Author Archives: Tournesol

En retard – (to be) late

Être à la bourre : On est à la bourre quand on est très en retard et donc très pressé. “Bon, dis donc, je raccroche parce que je n’ai pas le temps, ce matin je suis plutôt à la bourre.” … Continue reading

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Pourquoi ? Why?

Why is a matinée in the afternoon when ‘le matin’ means ‘morning’? Why is the French for a fortnight ‘une quinzaine’ which is fifteen days? e.g. <<quinzaine des soldes>> is a ‘two-week sale’. Why is the French for a week … Continue reading

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‘Shelf Life’ by Simon Parke

La pire blague du monde : The worst joke in the world. Stav, the deputy manager (concluding episode): “I presume you’ve heard,” he says. ” Heard what?” “A man asks another man whether he minds grass stains on his knees…” … Continue reading

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Tenir la dragée haute

Tenir la dragée haute : Literally: To hold the sugared almond/sweetmeat up high. C’est faire sentir son pouvoir à quelqu’un, lui tenir tête, ou bien faire languir quelqu’un et finalement lui donner bien moins que ce qu’il espérait : This … Continue reading

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‘Bien fait’ and ‘pas mal (de)’

Be careful with ‘bien fait’. You may think you are saying ‘well done’ but the expression ‘c’est bien fait pour lui’ translates as ‘serve him right’. Don’t say it if you see someone nearly slip and then right themselves on … Continue reading

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La guerre – war

Asked why I had not said ‘Bonjour’ to a colleague who was bugging me I replied “Parce que c’est la guerre – Because it’s war”. War, otherwise known as “l’entente glaciale” and “meeting one’s Waterloo”.

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Le flambeau de l’amour…

Two more French expressions: Le flambeau de l’amour s’allume à la cuisine : Literally: The flame of love is kindled in the kitchen: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Le ventre ennoblit : Literally: The belly … Continue reading

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‘Stav, le favori du peuple’ par Simon Parke

Stav, the people’s favourite (continued): Caspar, meanwhile, is bored of putting out the milk. He has left his section to come looking for talent at the bus stop, outside the main window. Pretty office girls do sometimes wait there, all … Continue reading

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Né Coiffé

‘Être né coiffé’ : ‘To be born with (a ) perfect hair(style)‘: This phrase means ‘to be lucky, to be protected from evil spirits/influences’: Avoir de la chance, être protégé contre les mauvais sorts. “Ce n’est pas que frère René … Continue reading

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Chercher la bagarre

Chercher : to search (for), to look for: Chercher la bagarre : Literally: To search for a fight: To be looking/spoiling for a fight. Chercher la petite bête : Literally: To look for the little beast: To split hairs. Chercher … Continue reading

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