From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions



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Literally: playing yo-yo with the coffee maker

Best equivalent: to have a screw loose


In French une cafetière is a coffee maker, but in slang it designates the head or the brain. Yoyoter is a fabricated verb based on the yo-yo game, described as simple. By extension, a person with a simple mind, someone who says strange things can be portrayed as yoyoter de la cafetière.


See you on Monday for the letter Z, the last letter for the A to Z challenge!

Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend!


  1. HA! I like this. This is the kind of thing I will use, starting with “you know, the French have a saying…”

    • Anything to promote the French language and culture:)
      With the same meaning, you can also say “Yoyoter de la touffe.” Touffe being tuft, but hair in this context. Just suggesting since “touffe” is easier to say than “cafetière.”

  2. I love that idea!

  3. I like it. We could translate that directly to English and everyone would get its meaning immediately.

  4. It makes sense when you explain that the word for “coffee maker” in slang means head and/or brain. Weekends In Maine

    • There are tons of words in French that take a whole different meaning, whether used in proper French or slang. A coffee maker for a head or brain doesn’t make sense to a non native speaker without an explanation, I agree 🙂

  5. Would definitely have to have a screw loose to be playing yo yo with a cafetiere. 😄

  6. I think I’ll use that one. In English so everyone around here can understand.

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