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Title: French Idioms and Proverbs - A Companion to Deshumbert's "Dictionary of Difficulties"
Author: Payen-Payne, Vinchelés de
Language: English
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_WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


  JULES SANDEAU. LA ROCHE AUX MOUETTES (Extracts). [_Nutt’s Short
  French Readers, 6d._]

  THÉOPHILE GAUTIER. VOYAGE EN ITALIE. [_Cambridge University
  Press, 3s._]

  ÉMILE SOUVESTRE. LE PHILOSOPHE SOUS LES TOITS (Extracts).
  [_Blackie’s Little French Classics, 4d._]

  PIERRE CŒUR. L’ÂME DE BEETHOVEN. [_Siepmann’s French Series.
  Macmillan, 2s._]



                   FRENCH IDIOMS AND PROVERBS


    “_Omne epigramma sit instar apis; sit aculeus illi,
    Sint sua mella, sit et corporis exigui._”
                                                      MARTIAL.

[Thus Englished by Archbishop Trench:

    “_Three things must epigrams, like bees, have all;
    Its sting, its honey, and its body small._”]

[And thus by my friend, Mr. F. Storr:

    “_An epigram’s a bee: ’tis small, has wings
    Of wit, a heavy bag of humour, and it stings._”]

    “_Celebre dictum, scita quapiam novitate insigne._”
                                                     ERASMUS.

“_The genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its
proverbs._”--BACON.

    “_The people’s voice the voice of God we call;
    And what are proverbs but the people’s voice?_”
                                                  JAMES HOWELL.

    “_What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed._”
                                    POPE, _Essay on Criticism_.

“_The wit of one man, the wisdom of many._”--Lord JOHN RUSSELL
(_Quarterly Review_, Sept. 1850).



                   FRENCH IDIOMS AND PROVERBS

                   A COMPANION TO DESHUMBERT’S

                  “DICTIONARY OF DIFFICULTIES”

                               BY

                        DE V. PAYEN-PAYNE

            PRINCIPAL OF KENSINGTON COACHING COLLEGE
         ASSISTANT EXAMINER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

              _FOURTH REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION_

                        [Fifth Thousand]

                             LONDON
                   DAVID NUTT, 57-59 LONG ACRE
                              1905



             “_Tant ayme on chien qu’on le nourrist,
             Tant court chanson qu’elle est aprise,
             Tant garde on fruit qu’il se pourrist,
              Tant bat on place qu’elle est prise.
               Tant tarde on que faut entreprise,
                Tant se haste on que mal advient,
               Tant embrasse on que chet la prise,
               Tant crie l’on Noel qu’il vient._”
                             VILLON, _Ballade des Proverbes_.



PREFACE


In this edition I have endeavoured to keep down additions as much
as possible, so as not to overload the book; but I have not been
sparing in adding cross-references (especially in the Index) and
quotations from standard authors. These quotations seldom give
the first occasion on which a proverb has been used, as in most
cases it is impossible to find it.

I have placed an asterisk before all recognised proverbs; these
will serve as a first course for those students who do not wish
to read through the whole book at once. In a few cases I have
added explanations of English proverbs; during the eleven years
I have been using the book I have frequently found that pupils
were, for instance, as ignorant of “to bell the cat” as they were
of “attacher le grelot.”

I must add a warning to students who use the book when
translating into French. They must not use expressions marked
“familiar” or “popular” except when writing in a familiar or
low-class style. I have included these forms, because they are
often heard in conversation, but they are seldom met with in
serious French literature. A few blank pages have been added at
the end for additions. Accents have been placed on capitals to
aid the student; they are usually omitted in French printing.

In conclusion, I have to thank Mr. W. G. Lipscomb, M.A.,
Headmaster of Bolton Grammar School, Mr. E. Latham, and
especially M. Georges Jamin of the École Lavoisier, Paris, for
valuable suggestions; while M. Marius Deshumbert, and Professor
Walter Rippmann, in reading through the proof sheets, have made
many corrections and additions of the greatest value, for which I
owe them my sincere gratitude.

                                               DE V. PAYEN-PAYNE.



AUTHORITIES CONSULTED


BELCHER, H., and DUPUIS, A., “Manuel aux examens.” London, 1885.

BELCOUR, G., “English Proverbs.” London, 1888.

