Common French Phrases with English Translations

Literal Translation
English Equivalent
Avoir mal au coeurTo have a pain in the heartTo feel sick to the stomach
Bouche cousue!Mouth sewn up!Mum’s the word!
La bête à bon DieuGod’s foolA ladybug or a ladybird
Dites, “Qurante-quatre!”Say, “Forty-four!”Say, “Ah!”
Poisson d’avrilApril fishApril’s fool
Gober la moucheTo swallow the flySwallow the bait, a gullible person swallows it, “hook, line, and sinker”
Ecriture de chatCat’s writingScribble scratch
Avoir le cafardTo have the cockroachTo be down in the dumps
Mets le dans ta pouche avec ton mouchoir dessusPut it in your pocket with your handkerchief on topPut it in your pipe and smoke it
Jouer à saute — moutonTo play jump-sheepTo play leap-frog
Revenons a nos moutonLet’s get back to our sheepLet’s get back to the subject
Vouloir, c’est pouvoirTo wish is to be ableTo wish is to be able
A bon chat, bon ratTo the good cat, a good ratTo the good cat, a good rat
Le chouchou de profThe teacher’s cabbage The teacher’s pet
dent-de-lionLion’s tootha dandelion
Il m’aime un peau...beaucoup...passionnement...à la folie...pas du tout He loves me a little...a lot...passionately..madly…
not at all
He loves me…he loves me not
Si jeunesse savait, si viellesse pouvaitIf the young only knew, if the old only couldYouth is wasted on the young
Le champ est libreThe field is clearThe coast is clear
A bon chien, il ne vient jamais un bon osA good dog never gets a good boneNice guys finish last
On aurait entendu une mouche volerYou could have heard a fly flyYou could have heard a pin drop
Mettre la puce à l’oreille à quelqu’un To put the flea in someone’s earTo annoy someone
Avoir le main verteTo have a green handTo have a green thumb
Être beurréTo be butteredTo be plastered
Latin de cuisineKitchen LatinPig Latin
C’est du chinoisIt’s ChineseIt’s Greek to me


Words with ugly meanings but beautiful sounds in French

la poubellegarbage can
un ronfleura snorer
une mouffetea skunk
une toilette a toilet

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