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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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votes
1answer
508 views

What does “Tu peux toujours courir !” mean?

I encountered this while reading Astérix gladiateur, and I can't make heads or tails of this sentence. The bard Assurancetourix has been captured and brought to Caesar as a gift. In Caesar's court he ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does it mean that a mouse becomes a snail in the song “Une souris verte”?

According to Wikipedia, "Une souris verte" ("A Green Mouse") is a strange children's song, very well known in France, dated to the 18th century or the end of the 17th century. I have copied and ...
1
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3answers
185 views

“T'en as un œil” ?

I encountered this while reading Astérix. The exchange is as follows, where the druid is a prisoner in a Gothic jail being threatened by his captors who are demanding to see his magic: Goth: ...
-1
votes
1answer
71 views

I fugured en français? [closed]

Salut à tous Je me demandais s'il y avait des équivalents pour les expressions: «I figured», «I figured it out» en français?
5
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2answers
131 views

Expression donner beaucoup pour peu

Est-ce qu'il existe une expression qui signifierait "donner beaucoup en échange de peu", ou pour essayer d'être un peu plus précis, "faire des concessions importantes en échange de petits gains qui ne ...
10
votes
3answers
896 views

“Poil au menton”?

I encountered this while reading Astérix. The conversation goes as follows: Roman Commander : Après quoi, nous nous débarrasserons de ces deux gaulois ! Ce sera pour eux une leçon ! Roman ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Translating expression (eighteenth century)

In a translation I came across the following saying: J'en suis encor tout hors de moi The character here is rather upset in this scene, so I have translated it as: I am still beside myself Is ...
0
votes
1answer
257 views

“Je vais chercher les enfants”

Que comprenez-vous si je dis: Je vais chercher les enfants. sans plus de contexte? Ou bien: quels sont les sens possibles suivant le contexte? Y-a-t'il des variations régionales? (on me dit que l'...
4
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3answers
5k views

“It is the fate of glass to break.”

In the movie Spectre, M claims that the French have a saying: "it is the fate of glass to break." I wanted to learn the original French, and its meaning. I found this: « Tant va la cruche à l'eau ...
4
votes
2answers
227 views

« Faire couler les érables de bonne heure »

Que signifie l'expression idiomatique « faire couler les érables de bonne heure » ? La voici dans un extrait d'un article du Devoir : Je vous écoute déchirer votre chemise pour faire des tapis de ...
2
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2answers
68 views

Thinking of all possible responses after walking away from an argument

I am searching for a phrase for the feeling that you have when you walk away from an argument and think of all the responses that you could have said. I remember that my friend told me that there was ...
3
votes
2answers
707 views

Translation of “never take for granted”

"I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your help and I never take it for granted." Je voulais vous dire que j'apprécie beaucoup votre aide et ____. What should be the translation for "...
3
votes
4answers
280 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
83 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
votes
3answers
205 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
680 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
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
219 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,...
1
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1answer
71 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"?
2
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3answers
186 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
524 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
vote
1answer
38 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.
1
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1answer
80 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 ? »
2
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2answers
445 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'...
3
votes
4answers
298 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 ...
1
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3answers
218 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
469 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
669 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
votes
1answer
91 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!
8
votes
7answers
289 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
566 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? ...
1
vote
3answers
23k 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
793 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
59 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
219 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
184 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
564 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
3k 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
votes
2answers
197 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
9
votes
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
votes
2answers
576 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
385 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?
2
votes
1answer
155 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
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
10
votes
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." ...
2
votes
3answers
255 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?