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French Proverbs





French proverbs offer insight into French culture, history, and society, and are often used in speech and writing. There is no substitute for knowing them, and if you can use them in yourself, so much the better. Below are all the standard proverbs used in French, along with English translations and explanations. Use the Search Box at left if you cant't navigate your way to what you want.

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


faire d’une pierre deux coups
kill two birds with one stone (lit.: make with one stone two blows)

fais ce qui dois, advienne que pourra
do what you must, come what may (n.b.: this is not fatalistic, but rather realistic and pragmatic)

faute avouée est à demi (à moitie) pardonnée
a sin confessed is a sin half pardoned (lit.: an error revealed is partially forgiven)

faute de grives, on mange des merles
beggars can’t be choosers; you have to cut your coat according to your cloth; half a loaf is better than none (lit.: for lack of thrushes, one eats blackbirds)


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