French Idioms for Real

The French language has a lot of idioms. Not only for daily expressions and phrases but also for what’s interesting for us here: Slang and swearing in French!

Swearing words are always the first thing you learn in a new language. Although you can’t use them in every situation, I strongly suggest beginners to start using them every day. Yes! Using “Putain”, “Merde”, “Fais chier” won’t make you a bad guy, but a better French speaker! About idioms, it’s the same. You should try to use all you can as soon as possible. Start to make your mouth exercise. It’s true for all languages, learning French is not only about language skills but also attitude! I want you to feel that you are more French every day. Idioms are so popular and it’s easy to connect one with our daily life! This video shows French idioms illustrated in real life! French words are magic.


I found these approximate translation in English, but let me know if you find some more relevant 😉

  • Poser un lapin: put down a rabbit > Stand someone up
  • Tomber sur quelqu’un: fall on someone > to bump into someone
  • Mettre un râteau: put a rake > get a knock back
  • Faire une nuit blanche: have white night > to stay up all night
  • Donner un coup d’fil: beat with a line > give a call
  • Etre dans la merde: to be in the shit > be up to your neck in shit
  • Humour noir: black humor
  • Pendaison de crémaillère: sounds like “pendaison de crémière” (hang up the dairywoman) >housewarming
  • La tête dans l’cul:  having the head in the ass > to be half asleep
  • Se rouler une pelle : roll a shovel > French kiss
  • Casser les oreilles : break the ears > deafen
  • Tailler une pipe : to cut a pipe > to blow someone
  • L’avoir sur l’bout d’la langue : have in on the tip of the tongue
  • Avoir des fourmis dans les jambes : have ants in the legs > pins and needles in the legs
  • Jurer sur la vie de sa mère : swear on one’s mother’s life
  • Jeter un oeil : throw an eye> take a look

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