Muet comme une carpe

Channel your inner fish and don't say a word.  Muet comme une carpe - mute as a carp - is today's curious French expression and it requires silence.The expression is used to...
Read more

C'est un navet!

This phrase is something you wouldn't be surprised to hear at a farmer's market, since un navet (with silent t) is French for turnip.  But what would you make of it if you...
Read more

À fleur de peau

Here is an elegant and visual expression that will impress any audience.  Être à fleur de peau is used figuratively to describe a person with heightened sensitivity.  It can be...
Read more

Tenir la chandelle

Tenir la chandelle may sound like an easy task but it can leave you desperate for an escape plan!  Tenir is to hold and une chandelle is an old word for une bougie, a candle.To...
Read more

Chanter comme une casserole

Francophones seem particularly bothered by the clattering of saucepans and this has inspired a number of interesting idioms - see our previous post on Traîner des...
Read more

Jeter l'eponge

Literally to throw the sponge, jeter l'éponge is the French equivalent of the English expression to throw in the towel.  Both expressions mean to give up and admit defeat, and...
Read more

Jouer l'Arlésienne

This expression is a unique French idiom that translates literally to playing the girl from Arles.  It refers to a person that people speak about all the time, yet that person...
Read more

Découvrir le pot aux roses

This charming expression involves roses, presumably sitting in a planter - pot - which must have been hidden because at some point someone discovers it - découvrir.  Découvrir...
Read more