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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


n’écouter que d’une oreille
be only half-listening

n’être jamais sorti de son trou
never have been out of one’s own yard; live in a cave

n'avoir plus un radis
have nothing; be broke (lit.: have not even one bean)

ne douter de rien
have a lot of nerve

ne faire ni une ni deux
not hesitate a moment

ne faire qu’une bouchée de 
make short work of; set about [doing something] quickly

ne faites pas l’enfant
act your age

ne l’entendre pas de cette oreille
not to go along with

ne pas arriver à la cheville de qqn
be head and shoulders above everyone else

ne pas desserrer les dents
not utter a word

ne pas être dans son assiette
be out of sorts; be out of it

ne pas faire de cadeau
not to let off lightly

ne pas faire de doute
be beyond question

ne pas valoir les quatre fers d'un chien
be worthless; be worth nothing (lit.: not be worth the four paws of a dog). 1. Pierre, que ne valait pas, comme on dit, les quatre fers d'un chein, devint tout à coup un honnête homme.

n'être jamais sorti de son trou
live in a cave; live under a rock

nez à nez
nose to nose, face to face

ni vu ni connu
no one will be the wiser; no one will know. 1. Mais je me dis ni vu ni connu.


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