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"To get rolled in flour"

Using these French idioms is a piece of cake !

By Manon Variol

The French are well known to be the cream on the top of gastronomy. Duck confit, choucroute, crêpes, macarons, they are “bons-vivants”. They love food so much that even when they do not talk about it, they mention it in their idioms. So, let’s cook together! We will give you the recipe for French idioms. Take note, or you could end making an omelette! Be careful, they are not really similar in English…

If you go on a trip to France, beware of its inhabitants’ character. Between two coffees, they sometimes deal with sensitive topics. Some of them do not “chew their words” (“ne pas mâcher ses mots”) and the mustard quickly goes to their nose” (“la moutarde leur monte au nez”). When French people are arguing, keep your distance. If you are really curious, “you will not miss a crumb of it” (“ne pas en perdre une miette”). Be careful not to say anything inappropriate or you will “put your feet in the dish” (“mettre les pieds dans le plat”)! If you do not “mind your onions” (“se mêler de ses oignons”), someone will tell you to “go boil an egg” (“aller se faire cuire un œuf”)!

Come on ! This is not a sea to drink !
Come on ! This is not a sea to drink !

But, if this happens to you, do not “make a whole cheese” about it (“en faire tout un fromage”). Everybody can “make a white cabbage” (“faire chou blanc”). And, after all, this is “not the sea to drink” (“pas la mer à boire”)! You should visit the tourist sites instead. If you are “having your stomach in your heels” (“avoir l’estomac dans les talons”), you should stop and sit on a café terrasse. If you go further, you will find a souvenir shop. Beware of “not being rolled in flour” (“se faire rouler dans la farine”)! Some items coud be overpriced. Tourists must “have seen green and not yet ripe” (“en voir des vertes et des pas mûres”)… Anyway, no need to “put your spleen in a court-bouillon” (“se mettre la rate au court-bouillon”). All you have to do is “crunch life with your teeth” (“croquer la vie à pleine dent”) and enjoy your journey !

Obviously, all of this did not mean a thing, as it was translated word for word ! Here are the real English equivalent to these French idioms:

French idiom

Wrong literal translation

English equivalent

Ne pas mâcher ses mots

Not to chew one’s words

Not to mince one’s words

La moutarde lui monte au nez

The mustard goes to one’s nose

To get hot under the collar

Ne pas en perdre une miette

Not to miss a crumb of it

Not to miss a word

Mettre les pieds dans le plat

Put one’s feet in the dish

To put one’s foot in it

Mêle-toi de tes oignons

Mind your onions

Mind your own business

Vas te faire cuire un œuf

Go boil an egg

Go jump in a lake

En faire tout un fromage

Make a whole cheese

To make a song and dance about something

Faire chou blanc

Make a white cabbage

To draw a blank

Ce n’est pas la mer à boire

It’s not the sea to drink

It’s not a big deal

Avoir l’estomac dans les talons

One’s stomach in one’s heels

To be hungry as a horse

Se faire rouler dans la farine

To be rolled in flour

To be taken to the cleaners

En voir des vertes et des pas mûres

To see green and not yet ripe

To go through a lot

Se mettre la rate au court-bouillon

To put one’s spleen in a court-bouillon

To get hot and bothered 

Croquer la vie à pleine dent

To crunch life with your teeth

To live one’s life to the fullest


15/07/2016 - Philippe.variol said :

On boit du petit lait en vous lisant (we drink little milk)

15/07/2016 - uta-uri said :

Sincere condolances to all French residing in UK this 14 JULY

11/07/2016 - accueil said :

Cette rubrique nous fait passer un bon moment et nous fait rire ! D'ailleurs on ne se rend pas compte qu'on utilise tout ce vocabulaire gastronomique au quotidien.....les français seraient-ils obsédés par la nourriture ??? question philosophique s'il en est !


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