French Idioms

Haut comme trois pommes

Haut comme trois pommes

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, “Haut comme trois pommes.”

Literally translated as, “high as three apples,” it is used to point out that someone — often a child — is small or very short. I’ve seen it translated to “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although I’ve never heard that cute English expression myself.

Example: “Il était haut comme trois pommes et devait courir pour rattraper ses soeurs.” (He was high as three apples and had to run to catch up with his sisters.)

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

Continue reading »

Cheveux poivre et sel

Cheveux poivre et sel

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, “Cheveux poivre et sel.”

Literally translated as, “pepper and salt hair,” it is used to describe graying hair. It is also — though less often — used to describe someone’s beard (barbe) or sideburns (favoris).

Example: “C’était un monsieur d’un certain âge, aux cheveux poivre et sel.” “It was a man of a certain age, with pepper and salt hair.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

Continue reading »

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:

Continue reading »

Papa gâteau

Papa gâteau

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, “Papa gâteau.”

Literally translated as, “cake daddy,” it is used to qualify a doting father, one who’s affectionate and good-natured, and possibly one who allows his children to wrap him around their little finger every once in a while.

Example: “Il n’a jamais été très branché bébés, mais depuis qu’il en a un, c’est un vrai papa gâteau.” “He’s never been big on babies, but now that he has one, he’s a real cake daddy.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

Continue reading »

Se vendre comme des petits pains

Pains au lait
Photography by J. Annie Wang.

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, “Se vendre comme des petits pains.”

Literally translated as, “selling like small breads,” it means selling like hotcakes, i.e. selling quickly, effortlessly, and in large numbers. It is very commonly used.

Example: “Les exemplaires signés par l’artiste se sont vendus comme des petits pains.” “The copies signed by the artist sold like hotcakes.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

Continue reading »

Planning a trip to Paris?
Eat Your Books Recipe Index

Instagrams

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.