How well do you speak French ?

Yesterday I was with an English girlfriend as we strolled along in the French autumn sunshine doing a spot of window-shopping.  They call it leche-vitrine in French, ie window-licking.  It set us thinking about translations of similar phrases and this is what we came up with:-

I’ve got a frog in my throat = j’ai un chat dans la gorge (I have a cat in my throat)

to push up the daisies = manger les pissenlits par la racine (eating the roots of dandelions)

let sleeping dogs lie = ne pas reveiller un chat qui dort (don’t wake a sleeping cat)

go jump in the lake = va te faire cuire un œuf (go cook yourself an egg)

pigs might fly = quand les poules auront des dents (when hens have teeth)

walking on eggshells = marcher sur les oeufs (walking on eggs)

to leave no stone unturned = remuer cie et terre (move the scythe and the earth)

a storm in a tea cup = une tempete dans un verre d’eau (a storm in a glass of water)

to kill two birds with one stone = faire d’une pierre deux coups (use one stone for two hits)

to have your cake and eat it = avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre (have the butter and the money from the butter)

I’m over the moon = je suis aux anges (I am up with the angels)

Don’t leave me on tenterhooks = ne me laisse pas le bec dans l’eau (don’t leave me with my beak in the water)

He has his head in the sand = il fait l’autruche (he’s being an ostrich)

You could have knocked me down with a feather = mes bras m’en sont tombes (my arms fell off)

I am in a right state = je suis dans tous mes etats (I am in all my states)

Interesting isn’t it ?  Many are identical, like “bruler la chandelle par les deux bouts” = to burn the candle at both ends. Some are similar – it appears the British walk only on eggshells whereas the French walk on the actual eggs.  Some are confusing – I’m over the moon in French becomes “ I’m with the angels” which, to us, means dead !!

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.

Click here for the cuckoo


If you enjoyed this item please share.

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-            “A Call from France”          “French Sand”         ”The Man with Green Fingers”        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.


Posted on 04/10/2012 by Catherine
Like it?Share it!

Books now available on Amazon: