May 27, 2015

Etymology Expeditions: A Mixed Bag of Fun French Words and Phrases

 I'm currently studying French, so here are some of my favourite weird words and phrases.

Un vide-poche, noun, masculine. From vide=empty and poche= pocket. Meaning a little plate or bowl that you empty the stuff from your pockets into when you get home. 

Une salle des pas perdus, noun, feminine. Waiting room. Literal translation: hall of lost steps. Are the steps lost because you pace around, or if you get lost, do your steps always lead you here?

La barbe à papa means cotton candy. Literally: father’s beard. And the cartoon is named after this, too. Are you familiar with Barbapapa?

Coûter les yeux de la tête. Means to cost and arm and a leg, but literally: costs the eyes from your head. Eww!

Un Coup de foudre means love at first sight, but literally it’s a lightning strike. Definitely better in French.

Arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe. Literally: arrive like a hair in soup. Means entering a situation  at the most awkward moment possible. Yup. Been there.

This is my favorite thing about learning a new language. I love the “I didn’t know there was a word for that” moments, and the best expressions tell you about the people as well.
Do you have a favorite French phrase to add?

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