44 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 ...
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31 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. ...
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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 ...
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26 votes
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Translation of “This isn't rocket science”?

«Ce n'est pas sorcier» would be a good equivalent expression.
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25 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.
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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 ...
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21 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 1,494
20 votes

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

Beside the expression already given there is this following one. faire une croix sur It is often used with the verb "pouvoir". Vous pouvez faire une croix sur votre vie amoureuse. Vous ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.
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15 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 : ...
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14 votes
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How to apologise in French

Pardon ! Excusez-moi ! Désolé ! (Québec) Sont les réponses 'réflexes' possibles. Excuses plus formelles : Je vous demande pardon. Je suis désolé, est-ce que je peux vous aider. Très soutenu : Je ...
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  • 24.1k
14 votes

Translation of “This isn't rocket science”?

There’s this phrase that matches the spirit quite well: [Il n’y a] pas besoin d’avoir fait Polytechnique pour […] Meaning “One does no need a Polytechnique degree to […]”, the École Polytechnique ...
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14 votes

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

There is a very common equivalent: pourquoi pas ?
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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.
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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 !”.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 56.4k
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/ ...
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  • 26.4k
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 16.7k
11 votes

An idiom to translate "indian giver"

L'expression Indian giver me fait penser à l'expression française donner d'une main et reprendre de l'autre, qu'on trouve avec des variantes : donner d’une main et retenir de l’autre donner d’une ...
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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 ...
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  • 426
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 ...
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  • 128
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 ...
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  • 128k
10 votes

Quelle serait la meilleure formulation de « feel free » en français ?

J'utiliserais le terme "hésiter". On entend parfois en conférence un orateur dire : N'hésitez pas à m'interrompre pour poser des questions On peut aussi indiquer qu'on est disponible/qu'on ...
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