French phrases

Things French-speakers say when they're really mad

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In place of insulting someone's mother, instead get grandma involved when getting angry in French. Tell them how you really feel in French!

1. Go and cook yourself an egg: Va te faire cuire un œuf

We’d like you to get lost – but we don’t want you to starve.

2. Do I ask you if your grandma bikes? Est-ce que je te demande si ta grand-mère fait du vélo?

Mind your own damn business.

3. It makes my leg look so pretty: Ça me fait une belle jambe

If your words had the power to get rid of my cellulite, I’d care what you’re talking about.

4. I care about it like I care about my very first shirt: Je m’en fous comme de ma première chemise

That’s what you dare not say when your in-laws ask if you would like to see our holiday slides?

5. I’m getting swollen by this: Ça me gonfle

Half way into the slide show.

6. Is my ass made of chicken? Et mon cul, c’est du poulet?

Do not answer this question. Bow your head in forgiveness for the lies you’ve been telling or run very fast.

7. I’m going to ring their bells: Je vais lui sonner les cloches

You’ll be yelled at so hard that all you’ll hear is a heavy ringing in your ears.

8. Don’t push grandma in stinging nettle: Faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties

You’re going way too far.

9. We did not look after the pigs together: On a pas gardé les cochons ensemble

So don’t take any liberties with me, will ya?

10. It’s hanging at the tip of your nose: Ça te pend au bout du nez

You’re about to get slapped.

11. Mustard is coming up my nose! La moutarde me monte au nez

When someone is upset or losing their temper, imagine their face is gradually turning red as 'mustard gets up their nose'.


Morgane Croissant / Reprinted with permission of Matador Network.

Morgane CroissantMorgane was born and raised in France, and is a lead producer and contributing editor for Matador Network. She enjoys reading fiction and drinking coffee – activities that usually take place simultaneously. She is also a passionate environmentalist and a staunch feminist.

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