BOHN, H. G., “Handbook of Proverbs.” London, 1855.

CATS, JACOB, and FAIRLIE, R., “Moral Emblems.” London, 1860.

DUPLESSIS, M. GRATET, “La fleur des Proverbes français.” Paris,
1851.

FURETIÈRE, A., “Dictionnaire universel.” La Haye, 1727.

GÉNIN, F., “Récréations philologiques.” Paris, 1856.

HOWELL, JAMES, “Lexicon Tetraglotton.” London, 1660.

KARCHER, T., “Questionnaire français.” Seventh Edition. London,
1886.

LACURNE DE STE. PALAYE, “Dictionnaire historique de l’ancien
langage françois.” Paris, 1875-82.

LARCHEY, LORÉDAN, “Nos vieux Proverbes.” Paris, 1886.

LAROUSSE, P., “Grand Dictionnaire universel du xix^e siècle.”
1865-76.

LE ROUX DE LINCY, A. J., “Livre des Proverbes français.” 2^e
édition. Paris, 1859.

LITTRÉ, E., “Dictionnaire de la langue française.” Paris,
1863-72.

LOUBENS, D., “Proverbes de la langue française.” Paris, 1889.

MARTIN, ÉMAN, “Le Courrier de Vaugelas.” Paris, 1868.

QUITARD, P. M., “Dictionnaire étymologique des Proverbes.” Paris,
1842.

QUITARD, P. M., “Études sur les Proverbes français.” Paris, 1860.

RIGAUD, LUCIEN, “Argot moderne.” Paris, 1881.

TARVER, J. C., “Phraseological Dictionary.” London, 1854.

TRENCH, R. C., “Proverbs and their Lessons.” Sixth Edition.
London, 1869.

_Quarterly Review._ July 1868.

_Notes and Queries._ _Passim._



FRENCH IDIOMS AND PROVERBS


_Expressions to which an Asterisk is prefixed are Proverbs._


A.


A

  _Il ne sait ni A ni B_ = He does not know B from a bull’s foot;
  He cannot read; He is a perfect ignoramus.

  _Être marqué à l’A_ = To stand high in the estimation of others.

    [This expression is supposed to have originated in the custom of
    stamping French coin with different letters of the alphabet. The
    mark of the Paris Mint was an “A,” and its coins were supposed
    to be of a better quality than those stamped at provincial
    towns. But as this custom only began in 1418 by command of the
    Dauphin, son of Charles VI., and as the saying was known long
    previous, it is more probable that its origin is to be sought in
    the pre-eminence that A has always held in all Aryan languages,
    and that the French have borrowed it from the Romans. Compare
    MARTIAL, ii. 57, and our A i, at Lloyd’s.]


Abandon

  _Tout est à l’abandon_ = Everything is at sixes and sevens, in
  utter neglect, in confusion.

    [Also: _Tout va à la dérive._]


Abattre

  *_Petite pluie abat grand vent_ = A little rain lays much dust;
  Often quite a trifle calms a torrent of wrath.

    [Compare: “Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta Pulveris
    exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.”
                                      VERGIL, _Georgics_, iv. 86-7.]

  _Abattre de l’ouvrage_ = To get through a great deal of work.


Aboi

  _Être aux abois_ = To be reduced to the last extremity; To be at
  bay.

    [Compare BOILEAU: “Dès que j’y veux rêver, ma veine est aux
    abois.”]


Abondance

  *_Abondance de biens ne nuit pas_ = Store is no sore; One cannot
  have too much of a good thing.

  _Parler avec abondance_ = To speak fluently.

  _Parler d’abondance_ = To speak extempore.


Abonder

  _Il abonde dans mon sens_ = He is entirely of the same opinion as
  I am; He has come round to my opinion.


Abord

  _Il a l’abord rude, mais il s’adoucit bientôt_ = He receives you
  roughly at first, but that soon passes off.

  _A_ (or, _De_) _prime abord_ = At first sight; At the first blush.


Aboutir

  _Les pourparlers n’ont pas abouti_ = The preliminary negotiations
  led to nothing.


Absent

  *“_Les absents ont toujours tort_” = When absent, one is never in
  the right.

      “When a man’s away,
      Abuse him you may.”

  [NÉRICAULT-DESTOUCHES, _L’obstacle imprévu_, i. 6.]


