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15 French idioms that will make you go hmmm….

15 French idioms that will make you go hmmm….

In honor of International Francophonie Day, Musement takes a look at 15 quirky French idioms that make no sense in English.

There’s just something so je ne sais quoi about anything and everything French to us mere mortals who can’t speak the enchantingly intriguing language. However, some phrases, French idioms for example, just don’t make sense in our native language, even to the savviest English mother-tongue Francophiles…until they learn the meaning of course.

In honor of International Francophonie Day, which falls on March 20, we thought we’d ask one of our native Francophones to share 15 quirky French idioms that, though they may bewilder you, they will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face. Keep them in mind the next time you’re in Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Montreal or any wonderful Francophile land. Oh là là!

1. Poser un lapin à quelqu’un

Poser un lapin à quelqu’un literally means “to put rabbit down to someone”.
Figurative meaning: to stand someone up

2. Un coup de foudre

Un coup de foudre literally means “a strike of lightning”.
Figurative meaning: love at first sight.

3. Avoir la gueule de bois

Avoir la gueule de bois literally means “to have a wooden face”.
Figurative meaning: to have a hangover — when you drink too much and your mouth is as dry as wood.

4.Manger sur le pouce

Manger sur le pouce literally means “to eat on the thumb”.
Figurative meaning: grab a bite to eat, to eat on the go, without sitting down and taking the time to savor your meal.

5. Tomber dans les pommes

Tomber dans les pommes literally means “to fall into the apples”.
Figurative meaning: to faint.

6. Être haut comme trois pommes

Être haut comme trois pommes literally means “to be tall like three apples”.
Figurative meaning: knee-high to a grasshopper, and it’s used when speaking about children or childhood.

7. Il fait un froid de canard

Il fait un froid de canard literally means “it’s a duck-like cold”.
Figurative meaning: It’s freezing.

8. Se prendre un râteau

Se prendre un râteau literally means “to get a rake”.
Figurative meaning: When someone tries to seduce another person and fails; to face a rebuttal.

9. Se rouler une pelle

Se rouler une pelle literally means “to roll a shovel”.
Figurative meaning: French kiss

10. Tirer les vers du nez à quelqu’un

Tirer les vers du nez à quelqu’un literally means “to pull the worms out of someone’s nose”.
Figurative meaning: Relentlessly questioning someone to get information.

11. Rouler dans la farine

Rouler dans la farine literally means to “roll in the flour”.
Figurative meaning: to make a fool out of someone.

12. S’occuper de ses oignons

S’occuper de ses oignons literally means “to deal with one’s onions”.
Figurative meaning: to mind one’s own business.

13. En avoir ras-le bol

En avoir ras-le bol literally means “to have a bowl full of it”.
Figurative meaning: to be fed up with.

14. Avoir un poil dans la main

Avoir un poil dans la main literally means “to have hair in your hand”.

15. Peigner la girafe

Peigner la girafeliterally means “to comb the giraffe”.
Figurative meaning: to engage in a long pointless conversation.

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