To Make a Whole Cheese or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

One said that French President Charles de Gaulle once proclaimed that France was a difficult country to govern and that it was in fact not surprising coming from a place that had more cheese than days in a year. So this is also not surprising that there is a French expression based on the French cheese reputation.

Oh and French people say Cheese when they snap a photo.

 

(EN) FAIRE TOUT UN FROMAGE

TO MAKE A WHOLE CHEESE

TO MAKE A STORM IN A TEACUP

 

 

 

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My research about the origins of this typical French expression led me to too many possible options, none based on reliable sources. So I prefer not adding to the confusion.

Another popular French expression with the exact same meaning is: En Faire Tout Un Plat, which literally means To make a whole dish.

Despite making my mouth water at the thought of cheese, I tend to find the English expression more visual and better suited to the meaning than the French one.

What do you say?

See you tomorrow.

 

 

A to Z Challenge

To Send to Pasture or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

Hope you all spent a great weekend and are ready for a long week of French idioms. From Monday to Saturday, I will provide an expression, covering the alphabet from E to J. As always, thank you for your comments and for adding your own idioms to mine. I’m glad if you learn something you didn’t know, but I’m as glad to learn from you, too.

 

ENVOYER PAîTRE

TO SEND TO PASTURE, TO GRAZE

TO SEND SOMEONE PACKING AND ALSO THE INFAMOUS GO TO HELL

Go to Hell remains somehow controversial in the USA and yet widely used, especially in the movie industry.

 

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Envoyer paître is a French expression from the middle of the 15th century, when the verb paître had a religious connotation. People’s salvation was associated with God’s pastures where the soul was fed.

In later years, the expression evolved, based on the tradition to send cows to graze in far away pastures, and took then a negative meaning.

Envoyer paître simply means to get rid of someone in a sudden way.

There are, as often in the French language, some variants to the expression.

For the French here or anyone who speaks some French: envoyer aux pelotes, envoyer ballader, envoyer bouler. Vous en connaissez d’autres?

 

A to Z Challenge

See you tomorrow!

 

 

To Give One’s Tongue to the Cat or a Month of French Idioms from A to Z

In the series A Month of French Idioms From A to Z, here is letter D!

DONNER SA LANGUE AU CHAT

GIVE ONE’S TONGUE TO THE CAT

TO GIVE UP

 

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This is a French expression from the 19th century, which supposedly comes from an older one. Originally one gave the tongue to the dog and not to the cat, based on the common custom to give leftover food and the less tasty morsels to the family dog.

Why did it switch from the dog to the cat?

In France (and many other countries) the cat was seen as an animal able to keep secrets, which could by extension keep the tongue given to him.

On the other hand, to give your tongue to the cat symbolizes failure. If you give your tongue to the cat you give the animal a lot of power, increasing the notion that the cat has more knowledge and wisdom than you.

I won’t contradict this: I love cats and find them very wise.

This French expression is used commonly when people can’t find the solution to a guessing game and also to a complex problem.

As a kid I often gave my tongue to the cat when playing math games with friends!

 

See you on Monday with letter E.

Meanwhile if you celebrate Easter, enjoy this special day. In France the bells coming all the way from Roma bring chocolate eggs and other goodies to the French children. Ici aux USA c’est un lapin qui remplit les enfants de joie le matin de Pâques.

 

 

 

To Switch Dairy Shop or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

France is well-known for its cheese and dairy products. It is not surprising that there is a French expression using the national bounty.

 

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CHANGER DE CRÉMERIE

TO SWITCH DAIRY SHOP

TO TAKE ONE’S BUSINESS ELSEWHERE

 

The crémerie in late 19th century France was an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant where simple food was served with coffee.

One said that late customers, asked to leave at closing time, would protest saying they would go to another crémerie.

Since late 20th century this French expression is used in a commercial context. Unhappy customers take their business elsewhere.

A crémerie is not longer a small restaurant in contemporary France but the shop where dairy products (we’ve got a ton in France!) are sold.

 

A to Z Challenge

P.S. As always if you know a similar expression either in French or American English, go ahead! I am very fond of idioms as they say so much about a culture and its people.

To Drink the Cup or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

Now for the letter B, a French expression that is used when someone accidently swallows a large amount of water while swimmimg. The expression originates from the late eighteenth century and was first used in a figurative context when someone had lost a lot of money in a business. Now the French might favor the expression Boire le Bouillon (Drink the Broth) in the business context rather than Boire la Tasse.

 

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BOIRE LA TASSE

TO DRINK THE CUP

TO SWALLOW WATER WHEN SWIMMING

 

 

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge

To Have an Artichoke’s Heart or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

 

As announced last week, from April 1st to April 30th and following the alphabetical order, I will post every day but Sundays a French idiomatic expression, its literal English translation, and its proper equivalent or meaning in American English. I’ve had my share of embarrassing (and funny) moments, due to my non-native English status. You’ll see why such moments can happen!

Many bloggers participate to the A to Z challenge with their own themes. If you are one of them and chose to write around language, foreign language, and culture, I’d love to see what you are up to and I hope you’ll stop by to check my posts as well.

 

STARTING WITH THE LETTER A:

 

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AVOIR UN COEUR D’ARTICHAUT

TO HAVE AN ARTICHOKE’S HEART

TO FALL IN LOVE EASILY

 

As always I love to read your comments. In English, en français, or anything in between.

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