Fried Whiting Eyes or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

As I wrote the literal translation for the French idiom du jour, I learned the proper name for the fish called โ€œMerlan” in French.

For some reason I tend to mix and match the French and American names for the countless varieties of fish.








Since the end of the 19th century this expression is used to describe the adoring and a little stupid way people in love can sometimes look at each other.

In the 18th century the comparison was made with a carp and not a whiting.

This kind of look was especially used in old silent movies.

I find the English expression a little more accurate than the French one, although the literal translation made me smile.


P.S. The fish above is not a Merlan or a Whiting but a bass, caught (and released) by my son at our Maine cabin last summer.



A to Z Challenge

See you tomorrow!



  1. “Googly eyes” here ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Haha…’Fried Whiting Eyes’. Funny! And yes, ditto joeyfullystated ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I would echo the googly eyes. We even extend that to just “being all googly” – One more day ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Cow-eyed in this neck of the woods ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. “Googly eyes” here too! Only one more post to go! ร  demain !

  6. cardamone5 says:

    Whoa! Kudos to your son. That’s quite a fish.


  7. “Calf-eyed” too. “Fried whiting eyes” cracks me up. Fish eyes are strange, period. I’m sure I wasn’t the only U.S. schoolkid who learned to call tapioca pudding “fish eyes and glue.”

    • Calf-eyed and cow-eyed are used in France too! Fish eyes, I agree, are very strange, so the comparaison in the end isn’t bad. I still favor Moon Eyes. I didn’t know about this tapioca’s name. You must have been a funny student! Thank you again for your constant support and fun comments.

      • Tapioca pudding seems to have been common and very unpopular in school cafeterias in the late 1950s and 1960s U.S. I’ve run into many people around my age who know “fish eyes and glue.” “Pimples and pus” is also common — yecchh. Tapioca pudding really isn’t bad, but I can’t think of it as just tapioca pudding.

        I like “moon eyes” too. The moon and love go together, as in “mooning over” and “moonstruck.”

      • We all have bad food memories from school cafeteria. For me it was beets! I still don’t like them very much.
        And I agree that moon and love go well together in those two expressions. ๐ŸŒ

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