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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


tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’à la fin elle se casse
enough is enough (lit.: so often does the pitcher go to the water that it finally breaks)

tel est pris qui croyait prendre
hoist by your own petard (lit.: he is caught who thought he could catch)

tel père, tel fils
like father, like son (lit.: such the father, such the son)

tel qui rit vendredi dimanche pleurera
laugh on Friday, cry on Sunday (lit.: he who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday)

tous les chemins mènent à Rome
all roads lead to Rome (i.e.: there are many ways to arrive at a particular goal)

tous les gôuts sont dans la nature
it takes all kinds [to make a world] (lit.: all different tastes are found in nature)

tout ce qui brille n’est pas or
all that glitters is not gold

tout est bien qui finit bien
all’s well that ends well

tout soldat a dans son sac son baton de maréchal
the sky is the limit (lit.: every soldier has in his pack a field marshal’s baton; n.b.: attributed to Napoleon)

tout vient à point à qui sait attendre
all things come to those who wait (lit.: everything comes at the right time to he who knows how to wait)

toute médaille a son revers
every medallion has its other side

toute peine mérite salaire
a laborer is worthy of his hire (lit.: every trouble taken deserves a salary)

toute vérité n’est pas bonne à dire
some things are better left unsaid (lit.: all truth is not good to say)

trompe-moi une fois, et tu seras à blâmer; trompe-moi deux fois, et je serai à blâmer
fool me once and you are to blame; fool me twice and I am to blame

trop de précaution nuit
too much caution harms (lit.: too much precaution injures)


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