47 votes

"It is what it is" in French

The first expression that comes to mind is: Mais c'est comme ça. e.g.: Regarde, on a perdu le match, mais c'est comme ça. La seule chose qu'on peut faire, c'est travailler encore plus dur pour le ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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35 votes
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What does "j'ai tennis" idiom mean?

As Alone-zee already commented, j'ai tennis is based on a well known humorous lame excuse to tell you won't be able to attend something. The phrase means you have a planned tennis match or training. ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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28 votes
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French equivalent of "my cup of tea"

I hear often the negative form "c'est pas ma tasse de thé" in France but almost never the affirmative "c'est ma tasse de thé" . "C'est mon truc" works in both affirmative and negative forms. The ...
Thomas Martin's user avatar
27 votes

Is there an idiomatic French expression for "There goes my/your/etc. ...," meaning something you assumed you had suddenly disappears?

An idiomatic reply to these sentences might be Tu peux dire adieu à [...]: Tu peux dire adieu à ton héritage. Tu peux dire adieu à ton pouvoir de séduction. Tu peux dire adieu à ta garantie.
jlliagre's user avatar
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24 votes
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French equivalents of "cost an arm and a leg"

I'd use: {informal}: coûter les yeux de la tête {informal}: coûter la peau des fesses {crude}: coûter la peau du cul {crude}: coûter la peau des couilles {informal}: coûter un bras {informal}: coûter ...
Con-gras-tue-les-chiens's user avatar
22 votes

"It is what it is" in French

It all depends on the context, but in those two particular cases, believe it or not, a French speaker may actually use “C'est la vie”. Écoute, on a perdu. C'est la vie. On fera mieux la prochaine ...
Stéphane Gimenez's user avatar
20 votes
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Run in your family

A practitioner would probably say one of those: Avez-vous des antécédents familiaux ? Y a-t-il des antécédents dans votre famille ? Antécédents médicaux (shortened antécédents) can be translated by ...
Sacha's user avatar
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19 votes
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'Avoir les boules': submissive or aggressive

Don't confuse avoir les boules (because of sth) and avoir les couilles (to do sth). The latter matches to have the balls / the guts. In the former one, the boules are more the glandes (the ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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18 votes

Do it while you can or “Strike while the iron is hot” in French

The very same metaphor exists in French since at least the 14th century and is still in common usage: Il faut battre le fer tant qu'il est chaud. The preposition might be tandis, quand, pendant, or ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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17 votes

What's the word equivalent to, "Announcement! Announcement!" or "Attention! Attention!"

That's certainly: Chères clientes, chers clients ! (Dear customers) The expression is not specific to Switzerland.
jlliagre's user avatar
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16 votes
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Conveying "out of the blue" (completely unexpected)

No single expression can translate out of the blue. Depending on the context, potential idiomatic ones might be: Il est sorti de nulle part il est arrivé d'on ne sait pas où (ou le velours courant : ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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14 votes

What’s the French equivalent to ‘why not?’

There is a very common equivalent: pourquoi pas ?
Greg's user avatar
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14 votes
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Conveying the idea of "tricky"

You could use the adjective vicieux if you want to convey a slighty humorous touch. It carries a mildly "sadistic" touch. C'était un problème facile. En voici un plus vicieux.
Greg's user avatar
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13 votes

Ready as I'll ever be

It's possible to use plus prêt que jamais which as an answer would often be shortened as follows: — Tu es prêt ? — Plus que jamais ! Another very common phrase is “C'est maintenant ou jamais !”.
Stéphane Gimenez's user avatar
13 votes

How do you say in French “if you don't mind my asking”?

The most formal way would be: Si je puis me permettre, (question) Note that you could also use the interrogative form: Puis-je me permettre de vous demander (question)? I think this is as ...
SveborK's user avatar
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12 votes
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Meaning of "Chacun y met du sien"

In Old French sien meant one's property (le mien → "my property"; le tien → "your property", etc.). This meaning has long been forgotten and nowadays mien, tien, sien, is used as a ...
None's user avatar
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12 votes

"It is what it is" in French

I also found this (exclusively for French Canadians) ...c'est ça qui est ça... Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/French/comments/1zhrhf/cest_quoi_l%C3%A9quivalent_en_fran%C3%A7ais_de_it_is_what/ See ...
Dimitris's user avatar
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12 votes

"It is what it is" in French

One idiomatic way to express it, albeit not formal at all, would be : C'est l'jeu, ma pauv' Lucette. This come from a TV advertisement for the Française Des Jeux (French lottery), in which an old ...
Kevin FONTAINE's user avatar
12 votes
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Spring forward, fall back

Je viens d'entendre d'une francophone qui habite au Canada qu'on emploie une replique phonétique plutôt que sémantique : En avril on avance : en octobre on recule. Je propose ceci comme réponse pour ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
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11 votes
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How to say "old days" in French?

When you're speaking of something or someone becoming old, like in "You're really losing it in your old days", you can use "sur tes vieux jours". But in this case you've got, this seems to be a ...
Nico's user avatar
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11 votes
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Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire "pour quelque chose" dans ce contexte?

It means here "he contributed to it", "he had something to do with it" yes. "y être pour quelque chose" is in fact an expression in itself which carries this meaning, so you can not really ...
Christian's user avatar
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11 votes

Is there a way to say "thanks to" in French but in a sarcastic manner?

Like with the English "thanks to", the tone is essential to make clear what you mean with merci. I would then suggest: Plus personne ne peut sortir de chez soi, merci le coronavirus ! As ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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10 votes

“The elephant in the room” in French

« Le sujet qui fâche » is a French idiom which (quite literally) refers to a subject matter that is causing tension. For example, “let’s talk about the elephant in the room” could be translated « ...
Grimmy's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is an idiomatic French equivalent of the English expression “hold a gun to your head”?

Pointer un pistolet sur la tempe / mettre un couteau sur la gorge En français le pistolet est pointé sur la tempe. Libre-échange: Theresa May pointe un pistolet sur la tempe des Européens. (Source : ...
None's user avatar
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10 votes
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Les expressions métaphoriques se référant aux animaux

Community wiki Autruche   - Faire l’~ (refuser de constater les faits, d’admettre la réalité)   - Avoir un estomac d’~ (manger n'importe quoi) Bouc   - Un ~ émissaire (personne qui prend toute la ...
10 votes

Where does the idea that French people say "oh la la" all the time come from ?

French people do say oh là là, hou là là and houlà quite often but it doesn't have the connotations found in English. Well, it can but rarely. Here are examples of its use in French: Il est déjà sept ...
jlliagre's user avatar
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10 votes

What are the different ways one can refer to the home in everyday French

Maison is not only used for the building but is also used to refer to the place where you live. Je suis à la maison. → I'm at home. We can also use chez moi/ chez toi /chez nous etc. Il est chez ...
None's user avatar
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10 votes

Peut-on être fier et humble à la fois ?

Il ne s’agit pas de prendre les mots à la lettre, mais de manifester les émotions suscitées par l'événement  : — Je suis fier d’avoir réussi cette épreuve, d’avoir dépassé ce que je croyais ềtre ...
Personne's user avatar
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