In French, as in English, there are many idiomatic expressions that use animals. These expressions can be funny, cute, or even a little bit mean, but they all have a specific meaning that is hard to translate literally.
So if you’re ever in France and hear someone talking about une vache (a cow), you’ll know that they’re not actually referring to a farm animal! In this blog post, we’ll take a look at ten of the most common French idiomatic expressions with animals.
Bonne lecture! (Good reading!)
1) Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop
Impossible to hide its true nature because it always comes to the surface.
2) Être têtu comme une mule
Who shows obstinacy, tenacity, who absolutely does not want to change his mind, whatever the pressures.
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3) Chanter comme un rossignol
Have a clear and pleasant voice. Knowing how to sing.
4) Être excité comme une puce
Being very excited, being in a great state of excitement.
5) Avoir un mal de chien
To be in great pain, to feel great pain.
6) Être le bouc émissaire
This formula is often used to designate a person to whom the faults of others are attributed. A person to whom one unjustly attributes the responsibility for all the wrongs, all the faults.
7) Poser un lapin
Not showing up for an appointment.
Elle m’a posé un lapin = she didn’t come on a date with me.
8) Y a pas un chat !
There is nobody somewhere or almost nobody.
9) Un remède de cheval
Particularly strong remedy, but whose purpose is to be very effective.
10) Passer du coq à l’âne
Completely change the topic of conversation. Move abruptly from one topic to another, without transition or connection.
The expressions we have just seen are regularly used by the French. So don’t hesitate to use them in your discussions with native speakers.
So the next time you’re in France and hear someone talking about a vache, don’t worry – they’re not actually discussing livestock! Instead, they’re using a colorful French idiom to express themselves. And now that you know what these expressions mean, you can impress all your Francophone friends with your knowledge of animal idioms. Just be careful not to use them at the wrong time or in the wrong company; after all, some of these expressions can be a little bit rude!
Have you ever used an animal idiom in another language? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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