Absurde

  _L’homme absurde est celui qui ne change jamais_ = The wise man
  changes his opinion--the fool never.

  [BARTHÉLEMY, _Palinode_. 1832.]


Accommodement

  _Il est avec le ciel des accommodements_ = One can arrange things
  with heaven.

    [Compare MOLIÈRE, _Tartufe_, iv. 5:

      “Le ciel défend, de vrai, certains contentements,
      Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements.”

    The scene in which Orgon, hidden beneath the table, learns
    Tartufe’s hypocrisy.]

  _Un méchant accommodement est mieux que le meilleur procès_ = A
  bad arrangement is better than the best lawsuit.


Accommoder

  _Je l’accommoderai comme il faut_ = I will give him a good hiding.

  _Il s’accommode de tout_ = He is satisfied with everything; He is
  easy to please.


Accord

  _D’accord_ = Granted.


Accorder

  _Accordez mieux vos flûtes, si vous voulez réussir_ = You must
  agree better among yourselves if you wish to succeed.

    [Generally in bad sense. “Mettez, pour me jouer, vos flûtes mieux
    d’accord.”--MOLIÈRE, _L’Etourdi_, i. 4.]

  _S’accorder comme chien et chat_ = To live a cat and dog life.


Accoutumer

  _Chose accoutumée n’est pas fort prisée_ = Familiarity breeds
  contempt.

    [The Latin version of a sentence in PLUTARCH’S _Morals_ runs:
    “Nimia familiaritas contemptum parit.”

    Fais feste au chien, il te gastera ton habit.

      “Jamais trop compagnon à nul ne te feras
      Car bien que moins de joye moins d’ennuy tu auras.”]


Accrocher

  _Un homme qui se noie s’accroche à tout_ = A drowning man catches
  at a straw.

  _Il a accroché sa montre_ (pop.) = He has “popped” his watch.

    [Other popular synonyms are the following:--

    _Il a mis sa montre au clou_ (pop.) = His watch is up the spout.

    _J’ai porté ma montre chez ma tante_ (pop.) = My watch is at my
    uncle’s.]


Acheter

  _Acheter à vil prix_ = To buy dirt cheap, for a mere song.

  _Acheter chat en poche_ = To buy a pig in a poke.

  _Acheter par francs et vendre par écus_ = To buy in the cheapest
  market and sell in the dearest; To sell at a high profit.


Achever

  _C’est un voleur achevé_ = He is an arrant thief.


Achoppement

  _La pierre d’achoppement_ = The stumbling-block.


Acquérir

  *_Le bien mal acquis ne profite jamais_ = Ill-gotten gains
  benefit no one; Cheats never prosper; Ill got, ill spent.


Acquit

  _Faire quelque chose par manière d’acquit_ = To do something for
  form’s sake, perfunctorily.

    [This is a shortened form of _faire quelque chose pour l’acquit
    de sa conscience_ = to do something to satisfy one’s conscience.]

  _Donner l’acquit_ = To break (at billiards).

  _Pour acquit_ = Received (on bills).


Acte

  _Faire acte de présence_ = To put in an appearance.


Adieu

  _Sans adieu_ = I shall not say good-bye; I shall see you again
  soon.

    [“Adieu” is shortened from “Je vous recommande à la grâce de
    Dieu.” Comp. “Sans adieu, chevalier, je crois que nous nous
    reverrons bientôt.”--LESAGE.]


Adresse

  _Le trait est arrivé à son adresse_ = The shaft (_or_, arrow) hit
  the mark; He took the hint.


Adresser

  _Vous vous adressez mal_; _Vous vous adressez bien_ (ironic.) =
  You have come to the wrong person; You have mistaken your man.


Advenir

  *_Advienne que pourra_ = Happen what may.


Affaire

  _Cela fera parfaitement l’affaire_ = That will do capitally; That
  will suit down to the ground.

  _C’est son affaire_ = That is his business, his look-out.

  _Ça, c’est mon affaire_ = That is my business; It is no business
  of yours.

  _Il est sûr de son affaire_ = He will pay for it; He will catch
  it.

  _Je ne dis pas mes affaires aux autres_ = I do not tell others my
  plans (_or_ business); I keep my concerns to myself.

  _J’entends votre affaire_ = I see what is to be done for you.

  _Ils parlent affaires_ = They are talking business.

