Le mot du jour : “La fin des haricots” Remember last week expression about carrots being cooked? Well, this week, it’s all about beans!
“La fin des haricots” means “the end of the beans”, and, as you can guess, it’s not good news…
It’s a more recent expression (probably beginning of the XXth century), and is more or less the same as “the last straw” in English. The beans being cheap food, when you didn’t have any left, it meant that you really were in a bad position.
The more I study my own language, the more I realise how much food is everywhere! I think we really are a food obsessed country 😀
For next week, I will try and find an expression that is not about food 😉
“Les carottes sont cuites” (the carrots are cooked) is an expression that can be translated by “It’s over”, “It’s lost”.
I tried to find the origin of that expression, because it seemed weird that carrots would be used to express such a despair!
Well, it’s quite blurry, but it seemed that from the XVIIth century, carrots were considered a vegetable for really poor people. In time, “avoir ses carottes cuites” (to have your carrots cooked) meant to be dying.
I love carrots so I find that expression a little bit unfair on them, but it seems that for Mr Trump anyway, “les carottes sont cuites !”
I don’t know what kind of British expression would mean the same, so if you do, please let me know 🙂
Le mot du jour : “Un sentiment de déjà-vu” Well, with the lockdown being back on both side of the Channel, I couldn’t help but feel that we were going through the same motions as before. Hence my “sentiment de déjà-vu”.
“Sentiment” means “feeling” and “déjà-vu” can be translated by “already seen”.
The English expression “déjà-vu” is used to describe this weird feeling we can have sometimes of having already seen a place or an action before, even when we have no memory of it.
In France, we use that expression in a more literal way, to talk about something that is happening again, something that is not new.
For example, you could watch a TV show, find it boring and say : “Ce genre de film, c’est vraiment du déjà-vu” (that kind of movie has already been seen/ is not innovative)
So if you find yourself in a repetitive situation, just shrug and say “Pff, c’est du déjà-vu !”
Le mot du jour : “Être au bout du rouleau” I don’t know if, like me, you have children at home, but mine are completely “au bout du rouleau”.
So what does this mean?
“Être au bout du rouleau” means to be at the end of the roll, so to be exhausted, basically.
This expression has nothing to do with loo roll (even if being at the end of a loo roll can be a problem! 🙂).
It goes back to the Middle Ages, when books were made of sheets glued together side by side and rolled inside a parchment to protect it. So when you were “au bout du rouleau”, then you had nothing left to read.
Over time, the meaning changed into the one today of having no energy, no resources left.
So to all the students out there : Tenez bon, les vacances ne sont pas loin ! (Hold on, the half-term break is not far!)
“Être haut comme trois pommes” (to be as high as three apples) means to be small. Believe me, given how short I am, I’ve heard that one a lot when I was a child 🙂
It’s an expression you use when you talk to or about children, in an affectionate way. For example, if you meet a child after a while, it’s very common to say : “Oh la la, la dernière fois que je t’ai vu, tu étais haut comme trois pommes !” (Wow, the last time I saw you, you were very little!)
I don’t know where the idea of comparing children’s size with three apples stacked on one another came from, but I find it quite sweet 😊
I learnt a few days ago a new (well, new for me!) English expression : “back seat driver”
It’s apparently someone quite annoying, giving lots of advice and orders without being actually helpful.
Well, in French we would call that kind of people “une mouche du coche”, which means “a stagecoach’s fly”.
Here is the story : in the XVIIth century, Jean de La Fontaine, a famous French fabulist, wrote one of his stories called “The stagecoach and the fly” (Le coche et la mouche). In the story, a small buzzing fly turns around the horses, bites them, annoys them and is sure to be the one making the whole thing works, when actually it has done absolutely nothing useful.
The expression stayed in the French culture and is still used today, long after coaches have disappeared from our lives!
So if you know someone around you who is buzzing a little too much in your ears, you can sigh and say : “Ah, quelle mouche du coche !” 🙂
Today is the European Day of Languages. So go and learn a language, it doesn’t matter which one 🙂
You can start simply with an app on your phone and learn a few words everyday. It’s good for your mental health, is a good work-out for your memory muscle, and it will widen your horizon. What’s not to like? 😀Have fun!
Le mot du jour : “en faire tout un fromage” That expression is quite funny and can be translated by : “to make a whole cheese out of something”
You use it when someone is overreacting, making a big fuss. It is the equivalent of the British expression “to make a mountain out of a molehill”
That expression can be explained by the fact that making cheese is quite a long and delicate process, so it’s a big thing. Once again, we have to face the fact that food is really central in French life and language 😀
Le mot du jour : “Heureux comme un poisson dans l’eau” “Heureux comme un poisson dans l’eau” means “happy like fish in water”. It describes someone happy with his/her own situation in life, someone comfortable.
And I think this is exactly the feeling of my daughter at the moment, as she is packing for university with a big smile on her face. I remember feeling the same mix of excitement and anticipation when I left home after my baccalauréat. Good luck to all the young people out there starting something new with their life this year.
Bonne chance et soyez heureux comme des poissons dans l’eau !