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French Idioms





To know a language you have to know its idioms, and French is no exception. All forms of the language, from the highly colloquial to the utterly erudite use idioms. Browse below to find the idiom you need, or just explore the many ways you can express yourself in French.

A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V


il en est ainsi
that’s the way it is

il est connu comme le loup blanc
he is known all over (lit.: he is known like the white wolf)

il est fleur bleue
he is naive; he is sentimental

il fait un temps à ne pas mettre le nez dehors
it’s horrible weather outside

il fait un temps de chien
the weather is terrible

il n’en est rien
nothing of the sort

il pleut des cordes
it’s raining cats and dogs (lit.: it’s raining in ropes)

il s’agit de
have to do with; comes to

il tombe des hallebardes
it’s raining cats and dogs (lit.: halbreds are falling; n.b.: note: hallebardes among other things can be used in this idiom)

il vous en cuira
you’ll be sorry; you’ll regret it

il y a anguille sous roche
there’s something in the wind; there’s a catch (lit.: there is an eel under a rock)

il y avait une fois
once upon a time (lit.: there once was a time)

il y va de
it’s a question of; what is at stake is (lit.: it goes for)

invité d'honneur
guest of honor

ir fort
do well; be well


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