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la fête [we need a word like this in English. "Party" or "feast" are not the same.]

I like this one... I always try to explain what "C'est pas la fete" means !!


We don't have "lap" in French; the bad thing is that we never have good things falling onto our laps, the good thing is that we don't have lap dancers


Hello Sedulia,

This is an interesting article ! Thanks for it.

I think that a french expression hard to translate is too is "Service public". Even for a french lawyer it's hard to explain, but to make short, I would say for your readers that it's a service, provided by the administration or someone working for the administration that has a state that is at a given time important enough to be in a special category, higher that the other activities.

About "le patronat", I don't know in usa, but here if you look some statistics, I would not be surprised to discover that the bosses are bosses from father to son, too, from ex-aristocratic families (with a particule devant le nom)... This sound a cliché, but here I think that the patrons are often (but not always) from the same social class : the rich.
And I don't feel that the average french is the one that think that he CAN DO IT ! Maybe in USA it's different and creating a company, even small is someone that you fear less ?

and to finish, I would translate "kick" by the slang word "latter"
"si tu m'ennuies, je te donne un coup de latte", or to be cohérent : "je te fous un coup de latte dans la gueule".
Where latte can by any part of the body, but I think more the leg.

And maybe "rude" can be translated by "grossier" but I'm not sure at all.



Marco Amans

For "tailgaiting" we have the expression "coller au cul".


I couldn't find a French word or phrase that was the exact translation of fussy. Any ideas?


Sure we do use "wasting time", it's "perdre son temps" in French.

I don't wanna waste my time = Je ne veux pas perdre mon temps.



"Perdre son temps" means literally to lose one's time.

"Wasting" time would be "gaspiller son temps," which the French don't say.

Of course you can explain anything in any language eventually-- it's the exactness of the individual words that interests me.

Fussy... Hmm, I think you're right, Nellie. There are French words that mean that... but they also mean other things. And there is no French word I can think of that means only "fussy."


Fussy c un peu comme "difficile", in don't be so fussy = ne fais pas le difficile.

so it does not mean difficult like in hardship but more like don't be so hard/difficult to please.


mais puisque je vous le dis - I me telling you SO!

Sorry, but I didn't make the rules! - c'est pas moi qui fait les regles/lois

il y a aussi: ca va etre ta fete! - you gonna cop it! or you've really done it this time!

A float in a parade est un char...

Un cadre is simply part of management either middle ou senior (cadre superieur)

I don't buy that! - je te crois pas!

Et faire la "teuf" ou la fete is exactly like partying while une petit fete ou une petite reception is like a small celebration, at work for instance.

PS: bien vu Flip, t'as tout juste avec coller au cul! ;-)



ADP, you are right about your translations, of course, but I listed these words and phrases here, not because I can't translate them, but because there is no exact equivalent, and I think the differences are interesting and often funny.

I have never heard a French person say, "C'est pas moi qui fait les regles." In English you hear this phrase all the time. And in English I have never heard anyone say, "I'm telling you so!" in the sense that in French you often hear, "Mais puisque je vous le dis!" I think that is because in English-speaking countries, it is unforgivably rude to be seen to doubt the speaker's honesty; this is not necessarily the case in France.

In English there is no one-word translation of "cadre"-- you have to explain it-- and I don't think it's an accident that in hierarchical French society it is much more common. And "I don't buy that" comes from a more commercial culture than "Je te crois pas."

"Coller au cul" is not quite the same as "tailgate" because it's rude, and tailgate is a normal word.

You are right about "char" though (funny that it also means "tank"!). I will leave it up for historical purposes.


Here, Down Under in Australia, Aussie english is still yet another language and local expressions are legion... My translations come from what goes around here.

If you want more Aussie english let me know.;-)

L'expression coller au cul est effectivement de l'argot, on peux le corriger politiquement en disant "arreter de me coller derriere", qui est aussi utilise et moins pejoratif peut etre mais personne que je connaisse (a part ces maudits parigots) n'aime se faire coller au derriere sur la route, ce qui est une pratique dangereuse autant qu'aggressive et qui est aussi une coutume ici bas...


You should do an Aussie website! I don't know much Aussie slang.

William Ashley

botter is to kick (so botte - kick)


Shallow is a word that doesn't exist in French. Peu profond is what they say, but that just means "not deep".

Also "privacy" is a word that doesn't translate to French.


So true, Wayne! Also, yesterday I was trying to translate "enjoy" and realized it's hard to translate that into French. Also "excited." Both tend to have a sexual connotation when translated into French (if I'm not mistaken).



Indeed, what a good article ! And blogs... Just got a glance at Rue Rude : really interesting. Love the way you write. I've come across your words searching for a translation to "passer sous le nez", which literally means "go past under the nose" (so funny written that way), but which is actually translated by "slip through one's fingers". It's like the idioms "rain cats and dogs"... In France, we'd rather "it falls cords" !


How does one describe or call a happy hour in French?


Great write up. I am beginner of learning French language. I have taken various courses to learn French. I love to learn french word everyday. I have got some ideas from you . Thanks for sharing this nice post.


Ca y est
Avoir l'envie de

Of course these have translations, but I am a native English speaker and these expressions don't seem to have a great English counterpart. They are much better in French.

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