French expressions that are difficult to understand

The hardest thing when learning a language is to understand all the weird expression locals are saying. There is a difference between learning French from a book and learning all the right lingo! Here are some French expressions that can be difficult to understand for foreign people.

Be careful, some French expressions have swear words in them… So be sure to truly understand all these expressions before using them.

French Expressions That People Don’t Understand

Avoir une araignée au plafond

Literally, it translates to “having a spider on the ceiling”. But it has nothing to do with an insect. It means someone is being a little bit crazy, but not in a way that is embarrassing or dangerous for other people. In English, you might say “to have a screw loose”.

Être con comme un balai

This one isn’t very difficult to understand. It’s just an insult saying that someone is very stupid and dumb. What is weird about this French expression is the fact that it’s a comparison with a broom…

Se prendre un râteau

Just imagine, you’re walking in your garden and suddenly you step on a rake, which slams your face. It must be hurtful, right? Almost like when you flirt with someone and they turn you down. Well, this expression means “being turned down romantically”. Ouch.

Ça me gonfle

Weird French expressions

When something (or someone) is getting on your nerves, you can just say “ça me gonfle”. “Gonfler” is a verb meaning “inflate”… So you just have to imagine being so pissed off that your head inflates and explodes.

Faire chier quelqu’un

What is up with these French expressions using “poopy” words? When a French person says “il me fait chier”, it literally translates to “he makes me poop”. But what does it mean? It’s the perfect expression to say that someone is really annoying.

Avoir un pet de travers

This French expression is a funny and an interesting one. It literally means “having a fart crosswise” : again, French expressions are full of poop references. But just think about it. Isn’t it annoying when you feel that there is a fart stuck in your stomach? It can be painful… That’s why this expression has been used since the 20th century to say that someone has a little something wrong, or that he is upset, in a bad mood.

Péter les plombs

Have you ever got angry brutally? One moment you’re fine and suddenly you’re acting crazy, like you just flipped a switch? It’s exactly what this expression is trying to represent: when an electrical problem occurs, the circuit breaker jumps and cuts the power to the outlets and light points connected to it. When you “break a fuse”, it’s like something has been cut in your brain and it can’t function properly.

Avoir la tête dans le cul

Funny French expressions

If you’re trying to speak elegantly in French, just forget about this expression, which translates as “having your head in your ass”. It means that you’re not very awake or that you don’t feel alright. It’s especially used during a hangover or when you didn’t sleep well…

Avoir la patate

On the contrary, if you feel great, then you can say that you have “the potato”. It means that you’re in very good shape and ready to take the day on!

French expressions can be very funny, but also quite offensive, so be careful when you use them. And sure, the ones we present in this article are quite negative, but we’ll be sure to post another article about positive French expressions soon! And did you read about the French filler words?

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