Skip to main content

Raconter des salades, se faire rouler dans la farine, ne chercher pas midi à quatorze heures... you may have already heard of them. These French expressions are used to improve the way we communicate on a daily basis, orally or in writing, by integrating informal speech. At first, it can be difficult to understand. However, they can bring style to the conversation. Here are some colloquial expressions that are useful in the French language.

Making ends meet

This colloquial expression is used to refer to part-time work in small sideline activities to earn a little extra money, in addition to one’s usual monthly income.

Avoir un coup de foudre

This French locution is very common to define a person who falls in love with someone suddenly, in a sudden and immediate way, without being able to fight against his feelings. Its origin dates back to the 17th century when it was compared to a lightning strike. Note that this formula corresponds only to people.

Ça marche !

Apparue au XXe siècle en faisant référence au bon fonctionnement des navires et des machines à vapeur, cette locution familière est très utilisée aujourd’hui pour exprimer son accord. Elle signifie également : « ça fonctionne ».

To throw oneself into the lion’s den

Used since the 15th century, this expression means “to expose oneself unwisely to a known danger or trap”.

Do not look for noon at two o’clock

We must realize just the essential! This formula appeared in the 16th century and means: “Why try to make a simple thing more complex? It is referred to the hour, where noon is an extremely important point.


This expression means: to enter into sharp competition with someone and try to do better than him. It is used in reference to physical ability, especially in certain sports.

En avoir plein le cul

Cette locution se traduit également par d’autres expressions plus familières comme en avoir ras le bol, en avoir plein les fesses ou encore en avoir ras la casquette. Elle s’utilise lorsque quelqu’un en a assez de quelque chose et n’arrive plus à le supporter.

To give someone a dressing down

This colloquial expression is very useful and common for arguing, correcting, lecturing or sharply reprimanding someone from a position of authority.

Skipping class

This is a common expression for students, meaning to play hooky or not go to class voluntarily. Its origin is very recent, when schoolchildren used inkwells. The phrase refers to the ink drying up when the student doesn’t come to class since they don’t use it.


Leave a Reply