Funny animal idioms that will make you sound more French

May 29, 2019


One great way to make yourself, or your language students, sound like a French native is to learn ‘expressions idiomatiques’ (known in English as idioms or sayings). These are everyday sayings used to express emotions and thoughts. Learning idioms and using them in conversation will make you sound more of a natural French speaker!

We’ve found some of the funniest (ok, cutest) French idioms and sayings about animals to use in everyday conversation:

cow

French saying

Ah, la vache!

Literal translation

Oh my cow

English saying

Oh my gosh!

cat

French saying

Appeler un chat un chat

Literal translation

Call a cat a cat

English saying

Call a spade a spade

cockroach

French saying

Avoir le cafard

Literal translation

To have the cockroach

English saying

To feel down

bird

French saying

Avoir un appétit d’oiseau

Literal translation

To have an appetite of a bird

English saying

To eat like a bird

wolf

French saying

Avoir une faim de loup

Literal translation

To be hungry as a wolf

English saying

To be very hungry

duck

French saying

Ça ne casse pas trois pattes à un canard

Literal translation

It doesn’t break three legs of a duck

English saying

Nothing to write home about

hare

French saying

Détaler comme un lièvre

Literal translation

To scamper off like a hare

English saying

To leave very quickly

cat

French saying

Donner sa langue au chat

Literal translation

Give your tongue to a cat

English saying

To give up

rooster

French saying

Être fier comme un coq

Literal translation

To be proud like a rooster

English saying

To be proud

dog

French saying

Être malade comme un chien

Literal translation

To be sick as a dog

English saying

To be sick as a dog

duck

French saying

Faire un froid de canard

Literal translation

Do a cold duck

English saying

It’s freezing

rabbit

French saying

Poser un lapin

Literal translation

To put a rabbit

English saying

Stand somebody up

sheep

French saying

Revenons à nos moutons

Literal translation

Let’s come back to our sheep

English saying

Let’s get back to business

chicken

French saying

Quand les poules auront des dents

Literal translation

When chickens have teeth

English saying

And pigs might fly

ropes

French saying

Pleuvoir des cordes

Literal translation

To rain ropes

English saying

To rain cats and dogs

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