  _Ils parlent boutique_ = They are talking shop.

  _C’est une triste affaire_ = It is a sad business.

  _S’attirer une mauvaise affaire_ = To get into a mess, scrape.

  _Quand on a de l’esprit, on se tire d’affaire_ = When one has
  brains, one gets out of any difficulty.

    [Distinguish between _se tirer_ and _s’attirer_.]

  _Si quelque affaire t’importe, ne la fais pas par procureur_ = If
  you want a thing done, do it yourself.

  _L’affaire a été chaude_ = It was warm work (referring to a
  fight).

  _Une affaire d’honneur_ = A duel.

  _Où sont mes affaires?_ = Where are my things?

  _Les affaires ne vont pas (ne marchent pas)_ = Trade is dull,
  slack.

  _Je suis dans les affaires_ = I am in business.

    [“Les affaires? C’est bien simple, c’est l’argent des
    autres.”--ALEX. DUMAS fils, _La Question d’Argent_, ii. 7.]

  _Mêlez-vous de vos affaires_ = Mind your own business.

  _Avoir affaire_ = To be occupied.

  _Avoir affaire à quelqu’un_ = To have to speak to (to deal with)
  a person.

    [Sometimes as a threat: _Il aura affaire à moi_ = He will have to
    deal with me.]

  _Avoir affaire de quelqu’un_ = To need a person.

    [“J’ai affaire de vous, ne vous éloignez pas.”]

  _Avoir son affaire_ = To have what suits one. _J’ai mon affaire_
  = I have found what I want. _J’ai votre affaire_ = I have got the
  very thing for you. _Il aura son affaire_ (ironic.) = He will
  catch it.

  _C’est toute une affaire_ = It is a serious matter; It means a
  lot of bother (_or_, trouble).

  _C’est une affaire faite_ = It is as good as done.

  _Son affaire est faite_ = He is a dead man (of one dying); He is
  done for; He is a ruined man.

  _Faire son affaire_ = (of oneself) To succeed. _Il fait tout
  doucement son affaire_ = He is getting on slowly but surely. (Of
  others) To punish. _S’il le rencontre, il lui fera son affaire_ =
  If he meets him he will give it to him, will “do” for him.

  _Il a fait ses affaires dans les vins_ = He made his money in the
  wine trade.

  _J’en fais mon affaire_ = I will take the responsibility of the
  matter; I will see to it; I will take it in hand.

  _Vous avez fait là une belle affaire_ (ironic.) = You have made a
  pretty mess of it.

  _Une affaire de rien_ = A mere nothing, a trifle.

  _Il est hors d’affaire_ = He is out of danger.

  _Être au dessous de ses affaires, être au dessus de ses affaires_
  (ironic.) = To be unable to meet one’s liabilities, to be
  unsuccessful.

  _Quelle affaire! En voilà une affaire!_ (ironic.) = What a to-do!
  What a row about nothing!

  _La belle affaire!_ = Is that all? (_i.e._ it is not so difficult
  or important as you seem to think).

  _Il n’y a point de petites affaires_ = Every trifle is of
  importance.

  _Ceux qui n’ont point d’affaires s’en font_ = Those who have no
  troubles invent them; Idle people make business for themselves.

  _Les affaires sont les affaires_ = Business is business; One must
  be serious at work.

  _Ce scandale sera l’affaire de huit jours_ = That scandal will be
  a nine days’ wonder.

  _Dieu nous garde d’un homme qui n’a qu’une affaire_ = God save us
  from the man of one idea.

    [Because he is always talking of it, and tires every one. Compare
    “Beware of the man of one book.”]

  _Chacun sait ses affaires_ = Every one knows his own business
  best.

  *_A demain les affaires sérieuses_ = I will not be bothered with
  business to-day; Time enough for business to-morrow.

    [The saying of Archias, governor of Thebes, on receiving a letter
    from Athens warning him of the conspiracy of Pelopidas; he would
    not even open the letter. Soon after, the conspirators rushed in
    and murdered him and his friends as they were feasting.]

  _Il vaut mieux avoir affaire à Dieu qu’à ses saints_ = It is
  better to deal with superiors than subordinates.

