Lost in translation

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I’m French. I know, shocking news. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my heritage, especially since I’m supposed to pass on to Baby O how to talk French, walk French, and eat strange cheeses covered in mold.  We are hoping to be able to send him to the French language immersion school later on but I’m assuming I’ll have to play some part in his francophone education.  Having been in the US 20 years, I’m sad to say French doesn’t come as easy to me anymore! Oh la la!
On my drive home from work, I got to thinking about how funny French stuff is when it’s literally translated into English.  So over the last few weeks I’ve been collecting the funniest ones…
Avoir le cul entre deux chaises
          Literal: To have one’s ass in between two chairs
          Really Means: To be on the fence
Tu me fais chier
          Literal: You’re making me shit
          Really Means: You’re bugging me
Casser les pieds
         Literal: You’re breaking my feet
         Really Means:  You’re annoying me
Avoir le gueule de bois
         Literal: To have a mouth of wood
         Really means:  To be hungover
Conduire comme un pied
         Literal: To drive like a foot
         Really Means: You drive really bad
Oh la vache!
          Literal: Oh the cow!
          Really means: Oh my! (used to express surprise)
Péter les plombs
          Literal: Blow up some lead
          Really means: To go crazy
Marcher à côté de ses pompes
          Literal: Walking beside one’s pumps
          Really means: To be out of it today
Se creuser la tête
         Literal: To dig one’s head
         Really means: To think about it hard
I think I’ll start O on these phrases….

2 thoughts on “Lost in translation

  1. Frederic

    actually, peter le plombs refers to blowing a fuse. In a distant past, fuses in France used to be a piece or lead wire.

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