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Posts tagged ‘Idioms’

No. 38: Edible Insults en Français

As I soldiered on with my intensive French course today, le prof decided to liven things up by presenting us with a list of insults / reprimands en Français. He taught us some good ones and they are so yummy, I just had to share them with you!

…in keeping with the food theme of last week’s French idioms, all of these insolent phrases continue to pay homage to France’s love of, and connection to, food.


AndouilletteSay for example, you are angry with someone, and you want to be more descriptive than simply calling him/her an idiot, you could say instead:

Espèce d’andouille! (You) piece of sausage!

Une vraie courge!  (What) an utter squash!

Quelle nouille!  What a noodle!

Quelle poire!  What a pear!

 If you want to tell someone to go where the sun don’t shine, you could say:

Va te faire cuire un œuf! Go cook yourself an egg! (Go to hell!)img_0244

Want to tell someone to mind his own beeswax? Try this gem:

Occupe-toi de tes oignons!Mind your own onions!

If you think your colleague is one twist short of a slinky, you might tell your boss:

Elle travaille de la cafetièr.  She’s working from her coffee pot!


Elle pédale dans la choucroute!. She pedals in the sauerkraut!images 2

If you want to criticize a person’s looks you can handily compare them to some common food. For example, you could tell a woman:

Vous avez deux oeufs sur le plat. You have two fried eggs on the plate. (You’re flat-chested.)

Think someone’s ears are too big? Try:

Vous avez des oreilles en chou-fleur.  You have ears made of cauliflowers.

Have a friend who has become a bit pudgy around the middle? How about comparing him to a breakfast bun?

Il a de la brioche.  He has some brioche. (a potbelly)

Do you have a friend who is much taller than the average? You could always call him:

Une grande asperge. A big asparagus.images

Oh, I love this tricky and vivid language! Please let me know if you have come across any other charming food-related insults (and if I have made any mistakes).


Amusez-vous!  Enjoy! / Have fun!

en Français: in French

le prof: the teacher (short for le professeur-informal)




No. 35: French Idioms: Fruits et Legumes

Steve Martin, Good Cop, Bad Cop, The Pink Panther, 2006

Steve Martin, Good Cop, Bad Cop, The Pink Panther, 2006

“Bizu: And now he’s pushing up the daisies.

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: He is not ‘pushing up the daisies,’ he is DEAD!

Bizu: (glares) It’s an idiom!

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: You, sir, are the idiom.”

Steve Martin and William Abadie, The Pink Panther, 2006

I’ve just started an intensive French course, so don’t be surprised if November’s post are a bit heavy on new vocabulary and sayings. Today our class spent the afternoon learning about French idioms, particularly those with references to food. Et bien sûr, le French adore eating and cooking so it only makes sense that their language is flavored with the stuff meals are made of…

…here are some of my favorites:


J’ai la pêche! I feel great! (I have the peach; I’m peachy)

Couper la poire en deux: to meet someone halfway; (to cut the pear in two)

Sucrer les fraises: to be a bit nutty; (to sugar the strawberries)

Se prendre une prune: to take a punch/hit, or get a speeding ticket; (to take a plum—perhaps the purple skin resembles a bruise?)

Tomber dans les pommes: to faint/pass out; (to fall in the apples)

Avoir la banana: to have a big smile; (to have the banana)

Etre la bonne poire: to be easily tricked/duped, to be too trusting (to be a good pear- ripe for the picking)

Avoir un coeur d’artichaud: to be tender-hearted, to fall easily in love; (to have the heart of an artichoke)


Appuyer sur le champignon: to drive very fast, speed, accelerate; (to press on the mushroom)

Raconter des salades: to tell lies or exaggerated stories; (to tell salads)

Ne plus avoir un radis: to have no money, to be broke; (to no longer have any radishes)

Les carottes sont cuites: it’s all over, nothing more can be done; (the carrots are cooked)

Mon petit chou: a term of endearment; (my little cabbage)