    [Two quotations from La Fontaine are proverbial:--

      “On ne s’attendait guère
      A voir Ulysse en cette affaire.”
                                  _La Tortue et les deux Canards._

      “Le moindre grain de mil
      Serait bien mieux mon affaire.”
                                            _Le Coq et la Perle._]


Affamer

  *_Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles_ = A hungry man will not
  listen to reason.
                                  [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, ix. 18.]


Afficher

  _Défense d’afficher_ = Stick no bills.

  _C’est un homme qui s’affiche_ = He is a man who tries to get
  talked about (generally in a disparaging sense).

    [_Être affiché_ is also said of a man who has been “posted” at
    his club.]


Affront

  _Faire affront à quelqu’un_ = To shame some one in public.

  _Le fils fait affront à sa famille_ = The son is a disgrace to
  his family.

  _Boire_ (_essuyer_ or _avaler_) _un affront_ = To pocket an
  insult.


Affût

  _Être à l’affût_ = To be watching for a favourable opportunity;
  To be on the look-out. (See _Aguets_.)


Âge

  _Il est entre deux âges_ = He is middle-aged.

  _Il est président d’âge_ = He is chairman by seniority.

  _Le bas âge_ = Infancy.

  _Le bel âge_ = Childhood; youth.

    [Some idea is generally understood after _le bel âge_. Thus
    “childhood” is not always the right translation. For an author
    _le bel âge_ would be after thirty, for a politician later still,
    and so on. Chicaneau, in Racine’s _Plaideurs_, calls sixty _le
    bel âge pour plaider_ (i. 7).]

  _La fleur de l’âge_ = The prime of life.

  _Le moyen âge_ = The Middle Ages.


Agir

  _Il s’agit de_... = The question is...; The point is...

  _Il s’agit de votre vie_ = Your life is at stake.

  _Il ne s’agit pas de cela_ = That is not the point.

  _Il s’agit bien de cela_ (ironic.) = That is quite a secondary
  consideration.


Agiter

  _Qui s’agite s’enrichit_ = If you wish to get rich, you must work
  (hustle); No pains, no gains.


Agonie

  _Même à travers l’agonie la passion dominante se fait voir_ = The
  ruling passion is strong in death.

    [“Elle a porté ses sentiments jusqu’à l’agonie.”--BOSSUET.

      “And you, brave Cobham! to the latest breath
      Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death.”
                                     POPE, _Moral Essays_, i. 262.]


Aguets

  _Il est aux aguets_ = He is on the watch; He is in ambush. (See
  _Affût_.)


Aide

  *_Un peu d’aide fait grand bien_ = Many hands make light work.


Aider

  _Bon droit a besoin d’aide_ = Even a good cause needs support.

  *_Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera_ = God helps those who help
  themselves.

    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vi. 18, _Le Chartier embourbé_, copying
    RÉGNIER, Sat. xiii.:

    “Aydez vous seulement et Dieu vous aydera.”

    Lat.: Dii facientes adjuvant.

    ÆSCHYLUS, _Persae_, 742: Σπεύδοντι σαυτῷ χῶ θεὸς ξυνάψεται.

    SOPHOCLES, _Camicii_, frag. 633, in Dindorf’s edition: Οὐκ ἐστι
    τοῖς μή δρῶσι σύμμαχος Τύχη.

    Another Greek saying was: Σύν, Αθηνᾷ καὶ χείρα κίνει = With
    Minerva on your side, yet use your own hand.

    Cromwell is reported to have said at the battle of Dunbar: “Trust
    in God, but keep your powder dry.”

    The Basques say: “Quoique Dieu soit bon ouvrier, il veut qu’on
    l’aide.”]


Aiguille

  _De fil en aiguille_ = Bit by bit; One thing leading to another.

    [“De propos en propos et de fil en eguille.”--RÉGNIER, Sat. xiii.]

  _Raconter de fil en aiguille_ = To tell the whole matter from the
  beginning.

  _Disputer sur la pointe d’une aiguille_ = To raise a discussion
  on a subject of no importance; To split hairs.

  *_Chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin_ = To look for a
  needle in a bundle (bottle) of hay.


Aiguillon

  _A dur âne dur aiguillon_ = In dealing with obstinate natures one
  must use severe measures.


Aile

  _Il en a dans l’aile_ = He is winged (hurt).

  _Le ministère a du plomb dans l’aile_ = The ministry is nearing
  its end, is winged.

  _Il ne bat plus que d’une aile_ = He is almost ruined; He is on
  his last legs.

