Being gonflé, or pumped up, is like strutting into a bakery and claiming you invented the baguette. It's so bold, even the Eiffel Tower is blushing, thinking, "Now that's some serious inflation!" It's used to describe someone who exhibits a high level of confidence or self-assuredness, sometimes to the point of pushing the boundaries or taking advantage of a situation. In English, similar expressions might be "to have a lot of nerve" or "to be quite the character."
The origin of this expression is linked to the idea of being filled with air. Imagine a balloon: when you blow air into it, it expands, becomes larger, and might even appear more prominent than it actually is. Similarly, someone who is gonflé has an inflated sense of their abilities or importance. The expression captures the idea that this person has somehow managed to pump themselves up beyond what is considered reasonable or socially acceptable.
The verb gonfler - to inflate - appeared in the 16th century, before tires were even invented. It meant "distending by filling with air or gas" and was used primarily to describe these animal bladders which people inflated and made dry hung on the ceiling to use as containers. In time, the word gonflé appeared as a figure of speech in several expressions to express that something was completely filled, such as: le coeur gonflé de chagrin (heart swollen with sorrow,) gonflé d'audace (swollen with audacity.)
Elle est gonflée de demander une augmentation après seulement un mois de travail!
She really has nerve asking for a raise after only a month on the job!
Il est gonflé de contredire le patron lors de la réunion.
He had the audacity to contradict the boss during the meeting.
Tourner autour du pot
You're chatting with someone, and instead of diving into the juicy details, they take you on a...
Être un cordon bleu
Cordon bleu is one of those phrases that like to play double duty. It has a similar core...
C'est une autre paire de manches!
This expression literally translates to "This is another pair of sleeves!" Now, you might be...
Essuyer les plâtres
Imagine your friend invited you for dinner and wants you to try her new, experimental dish. She...
Aller plus vite que la musique
Imagine you are at a wild dance party. The beats are pumping, the music is grooving, and...