Photo, below: Do you know what "Fur coat, no knickers" means? Keep reading...
In our French conversation group this week, our friend Monty showed up with a book of colorful French idioms, so we played a guessing game: Nicole threw out the idiom, we guessed (or tried to) what it meant. We also tried to come up with parellel English idioms, but we didn’t do too well on that score.
Want to play? Here are a few idioms, with their literal translations. Their real meaning is down below—no peeking ’til you’ve guessed.
1. Les chiens ne font pas des chats (dogs don’t have cats)
2. Donner de la confiture au cochon ( to give jam to the pigs)
3. Mettre du beurre dans les épinards (to put butter in the spinach)
4. Se croire sorti de la cuisse de Jupiter (to believe one has come out of the thighs of Jupiter)
5. Casser les pieds à quelqu’un (to break someone’s feet)
6. Partir ventre à terre (to leave with your belly to the ground)
7. Tomber sur un os (to fall on a bone)
8. Vous ne pouvez pas être au four et au moulin (you can’t be at the oven and the mill)
1. The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
2. To give someone something that they don’t have the ability to appreciate
3. To find a way to make a bit of extra money
4. To have a very high opinion of yourself
5. To bore someone to death
6. To depart in a hurry
7. To encounter a difficulty, hit a snag
8. You can’t do two things at once
In class we had a visiting American, Belinda, plus our resident Brits. Both contributed a couple of great expressions I didn’t know. Belinda, who is from the mid-west, threw out “Big hat, no cattle” (big ego, but all talk), and the Brits had a good one too: “Fur coat, no knickers”. (If you need a translation: knickers,in the Queen’s English, refers to underwear). This expression describes a woman who looks classy, but is in fact a loose woman (and as someone in our group ruefully commented: for some of us, it's "big knickers, no fur coat").
Now, do you have some favorites to share, in any language?
Photo, right: speaking of expressions, I spotted this English one on a French window awning. There must be a story there...
In the COMMENTS: Carol loves snails, and Natalia and Rachel are skipping it all and going straight for les champignons! Marge, using prawns is a great idea, which makes it similar to the the delicious Shrimp Scampi. Susan (of A Small Village in France), is there really a snail farm in your neighborhood? That's worthy of a post! By the way, you'll love her funny post this week on jet lag.
Be sure to check out Jeff Steiner's Americans in France blog. He's done a post on the best views in France. One of them is from Brancion--and if you know where to look, you can see Balleure in the distance!
Haven't ordered your copy yet? Here's more language fun, click on the cover. (also at Amazon.fr and UK)