. All its systems are shown as functioning, yet it ...
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1answer
58 views

What is « en » in « J'en ai marre de » ?

Je sais que en général le pronom « en » peut remplacer la construction « de + nom. », donc, je suis un peu confus parce que dans la phrase « j'en ai marre de » on a déjà un « en », et je ne sais pas ...
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1answer
58 views

Is « j'allais » idiomatic in French?

In English, if we had intended to do something, but perhaps had not yet done it, we might say "I was going to do [that]." I've seen this translated literally in French when watching subtitled shows - «...
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How to convey the sense of “scare the bejesus out of me”

Scare the bejesus out of sb: to frighten, annoy, bore, etc. someone very much [Cambridge]. Scare the bejesus out of sb: To shock or frighten one very suddenly or severely. ("Bejesus," a mild ...
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72 views

Origine de l'expression « pain amer »

« Pain amer » seems to be a common enough expression that movies and books are given this title, and it is the subject of this wordplay of Camus' in La peste: La souffrance des enfants était notre ...
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2answers
107 views

Who would doubt it?

How does one render in French expressions such as "Who would doubt it?", "Who would think so?" More specifically, is it more appropriate to use the conditional tense (Qui douterait ça ?"), or the ...
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1answer
67 views

Usage of “hier” to convey “ yesterday” as in “I need this report yesterday”

Yesterday has an idiomatic usage which is basically a synonym for "as soon as possible". I need those reports, and I need them yesterday. ≈ I need them ASAP. We want to see them in a concert. ...
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3answers
122 views

Comment exprimer « to flip the script » ?

J'ai entendu l'expression anglaise (to) flip the script, « (slang) to reverse a situation, especially by doing something unexpected » (Wiktionnaire). Le contexte c'était la compétition et le style des ...
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62 views

Les expressions « « lâche-moi les baskets » et « s'accrocher aux basques de quelqu'un » sont-elles reliées ?

On a l'expression populaire « lâche-moi les baskets » pour « laisse-moi tranquille » (Larousse en ligne). Par ailleurs on a l'expression familière « se pendre, s'accrocher aux basques de quelqu'un » c'...
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4answers
78 views

“Basic conflict” en français?

"Basic conflict" semble être un faux ami (ça ne veut pas dire "un conflit basique/peu complexe"). On le voit dans cette étude : Harmful traditions create a basic conflict. [...] This is the basic ...
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1answer
153 views

Meaning of “valoir” in “Mieux vaut tard que jamais”

The phrase "Mieux vaut tard que jamais" is translated as "Better late than never". But what is the sense of the word "vaut" in the French phrase?
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66 views

Being on hold (on the phone)

(I've been trying off and on for decades to find the answer to this puzzle.) This question provides some useful guidance for talking about asking someone on the phone to chill for a bit. But I'm ...
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1answer
116 views

Swing la bacaisse dans l'fond d'la boîte à bois

Je voudrais savoir si il existe d'autres interprétations de l'expression «Swing la bacaisse dans l'fond d'la boîte à bois» que celle communément acceptée. Après avoir lu la question Origine du mot “...
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2answers
139 views

Usage de “La madeleine de Proust”

L'expression La madeleine de Proust http://www.expressio.fr/expressions/une-madeleine-de-proust.php c'est une expression qui parle de quelque chose qui déclenche le mémoire. (un déjà-vu). Peut-...
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67 views

Translation of “It is found to be”

The echelon form of the matrix is found to be given by... La forme échelonnée de la matrice se trouve être donnée par... I have a feeling that the French turn would sound a bit weird to native ...
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271 views

Usage of “tour de force”

In English one can use a tour de force speaking about a display of a skill, or ingenuity. For instance, In 1943 in a tour de force of mathematical physics, Lars Onsager solved the 2D Ising Model. (...
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963 views

Conveying the idea of « go figure »

En grec nous avons une expression « τρέχα (https://www.wordreference.com/gren/%CF%84%CF%81%CE%AD%CF%87%CE%B1) γύρευε (see, look for, search for, figure out) » (trecha gyreve) ; on le dit de quelque ...
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751 views

Idiom for “Ahead of its time”

Is En avance sur son temps idiomatic in French as Ahead of its time in English? For instance, Five Movies with Special Effects Ahead of Their Time. Cinq films avec effets spéciaux en avance ...
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274 views

Peut-on être fier et humble à la fois ?

J'ai, à plusieurs reprises, entendu des personnes dire, suite à, entre autres, une nomination, une remise de prix ou une décoration, qu'ils en « sont fiers » et qu'ils l'acceptent « avec humilité » (...
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1answer
93 views

Emploi du verbe “procrastiner” pour rendre l'idée de “remettre aux calendes grecques”

L'expression "remettre aux calendes grecques" est-elle répandue/reconnue ? Peut-on couramment rendre son sens avec le verbe "procrastiner" ?
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232 views

Traduction de l'anglais « man's man »

I On trouve une définition de « man's man » dans le dictionnaire anglais-français « Harrap's »; c'est « un vrai homme, un homme que les autres hommes admirent ». Cependant, dans cette source, ...
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280 views

Conveying the idea of “stay tuned”

In one course I wanted to say to my students: More advanced things to come; stay tuned! I wasn't sure if the translation " restez à l'écoute" can be used idiomatically in this context. Des ...
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2k views

Conveying the idea of “tricky”

The other day I wanted to say to my students That was easy, here's a trickier one. I said Ça c'était facile, en voici un plus délicat. But I think délicat is of higher register than tricky. ...
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208 views

