Plein comme un oeuf
Literally translated as, “full as an egg,” it is a colloquial simile applied to a thing or a place that’s completely full. Close English equivalents would be “filled to the brim” or “packed to the gills.”
What is important for an English speaker to know is that the expression can’t be applied to a person. “Full” here is not to be understood as having a full stomach, because the French adjective plein is not used in that sense. You would say instead : je suis rassasié - I've had enough (food) - or je n'en peux plus - I can't have any more (food.)
This expression has been around since the 17th century at least. The reasoning behind it is easy to understand: the white and yolk of an egg fill it entirely, and it would be impossible to squeeze anything more inside the shell.
Nitpickers in the crowd will argue that an air pocket develops inside the egg as it ages until it’s not so full anymore - this is caused by the gradual evaporation of its water content through the porous shell. A more accurate version of the expression might then be plein comme un oeuf fraîchement pondu (full as a freshly laid egg), but we're not sure how well that would take.
Je peux mettre mes chaussures dans ta valise ? La mienne est pleine comme un œuf.
Can I put my shoes in your suitcase? Mine is packed to the gills.
Ce bus est plein comme un oeuf. Attendons le prochain.
This bus is packed. Let's wait for the next one.
Muet comme une carpe
Channel your inner fish and don't say a word. Muet comme une carpe - mute as a carp - is...
C'est un navet!
This phrase is something you wouldn't be surprised to hear at a farmer's market, since un...
À fleur de peau
Here is an elegant and visual expression that will impress any audience. Être à fleur de peau...
Tenir la chandelle
Tenir la chandelle may sound like an easy task but it can leave you desperate for an escape...
Chanter comme une casserole
Francophones seem particularly bothered by the clattering of saucepans and this has inspired a...
This expression is a unique French idiom that translates literally to playing the girl from...