Mettre de l’eau dans son vin

Le mot du jour : “Mettre de l’eau dans son vin”
“Mettre de l’eau dans son vin” is to pour water in your wine, to water it down. That expression goes back at least as far as the 16th century.

At the beginning, it just meant to mix up some water in the wine to make it less strong.

But with time, the meaning changed, and now you use it when you talk about being more moderate.

Ex : “Il est trop têtu, il devrait mettre de l’eau dans son vin” (he is too stubborn, he should tone it down)

As for actually putting water in your wine, it’s not very well considered (at least in my family, where it would be seen as a sacrilege), except if the wine tastes really bad 😉

Mettre de l'eau dans son vin, expression avec boissons du ...

Mettre du beurre dans les épinards

Le mot du jour : “Mettre du beurre dans les épinards”
Another food related expression today 😉

“Mettre du beurre dans les épinards” means “to put butter in the spinach”

In every day French, it means earning a little bit more money to improve your quality of life. Spinach alone are not great, but a little bit of butter make them tastier! (Although my favourite are spinach with crème fraîche)

So if, for example, you take a little job on the side, you can say : “Ce n’est pas grand-chose, mais ça met du beurre dans les épinards” (It’s not a lot, but it puts butter in the spinach / it helps make ends meet)

So bon appétit ! 😄

"Mettre du beurre dans les épinards" : améliorer sa ...

Être de mèche

Le mot du jour : “Être de mèche (avec quelqu’un)
“Être de mèche avec quelqu’un” means “to be in collusion with someone”.

I was always wondering about that expression, because “une mèche” is a strand of hair or the wick of a candle, so I couldn’t see what it had to do with anything.

As it turns out, that “mèche” comes from the italian “mezzo”, which means “background” (milieu in French). So “être de mèche” is to be from the same “milieu”, the same background, originally. Then, with time, the meaning turned into being complicit.

So, if for example, you are organising a surprise party with someone, you can say that the both of you are “de mèche” 🙂

La joie d'être complices ... - Yanelle Ubeda

Nid de poule

Le mot du jour : “Nid de poule”
Un nid de poule is a hen’s nest. But in French it also means a pothole, probably because of its shape 🙂

So if a French person tells you “Attention sur cette route, il y a plein de nids de poule” (Be careful on this road, there is a lot of hen’s nests), don’t expect to drive in the middle of a flock of chicken 😉

Nids-de-poule | ALBI le Géant

Mettre la charrue avant les bœufs

Le mot du jour : “Mettre la charrue avant les bœufs”
Here is an expression that comes straight from rural France, and can be translated by “to put the plow in front of the oxen”.

There is an almost similar expression in English : “to put the cart before the horse”, which is to try and solve a problem from the wrong side.

So if you think someone you know is not taking the right steps, just roll your eyes at them and say : “Oh la la, tu mets la charrue avant les bœufs !” 😉

Un effet boeuf qui vient des Cantons | Le Devoir

Avoir plus d’un tour dans son sac

Le mot du jour : “Avoir plus d’un tour dans son sac”


And this is the last one about “le sac à procès” (trial bag). It can be translated by “to have more than one trick in one’s bag”, but I think the closest English expression is probably “to have more than one trick up your sleeve”.

It turns out that in 18th’s century trials, just as in today’s procedural TV shows, people loved a little bit of surprise and last minute plot twist. So, if you were able to pull an unexpected evidence from your bag, you could win the heart of the audience.I learnt only recently the origin of that expression, and for a long time I thought it had to do with magicians, when all along it had been about lawyers!

Today it is used to say that you are not at the end of your possibilities, that there is still things you can do to win over a situation.

That’s it for the “sac à procès” 🙂

La perception de l’impôt et la place de l’écrit dans les ...

Vider son sac

Le mot du jour : “Vider son sac”
This is another expression that came out of the “sac à procès” (trial bag) I talked about last week.

This one means “to empty one’s bag”. At the time, it was about emptying all the evidences gathered for the trial.

Today, it is used for someone who decides to get something off his/her chest.

So if you have bottled up (or down? I never know) feelings, find the right person to talk to and “videz votre sac !” 🙂

Vider son sac | Les Dédexpressions

L’affaire est dans le sac

Le mot du jour : “L’affaire est dans le sac”
That expression has an interesting history that goes back to before the French Revolution. The translation goes like this : “The case is in the bag”. Today, it means that something is a done deal. But where does it come from?

Before the French Revolution changed the judiciary system, when a trial was being prepared, all the pieces of evidence of the case were put in a bag. It was called “le sac à procès” (the trial bag)

At the time, saying “L’ affaire est dans le sac” only meant everything was ready for the trial, but along the time, the meaning changed to the one today, “It’s a done deal”

Two other expressions came out of that bag, but that’s going to be stories for the next weeks 😉

sac à procès — Wiktionnaire

Cracher dans la soupe

Le mot du jour : “Cracher dans la soupe”
Another familiar expression about soup is “cracher dans la soupe” (to spit in the soup)

So what kind of person spits in the soup? Well, it is someone who is ungrateful, a person who criticises someone or something they depend on. That expression comes from a time when soup was often the main meal of the day.

It is very similar in meaning to the English expression “to bite the hand that feeds you”, but I find the English one more elegant!🙂

soupe de legumes

Être soupe au lait

Le mot du jour : “être soupe au lait”
You know how sometimes, you heat some milk in a pan, and before you know it, it has boiled over and there is sticky milk all over the stove?

Well, “être soupe au lait” (to be a milk soup) describes people who can get angry very quickly, who have a short temper.

I guess I can be a little bit “soupe au lait” myself, sometimes. The good thing is that usually the anger goes back down as quickly as it erupted, just like the milk in the pan 🙂

“À la semaine prochaine” (See you next week) for another expression about soup!

Comment éviter que le lait déborde à la cuisson ? - Trucs ...