French Language French Vocabulary: «Idiomatic Expressions»

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Useful French Idioms

Expressions idiomatiques utiles en français

In this lesson, you will learn a few interesting French idiomatic expressions. Those expressions are very useful in everyday conversations. Have fun! :)

Manger son pain noir[edit | edit source]

"Manger son pain noir" literally means "to eat one's black bread, bad bread". It means that one is going through a rough patch.

Manger son pain blanc[edit | edit source]

The opposite of "manger son pain noir" is "manger son pain blanc" (to eat one's white bread). It means to have a good time.

Ne pas être né/tombé de la dernière pluie / Ne pas être né d'hier[edit | edit source]

  • Literally: "To be not born with the last rain"; "To be not born yesterday"
  • Meaning: Having experience, being smart, knowing the things of life
  • Example: Pourquoi me dis-tu cela ? je ne suis pas né d'hier / je ne suis pas tombé de la dernière pluie !
  • Why are you telling me that? I was not born yesterday! I didn't come in the last shower!

Cela m'a ouvert les yeux[edit | edit source]

  • Literally: "It opened my eyes"
  • Meaning: It was an eye-opener
  • Example: Ce que m'a dit ma femme m'a vraiment ouvert les yeux.
  • What my wife said was a real eye-opener.

Jeter de l'huile sur le feu / Remuer le couteau dans la plaie[edit | edit source]

  • Literally: "To throw oil on the fire", "to shake the knife in one's wound"
  • Meaning: To add fuel to the fire, to make things worse.
  • Example: Ce qu'il a répondu n'a fait que jeter de l'huile sur le feu / n'a fait que remuer le couteau dans la plaie.
  • What he answered only added fuel to the fire.

Ce n'est pas à un vieux singe qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces[edit | edit source]

  • Literally: "You don't teach an old monkey how to make funny faces"
  • Meaning: You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Younger ones shouldn't try to tell more experienced people (and usually older people) how to do things.
  • Example: J'ai été jeune avant toi. Ce n'est pas à un vieux singe qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces.
  • I was young before your time. Don't teach your granny to suck eggs.


Vincent,, Rua, Rachid04, Dariia and Setsukochan

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