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 ...

Copains comme cochons

Le mot du jour : “Copains comme cochons”


Well, here it’s a funny expression 😃

“Copains comme cochons” (“friends like pigs) means to be really good friends with someone. But why like pigs? Are pigs such great friends?

In reality, it seems that it has nothing to do with pigs. In old French, “soçon” and also “chochon” meant friends, mates. With time, people forgot about that and changed it for cochon.

And that is how, to this day, you can be as good a friend as a pig 😉 And who is to say that pigs are not wonderful friends anyway ?

animaux cochon

Libre comme l’air

Le mot du jour : “Libre comme l’air”

As we are stuck in our houses, feeling maybe a bit claustrophobic, here is an expression that is going to bring oxygen in your life 🙂

“Libre comme l’air” means “free as the air” and is very similar to the English “free as a bird”.

I was thinking about it yesterday, watching through my window a group of redkites playing in the wind outside. Such a beautiful sight!

So here’s hoping that we all get to feel “libre comme l’air” as soon as possible!

Red Kites Over The Black Isle, Scottish Dance Instructions

La goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase

Le mot du jour : “La goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase”

“La goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase” can be translated by “the drop of water that makes the vase overflow”

It’s quite easy to understand, and I think the closest expression in English would probably be “It’s the last straw”

So here you are, enduring things patiently until you can’t take it anymore. And then, the smallest thing upsets you. That’s it! Your anger erupts like water from the vase 😀

I like that expression, because I find it easy to picture in my head and because sometimes I do feel like an overflowing vase 😄

La goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase – Clime-lasting

Jour de neige

Le mot du jour : “Jour de neige”
As we have enjoyed a lovely day of snow (“jour de neige”) yesterday, I thought I would make today a little list of words related to the snow 🙂

The first one to know is obviously “la neige” (the snow).

The snow itself is made of snowflakes that we call “des flocons”

“La neige” is feminine, but “les flocons” are masculine… French language 🙃

Last but not least, the snowman is called “un bonhomme de neige” and not “un homme de neige”. So why “bon-homme” (good-man) instead of “homme” (man)?

Well, maybe because “bonhomme” carries a sense of gentleness that goes well with the round snowy character. I guess to translate the idea in English, it would be more a “snow-chap” or “snow-fellow” than a snowman. I have to admit I have a special fondness for the French word for snowman, as I find it softer 😊

bonhomme de neige — Wiktionnaire