If you’re told to ‘mind you own onions’ or ‘go cook yourself an egg’, you’ve clearly made a French person get ‘mustard up their nose’. Here’s a few French phrases that you should know.
The French food obsession goes beyond aged cheeses, hearty recipes and bodied wines – it infuses every part of French culture right down to the phrases. If you want to fit in like a French local, there’s no better way than turning to the nation’s top obsessions: language and food.
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1. Les carottes sont cuites
The French don’t say, “There’s no hope of changing it.” Rather, they say, “the carrots are cooked.”
2. En faire tout un fromage
The French don’t ‘make a big deal of something’, they ‘make a whole cheese about it’.
3. Couper la poire en deux
The French don’t ‘split the bill’, they ‘cut the pear in half’.
4. Pour une bouchée de pain
The French don’t ‘buy something for cheap’ – they buy something for ‘a mouthful of bread’.
5. Occupe-toi de tes oignons
The French won’t tell you to ‘mind your own business’, but they will tell you to ‘mind you own onions’.
6. Va te faire cuire un œuf
The French don’t say ‘get lost’ – they ask you to ‘go and cook yourself an egg’.
7. Mettre de l’eau dans son vin
The French don’t ‘tone it down’, they ‘water down their wine’.
8. Cracher dans la soupe
The French are not ‘ungrateful’, they ‘spit in the soup’.
9. Y mettre son grain de sel
The French won’t ‘stick their nose in your business’, but they will ‘put their grain of salt’ in it.
10. Être soupe au lait
The French don’t have ‘thin skin’, they are “milk soup”
11. Raconter des salades
The French don’t ‘tell lies’, they ‘tell salads’.
12. Être trempé comme une soupe
The French don’t get ‘soaked’, they get ‘drenched like a soup’.
13. Ne pas avoir inventé le fil à couper le beurre
The French won’t call you ‘dumb’ but they will say, “You did not invent the thread that cuts the butter.”
14. Mettre du beurre dans les épinards
The French don’t ‘improve their financial situation’, they ‘put butter in the spinach’.
15. La moutarde me monte au nez
The French don’t ‘get annoyed’, they have ‘mustard coming up their nose’.
16. Être beurré
The French are not ‘drunk’ – they are “buttered’.