Origine et signification d'expression “Faire monde”

J'ai rencontré l'expression "faire monde" : https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/faire-monde.1430525/ Quelle est l'origine de cette expression ? Quel phénomène grammatical permet la juxtaposition ...
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284 views

Conveying the idea of “It's piece of cake” by “simple comme bonjour” or “bête comme chou”

L'autre jour j'ai voulu dire "I cannot understand the grades. The exam paper was a piece of cake." J'ai dit : Les notes sont inexplicables. Les sujets étaient simples comme bonjour." Je ne ...
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4answers
292 views

Using “meilleure chose depuis le pain en tranches” to convey “best thing since sliced bread”

Googling about the British idiom "Best thing since sliced bread" I encounter the French expression "meilleure chose depuis le pain en tranches". Is it a proper French idiomatic expression? For ...
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498 views

Conveying the idea of “Elvis has left the building” (i.e. Sth has come to an end – it’s over)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_has_left_the_building Le sens que prend l'expression quand elle est réutilisée hors contexte est : « C'est fini, il n'y a plus rien à attendre, à espérer ». ...
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What are the different ways one can refer to the home in everyday French

For instance how do I say “when will you be home?” to my wife in an informal way and referring to our home? Is there a French word for home as distinct from house and apartment, as there is in ...
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55 views

Conveying the idea of “the biggest travesty”

L'autre jour j'ai parlé de Sergio Leone et Stanley Kubrick et j'ai voulu dire en français : SK and SL didn't win an Oscar in Best Film/Best Director categories. This is the biggest travesty. or ...
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235 views

Conveying the idea of “down the road” (i.e. in the future)

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/down+the+road Lots of things will have changed a few years down the road. Down the road is used metaphorically instead of in the future. One could say ...
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« (Faire de) l'esprit en bouteille », est-ce réellement une expression du français ?

Je me souviens maintenant d'une expression que l'une de mes connaissances utilisait en parlant de l'humour douteux de certaines personnes dont elle disait qu'elles faisaient de l'esprit en bouteille (...
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Emploi de “frappe, mais écoute” ('strike, if you will; but hear') (grec: pataxon men, akouson de)

En grec ancien, on dit πάταξον μέν, ἄκουσον δέ (pataxon men, akouson de) = strike, if you will; but hear = frappe, mais écoute Voici un peu de contexte historique : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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216 views

Que veut dire « crisse de voyage » ?

Dans une conversation entre Québécois j'ai entendu cette phrase en réponse à quelqu'un qui demandait au locuteur des nouvelles de sa sœur : Ah, l'histoire de ma sœur, j'ai eu mon crisse de voyage....
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3answers
101 views

Conveying the idea of “alive and kicking”

What are some colloquial ways to express in French "alive and kicking" (meaning alive and healthy) as in A: "How are you doing after your surgery?" B: "I'm alive and kicking!" She ran a ...
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1answer
70 views

Conveying the idea of “can’t hold a candle to”

If you say that one person or thing can't hold a candle to another, you meant that the first person or thing is not nearly as good as the second. E.g. There is not one rock star today who could ...
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108 views

Expressing “(one's) off” as in “he is working his ass off”

(slang) (One's) ass off is used to emphasize the preceding verb as having been done to the maximum degree. For instance I worked my ass off to get where I am today! The people in the back were ...
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1answer
391 views

What do the French say for “Oh, you shouldn’t have”?

In English, this basically means that you’re politely declining a gift that you might feel embarrassed to get or that you don’t feel like you deserve. It can also be used humorously to say that you do ...
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3answers
132 views

En français, est-ce que « de très bons amis » peut impliquer un sous-entendu sexuel ?

En anglais, quand quelqu’un dit « Oh, they’re very good friends! » c’est tout à fait normal mais il y a des situations où on peut le dire pour insinuer qu’il y a une relation sexuelle entre deux ...
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223 views

on s'en fout de ton sac

I heard a dialogue in a movie between a teenage daughter and her mom, which rummaged through the daughter's purse and found some condoms: Daughter: Tu as fouillé dans mon sac? Mother: On s'en fout de ...
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75 views

La locution « à dormir debout » : pourquoi l'extravagant ou l'invraisemblable fait-il dormir de cette manière ?

La locution à dormir debout est attestée en 1611 pour « extravagant » (DHLF/Rey) ; aujourd'hui ça signifierait surtout « invraisemblable ». Peut-on identifier la ou les premières attestations (Littré ...
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1answer
161 views

Comment traduire « full of beans » : adjectif simple, syntagme ou locution ?

En anglais on a l'« adjectif idiomatique » full of beans, signifiant entre autres « energetic and enthusiastic » (Wiktionnaire) ou « full of energy and life » (Merriam Learners) : Jem was among ...
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4k views

French equivalent of “my cup of tea”

https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/my-cup-of-tea.html One expression that I consider a "classic" English one is "my cup of tea". Does the literal translation in French, i.e. "ma tasse de thé", ...
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4answers
443 views

Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît POINT

In this famous saying by B. Pascal,  Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point, what is the meaning of point? Is it just a pun in that  point  sounds like pas or is it supposed to put ...
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173 views

What does “adresser un pot de confiture à l'aigreur de la situation” mean?

Nietzsche : "J’adresse un pot de confiture pour me débarrasser d’une histoire qui tourne au vinaigre." What is meant by the expression adresser un pot de confiture? Especially the word adresser has ...

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