French Idioms

Ne pas être dans son assiette

Plate

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Ne pas être dans son assiette.”

Literally translated as, “not being in one’s plate,” it is a colloquial expression that means feeling under the weather, being out of sorts, physically and/or morally.

Example: “Je ne sais pas ce que j’ai, je ne suis vraiment pas dans mon assiette.” “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m really not in my plate.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

(Note that I pronounced the example sentence the way I would in real life, which sounds more like, “Chais pas c’que j’ai, chuis vraiment pas dans mon assiette.”)

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Etre tout sucre tout miel

Honey

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Être tout sucre tout miel.”

Literally translated as, “being all sugar all honey,” it means acting in an overtly affable, considerate, and polite way. It is chiefly used ironically, to point out that the person hides negative feelings behind that cloying front.

Example: “Quand ils ont des invités, elle est tout sucre tout miel, mais dès qu’ils sont seuls, elle est odieuse avec lui.” “When they have company, she’s all sugar all honey, but as soon as they’re alone, she’s nasty with him.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Avoir la pêche

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Avoir la pêche.”

Literally translated as, “having the peach,” it means being in high spirits, having a lot of energy, feeling great physically and/or mentally — in other words, feeling peachy! It is an informal expression that is only used in casual conversation, but is not vulgar.

Example: “Eh ben dis-donc, t’as la pêche, ce matin !” “Well, you certainly are in high spirits this morning!”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Manger dans la main de quelqu’un

Squirrel
Photography by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra.

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of idioms featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Manger dans la main de quelqu’un.”

Literally translated as, “eating out of someone’s hand,” it means submitting to someone, yielding to someone’s opinion or authority, acting in a docile or obsequious way with someone, in the hopes of gaining something in return. Although it is not as bad as grovelling, it is still used with a negative connotation, implying that the subject is losing some dignity in doing so.

Example: “Il ne supporte pas ses beaux-parents, mais comme ils ont des relations, il leur mange dans la main.” “He can’t stand his in-laws, but since they’re well connected, he eats out of their hand.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Marcher sur des oeufs

Quail eggs

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Browse the list of expressions featured so far.

This week’s idiom is, “Marcher sur des œufs.”

Literally translated as, “walking on eggs,” it is equivalent to the English expression that appears more frequently as walking on eggshells*, i.e. acting with the greatest of caution in a tricky, sensitive situation, especially to avoid hurting or provoking someone.

Example: “La dernière fois qu’on en a parlé, il s’est mis en colère, alors maintenant je marche sur des œufs.” “Last time we talked about it, he got angry, so now I’m walking on eggs.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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