  _Voler de ses propres ailes_ = To act (_or_, shift) for oneself.

  _J’en tirerai pied ou aile_ = I will get something out of it.

    [Idiom derived from carving a bird--to get a leg or a wing off
    it.]

  _C’est la plus belle plume de son aile_ (or, _le plus beau
  fleuron de sa couronne_) = It is the finest gem of his crown.


Aimer

  *_Qui aime bien châtie bien_ = Spare the rod and spoil the child.
  [_Proverbs_ xiii. 24.]

  _Aimer quelqu’un comme la prunelle de ses yeux_ = To love
  somebody like the apple of one’s eye.

  _Quand on n’a pas ce que l’on aime il faut aimer ce que l’on a_ =
  If you cannot get crumb you had best eat crust.

    [This sentence is found in a letter from Bussy Rabutin to Madame
    de Sévigné, May 23, 1667.

    “Quoniam non potest id fieri quod vis, id velis quod
    possit.”--TERENCE, _Andria_, ii. 1, 6. “When things will not suit
    our will, it is well to suit our will to things.”--Arab proverb.

      “Let not what I cannot have
      My peace of mind destroy.”
                                    COLLEY CIBBER, _The Blind Boy_.]

  *_Qui aime Bertrand, aime son chien_ = Love me, love my dog.

    [“Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.”--S. BERNARD, _In Fest. S.
    Mich. Serm._, i. sec. 3.]

  *_Qui aime bien, tard oublie_ = True love dies hard.

  _Qui m’aime me suive_ = Peril proves who dearly loves.

    [Words attributed to Philippe VI. when at a Council during his
    war with Flanders, the Connétable de Châtillon alone stood by
    him, saying all times were suitable to the brave.]


Air

  _En plein air_; _Au grand air_ = In the open air.

  _Être entre deux airs_       } = To be in a
  _Être dans un courant d’air_ }   draught.

  _Avoir toujours le pied en l’air_ = To be always on the go.

  _Il parle en l’air_ = He talks without thinking of what he is
  saying, at random, not seriously.

  _Je vais prendre l’air du bureau_ = I am just going to look in at
  the office.

  _Prendre un air de feu_ = To go near the fire for a few minutes
  to warm oneself.

  _A votre air on ne vous donnerait pas vingt-cinq ans_ = From your
  looks I should take you for less than five-and-twenty.

  _Vivre de l’air du temps_ = To live upon nothing (_i.e._ to eat
  very little).

  _Elle a quelque chose de votre air_ = She takes after you; She
  looks somewhat like you.

  _Il a un faux air d’avocat_ = He looks something like a barrister.

  _Cela en a tout l’air_ = It looks uncommonly like it.

  _Il a un air_ (or, _l’air_) _comme il faut_ = He has a very
  gentlemanly manner.


Algèbre

  _C’est de l’algèbre pour lui_ = It is Greek to him.

    [“C’est de l’hébreu pour moi.”--MOLIÈRE, _L’Étourdi_, iii. 3.]


Allemand

  _Chercher une querelle d’Allemand_ = To pick a quarrel about
  nothing, without rhyme or reason.

    [This saying has been accounted for as follows:--During the
    thirteenth century there lived in Dauphiné a very powerful family
    of the name of Alleman. They were bound together by close ties
    of relationship; and if any one attacked one member of the clan,
    he had the whole to reckon with. From the vigour with which they
    resented any wrong, no matter how slight, arose the expression
    _Une querelle d’Alleman_. See M. Jules Quicherat’s article on _La
    famille des Alleman_ in the _Revue historique de la noblesse_,
    Part vi.]


Aller

  *_Tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’à la fin elle se casse_ = The
  pitcher that often goes to the well gets broken at last.

    [This has been travestied: _Tant va la cruche à l’eau qu’à la fin
    elle s’emplit._ The Germans have an equivalent: _Der Krug geht so
    lange zum Brunnen, bis er bricht._]

  *_Doucement va bien loin_ = Fair and softly goes far; Slow and
  sure wins the race.

    [The Italian equivalent is: _Chi va piano va sano e va lontano._

      “Qui trop se hâte en cheminant
      En beau chemin se fourvoye souvent.”

    “On en va mieux quand on va doux.”--LA FONTAINE, _Les Cordeliers
    de Catalogne_.]

