5 French phrases you won’t learn in the classroom

Let’s be honest, when we learn a language, we learn it so we can communicate with the locals and meet new people while exchanging jokes and stories.

My sole objective when I started learning French was to be able to have a conversation with a native French speaker.

Language lessons helped a lot with this but whenever I watched films or was lucky enough to be in the company of French speakers, there seemed to be something missing.

The punchline to a joke, a comment about someone or something was often lost on me. What was missing? More vocabulary? More grammar? Please, no!

The answer? Slang. Idioms. Whatever you want to call it, this is the language locals use. Here are 5 French phrases to get you started.

5 French idioms and expressions to have you talking like a local

  1. Il pleut comme vache qui pisse – Apparently, in France, it doesn’t rain like cats and dogs but instead like a cow urinating. Who knew? This translates as ‘It’s raining like a cow urinating’.
  2. Une nuit blanche – This translates as ‘a white night’. Only used for the real party animals, it refers to a night without any sleep.
  3. Pantouflard – This word refers to someone who wouldn’t experience ‘une nuit blanche’. More to the point, someone who prefers to stay at home wearing slippers as the word suggests.
  4. C’est un peu tiré par les cheveux – This expression translates as ‘It’s a bit pulled by the hair’ and is used to say a situation is a bit complicated.
  5. Etre rond comme un balon – After a lot of vin rouge you might end up ‘rond comme un balon’. In other words, drunk!

Are there any you can add to this list? Which one are you most likely to use?

Bonne chance, mes amis!