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8 Fruity French expressions explained – don’t be fooled!

by | Jan 13, 2023 | Learn French

Hello lovely readers! As we approach the weekend, I’m thrilled to share another tip that will not only enhance your French language skills but also make you sound like a true native speaker. 😁

French expressions using fruits and vegetables

In the vast world of social media, one can’t help but notice the abundance of negative comments and opinions on every conceivable topic.

This observation sparked my idea to acquaint you with some funny French expressions that uses the names of vegetables and fruits.

These idioms, like most, lose their essence in direct translation, but let’s uncover the true meaning behind these delightful French sayings.

Don’t be fooled by the vegetables and fruits references, this is what truly people mean if you hear one of the following French expressions.

1. French expression: ‘S’occuper de ses oignons’ explained

When translated literally, it may surprise you that you are being asked ‘to take care of one’s onions.’. But this is of course not what this French expression means.

S’occuper de ses oignons‘ means that you should mind your own business.

It’s a whimsical way of urging someone to focus on their own affairs rather than meddling in others.

2. French expression: ‘Raconter des salades’ explained

The literal translation ‘to tell salads’ might raise an eyebrow. Figuratively, ‘Raconter des salades‘ means ‘to talk rubbish’ or ‘to talk nonsense.’

This expression comes in handy when someone is weaving improbable or exaggerated stories, and you want to playfully point out the absurdity.

3. French expression: ‘Ramener sa fraise’ explained

Direct translating ‘Ramener sa fraise‘ gets you ‘to bring back one’s strawberry,’ but in context, it refers to ‘sticking one’s nose in’ or ‘showing up.’

Depending on the situation, it can convey the idea of intruding into someone else’s conversation or simply making an unexpected appearance. Picture someone barging in with their opinions – that’s ‘ramener sa fraise’ in action.

4. French expression: ‘Se fendre la poire’ explained

Se fendre la poire‘ literally means ‘to split the pear.’ Yet, the real essence lies in ‘to laugh your head off.’

This delightful expression vividly paints the image of hearty laughter, as if the laughter itself is splitting a pear. It’s a charming way to describe those moments when laughter feels unstoppable.

5. French expression: ‘Se prendre le chou’ explained

Se prendre le chou‘ – Translated literally, it’s ‘to take the cabbage.’ In practice, it means ‘to lose your rag,’ ‘to lose your temper,’ or ‘to be annoyed,’ depending on the context.

This expression captures the essence of someone becoming exasperated or frustrated, perhaps akin to the idea of taking a cabbage too seriously.

Now, let’s add a few more expressions to your repertoire:

6. French expression: ‘Avoir la banane’ explained

Avoir la banane‘ means ‘to have the banana.’. In everyday language, it translates to ‘to be happy’ or ‘to have a big smile.’ Picture someone with a radiant smile, and that’s having the banana. ‘Il/elle a la banane’ !

7. French expression: ‘Tomber dans les pommes’ explained

Tomber dans les pommes‘ – Translated word by word, it’s ‘to fall into the apples.’

However, it signifies ‘to faint’, ‘to pass out.’ or ‘lose conciousness’. The origin of this fruity expression is unclear, but it’s commonly used to describe someone fainting due to fatigue or exhaustion.

The phrase suggests a sudden loss of consciousness, akin to falling into a state of unconsciousness. It’s a colloquial and figurative expression.

8. French expression: ‘Être une peau de vache’ explained

Être une peau de vache‘ – Literally, it translates to ‘to be a cowhide.’ In reality, it means ‘to be mean’ or ‘to be nasty.’ This expression is used to describe someone exhibiting unpleasant behaviour.

Closing thoughts

Did you know any of these French expressions? Whether you’re familiar with them or not, share your thoughts in the comments below. Bon weekend à tous! 🌞

Josh

Josh

Salut, I’m Josh! I love skateboarding, cooking, photography and learning – even though I was a terrible student back in the days. Moved to France with Robin in 2018 and we have together been working in marketing for over a decade.

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