  _Il y allait du bonheur de ma famille_ = The happiness of my
  family was at stake.

  _Ce jeune homme ira loin_ = That young man will make his way in
  the world, has a future before him.

  _Au pis aller_ = Should the worst come to the worst.

  _Un pis aller_ = A makeshift.

  _Aller son petit bonhomme de chemin_ = To jog along quietly.

  _Cela va tout seul_ = There is no difficulty in the way.

  _Cela va sans dire_ = That is a matter of course; It stands to
  reason.

  _Cela va de soi_ = That follows naturally.

  _Il ne reviendra pas, allez!_ = Depend upon it, he will not
  return!

  _Va pour mille francs!_ = Done! I’ll take £40.

  _Aller cahin-caha_     } (lit.) To limp along.
  _Aller clopin-clopant_ } (fig.) To rub along
    quietly, neither very well nor very ill.

  _Elle le fait aller_ = She makes him do what she likes.

  _Le rouge va bien aux brunes_ = Red suits dark women well.

  _Allons!_ = Come, now!

  _Allons donc!_ = You are joking.


Allumer

  “_Il n’est bois si vert qui ne s’allume_” (CLÉMENT MAROT) = There
  is nothing so difficult that cannot be done in time.


Alors

  _Alors comme alors_ = Wait till that happens, and then we will
  see what is to be done.


Ambre

  _Fin comme l’ambre_ = As sharp as a needle.

    [This is said to have originated in the scent of ambergris, which
    is of a subtle, penetrating nature.]


Amener

  _Cette preuve est amenée de bien loin_ = That proof is very
  far-fetched.


Ami

  *_Qui prête à l’ami perd au double_ = “For loan oft loses both
  itself and friend.”
  [_Hamlet_, i. 3.]

  *_On connaît les amis au besoin_ = A friend in need is a friend
  indeed.

    [Also: _C’est dans le malheur qu’on connaît ses amis._

    “_Chacun se dit ami, mais fou qui s’y repose
          Rien n’est plus commun que le nom
          Rien n’est plus rare que la chose._”
                                    LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iv. 17.

  “_Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur._”--ENNIUS.

  “_Nihil homini amico est opportuno amicius._”--PLAUTUS.

  “_Vulgare amici nomen, sed rara est fides._”--PHAEDRUS, iii. 9.

  “_Les amis sont comme les parapluies, on ne les a jamais sous la
  main quand il pleut._”--THÉODORE DE BANVILLE.

  Un véritable ami est un bienfait des dieux.

  Prosperity gains friends, adversity tries them.

  Friends and mules fail us at hard passes.

    In times of prosperity friends will be plenty,
    In times of adversity not one in twenty.]

  _Mieux vaut ami en voie que denier en courroie_ = A friend at
  court is better than money.

  _Il ne faut prendre de son ami tout ce qu’on peut_ = Friends are
  like fiddle-strings, they must not be screwed too tight.

      “_Les amis de l’heure présente
      Ont la nature du melon,
      Il en faut essayer cinquante
      Avant qu’on rencontre un bon._”
                                         CLAUDE MERMET (1550-1605).

  = Trust not a new friend nor an old enemy; Acquaintances are
  many, but friends are few.


Amitié

  _Faites mes amitiés à votre frère_ = Remember me kindly to your
  brother.


Amour

  _Faites-le pour l’amour de moi_ = Do it for my sake.

  _L’Amour force toutes les serrures_ = Love laughs at locksmiths.

  _Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîche_ (or, _claire_) = To live on
  bread and cheese and kisses.

  *_On revient toujours à ses premières amours_ = One always
  returns to one’s first love; Who loves well, forgets ill.
  [C. G. ÉTIENNE, _Joconde_, iii. 1.]

  _Jamais l’amour ne se paye que par l’amour_ = Love can neither be
  bought nor sold, its only price is love.

    [“Amour au cœur me poind
      Quand bien-aimé je suis,
      Mais aimer je ne puis
      Quand on ne m’aime point.
      Chacun soit adverti
      De faire comme moi,
      Car d’aimer sans party
      C’est un trop grand esmoy.”
                                                   CLÉMENT MAROT.

  Lieb ohne Gegenlieb ist wie eine Frage ohne Antwort.]

  _On dirait qu’il le fait pour l’amour du bon Dieu_ = He does it
  with such bad grace that one would say he did it for conscience’
  sake.

