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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


ramasser une veste
lose one’s shirt; lose badly (in an election)

raser les murs
keep a low profile (lit.: shave the walls)

recommencer à zéro
start from scratch

regarder en chiens de faïence
glare at each other; look at each other

rendre compte
account for; realize; be aware. 1. Finalement je m’endors sans m’en rendre compte.

rendre service
be of service; render service; do a favor for

rendre visite à
visit someone

rentrer dans ses pénates 
go home to

rester en vie
remain alive; stay alive

rester sec
be stumped

rester sur sa faim
remain unsatisfied

revenir sur ses pas
retrace one's steps

rien que pour moi
for myself alone; just for myself

rire à idiot
laugh insanely

rire au nez de qqn
to laugh at someone

rire en jaune
laugh on the other side of one's face; not find something funny (lit.: laugh in yellow)

ronger son frein
champ at the bit; barely contain one’s impatience

rouler sur l’or
be rolling in money; be rich

rusé comme un renard
sly as a fox; cunning as a fox

rusé comme un vieux renard
sly as a fox; cunning as a fox


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