French Idioms

Mettre les bouchées doubles

Bites
Photography by Astrid Berglund.

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, “Mettre les bouchées doubles.”

Literally (and awkwardly) translated as, “putting the double bites,” it means doubling your efforts.

Example: “Il va falloir mettre les bouchées doubles si on veut boucler le projet avant la fin du mois.” “We need to double our efforts if we want to complete the project before the end of the month.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Changer de crémerie

Crémerie
Crémerie photographed in Marseille by Boris Drenec.

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, “Changer de crémerie.”

Literally translated as, “changing creameries,” it means taking your business elsewhere when you’re unhappy with the current (and possibly long-standing) arrangement.

Example: “Certains généralistes se sentent obligés de délivrer des ordonnances même quand ce n’est pas strictement nécessaire, de peur que leurs patients changent de crémerie.” “Some family doctors feel pressured to write prescriptions even when it’s not strictly necessary, out of fear that their patients might change creameries.”

(Cultural note: this sentence is to be understood in the context of France, where patients typically feel that they didn’t get their money’s worth if they come out of the doctor’s office without some kind of prescription. It is one of the factors that explain the considerable deficit of our health system, since the cost of these not-so-necessary medications is covered in part by the sécurité sociale.)

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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La course à l’échalote

Shallots
Gorgeous braided shallots photographed by Denna Jones.

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, “La course à l’échalote.”

Literally translated as, “the shallot race,” it is used in situations of futile competition, when people strive to outdo one another for vain reasons, in a political context or otherwise. It is somewhat comparable to (though less openly vulgar than) the English expression a pissing contest (pardon my French).

Example: “C’est un peu ridicule, cette course à l’échalote pour savoir qui sera le plus rapide à chroniquer le dernier resto branché.” “It’s a bit ridiculous, this shallot race to see who’ll be the quickest to review the latest hip restaurant.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Ne pas digérer quelque chose

Digestive biscuit
Digestive biscuit photographed by Qiao-Da-Ye.

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, “Ne pas digérer quelque chose.”

Literally translated as, “not digesting something,” it means holding a grudge about something, being unhappy about a past situation, and not being able to let it go.

Example: “Il n’a toujours pas digéré ce qu’il considère comme une erreur d’arbitrage.” “He still hasn’t digested what he considers to be a referee error.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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Faire son miel de quelque chose

Honeycomb

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, “Faire son miel de quelque chose.”

Literally translated as, “making one’s honey out of something,” it means profiting from a situation.

Example: “Elle enchaîne les déclarations provocantes, et évidemment, les journalistes en font leur miel.” “She makes one provoking statement after another, and of course, journalists make their honey out of it.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

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