1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. (Useful to know) French idiom…


(Useful to know) French idioms and expressions

Idioms are essential for language learning and makes you sound like a native if you use them. I hope you enjoy this simplified list from this link https://flashacademy.com/funny-french-idioms-and-expressions/

1) J’ai la flemme- literally means 'I'm lazy' and is used when you are saying you don't want to do something

2) C’est grave bien !- the word 'grave' means seriously. It is like saying this is seriously good

3) Bah, en fait…- means “Well, ummh, actually …” in English

4) Un temps de chien- means dog weather. Similar to "it's raining cats and dogs"

5) j’hallucine !- The same as "I am hallucinating!" It can be used as a negative or positive expression. It's like says "I can't believe my eyes!"

6) J’en peux plus!- "I can't stand it anymore!"

7) Fais gaffe !- "Watch out!"

8) Du coup…- it is used as a sentence connector. The English equivalent to "so..."

9) Plein comme un oeuf- Literally, ‘I’m full as an egg.’ This expression means to have a full stomach after eating. We may say ‘I’m stuffed’ in English.

10) C’est énorme !- literally "its enormous!" Used like as in saying wow!

How to use idioms: 1) Idioms tend to be informal

2) Don't be shy to use them to spice up your conversations

3) Sometimes you don't understand what your french friend is saying so just ask! "Je ne comprends pas"

December 30, 2017



C’est simple comme bonjour. Easy as pie

Ce n’est pas tes haricots! It’s none of your business

Il est louche (he’s a soup ladle) He’s suspicious

J’en ai ras lo bol I’ve had enough

Il monte comme une soupe au lait (he rises like a cream soup) He has a quick temper

Ça m’a coupé le souffle That took my breath away

Elle m’a posé un lapin (she left me a rabbit) She stood me up

Il est vache (he’s a cow) He’s mean

C’est vachement bien (it’s cowly good) It’s very good

Mon petit chou (my little cabbage) My darling

Ce n’est pas tes onions! It’s none of your business!

L’habit ne fait pas le moine (thé costume doesn’t make a monk) Don’t judge a book by its cover


These are good to know. Thanks!


"Ce n’est pas tes haricots!" => Never heard this one =( We only use the onion expression "Il monte comme une soupe au lait" => Not usual form, people usually say "Il est soupe au lait" but it's the same meaning.

All the expressions above (+ first post) are common and used very often in France. :)


9) Plein comme un oeuf- Literally, ‘I’m full as an egg.’ This expression means to have a full stomach after eating. We may say ‘I’m stuffed’ in English.

I have always said "I'm as full as a goog", the "goog" being an egg.

"As full as an egg" was part of a piece of dialogue delivered by Shakepeare's Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Act 3 scene 1).


For anybody who has - and is currently working on - the Idioms skill in French, why are the phrases "Help!" and "Run for your life!" considered idioms? They may be commonly used, but they are direct and not figurative in nature. Maybe these phrases could be taught in the "Phrases" skill?


ooh, these are some good ones


Thanks for these. Definitely buying the "Idioms" bonus skill now.


Thanks - these will surely be useful!

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.