Coeur d’artichaut

Coeur d'artichaut

Illustration by MelinArt.

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 expression is, “Cœur d’artichaut.”

Literally translated as, “artichoke heart,” it is used to describe someone who falls in love easily and frequently, possibly with several people at the same time — or at least in rapid succession. It can be used either as avoir un cœur d’artichaut (having an artichoke heart) or être un cœur d’artichaut (being an artichoke heart).

Example: “Elle était très amoureuse de lui, mais elle s’est vite rendu compte que c’était un cœur d’artichaut.” “She was very much in love with him, but she soon realized he was an artichoke heart.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

(If no player appears, here’s a link to the audio file.)

This idiom dates back to the nineteenth century, and is built as a variation on the maxim, “Cœur d’artichaut, une feuille pour tout le monde” (“Artichoke heart, a leaf for everyone”).

It plays on the fact that the center of the artichoke is called its heart, making it natural to link it to matters of love, and suggests that each of its many leaves represents a different romantic interest.

Do you know anyone whom you’d call a cœur d’artichaut?

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