      [“Qui que tu sois, voici ton maître,
        Il l’est, le fut, ou le doit être.”
       VOLTAIRE, _Inscription pour une statue de l’Amour dans les
                                             Jardins de Maisons_.

      “A l’Amour on résiste en vain;
      Qui n’aima jamais aimera demain.”
                      DE BENSERADE, _L’Amour_, ed. 1690, p. 234.]


Amuser

  _Amuser le tapis_ = To talk a great deal without coming to the
  point; To talk time away.

  _Ne vous amusez pas en route_ = Do not lose an instant on the way.


An

  _Je m’en moque comme de l’an quarante_ = I don’t care a straw for
  it.

    [There was a superstition that the world would come to an end in
    1040; after it had passed, this saying arose. The French also say
    “Je m’en moque comme de Colin-tampon.” Colin-tampon is the name
    given to the Swiss roll of the drum; and as the other soldiers
    in the French army paid no attention to it out of jealousy and
    esprit de corps, this saying arose. Another variant is “Je m’en
    soucie autant qu’un poisson d’une pomme.”]

  _Bon an, mal an_ = One year with another; On an average.


Âne

  _Ressembler à l’âne de Buridan_ = Not to know what to do.

    [Jean Buridan was a dialectician of the fourteenth century,
    and Rector of the University of Paris. One of his most famous
    dilemmas was that of the donkey equally hungry and thirsty, which
    was placed halfway between a pail of water and a load of hay. If
    the animal had no free-will, it would remain motionless between
    two equal attractions, and so die of hunger and thirst.]

  _Contes de Peau d’Âne_ = Nursery tales.

    [A name derived from a tale of Perrault, in which the heroine is
    so called.]

  _Pour un point_ (or, _Faute d’un point_) _Martin perdit son âne_
  = For want of a nail the shoe was lost (_or_, the miller lost his
  mare); Be careful of trifles.

    [This is said of a person who loses something valuable through
    a trifle. The Abbey of Asello (Latin _asellus_ = little ass)
    was taken from the Abbot Martin on account of his punctuation
    of a sentence over the gateway. Instead of: _Porta patens esto,
    nulli claudaris honesto_ (Gate be open, and be closed to no
    honest man), he punctuated: _Porta patens esto nulli, claudaris
    honesto_ (Gate, be open to none, be closed to an honest man).
    His successor corrected the mistake, and added: _Uno pro puncto
    caruit Martinus Asello_.]

  _Il fait l’âne pour avoir du son_ = He simulates stupidity to
  gain some material advantage.

  _Brider un âne par la queue_ = To do anything in exactly the
  wrong manner; To get hold of the wrong end of the stick.

  _Il n’y a point d’âne plus mal bâté que celui du commun_ = What
  is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
  [Walton, _Compleat Angler_, Part i. chap. ii.]


Ange

  _Être aux anges_ = To be delighted, in raptures, in the seventh
  heaven.

  _Un ange bouffi_ = A chubby child.


Anguille

  _Échapper comme une anguille_ = To be as slippery as an eel.

  _Quand on veut trop serrer l’anguille, elle s’échappe_ = “Much
  would have more and lost all”; He who is too greedy loses
  everything. (See _Embrasser_.)

  _Vouloir rompre l’anguille au genou_ = To attempt an
  impossibility.

  _Il est comme l’anguille de Melun_ (more correctly, _Languille de
  Melun_), _il crie avant qu’on l’écorche_ = He is like the eel of
  Melun, he cries out before he is hurt.

    [An actor, called Languille, was once acting the part of St.
    Bartholomew at Melun, when he was so frightened at the entry of
    the executioner to flay him alive, that he rushed off the stage
    yelling.]

  _Il y a quelque anguille sous roche_ = There is a snake in the
  grass; I can smell a rat.

    [Lat. _Latet anguis in herba._]


Anonyme

  _Société anonyme_ = Limited Liability Company (because the names
  of the shareholders are unknown to the public).


Anse

  _Faire danser l’anse_ (or, _le manche_) _du panier_ = To
  make dishonest profits on marketing (of servants); To gain a
  market-penny.

  _Faire le pot_ (or, _panier_) _à deux anses_ = To put one’s arms
  akimbo.

    [Often said of a gentleman who has a lady on each arm.]


Antan

  “_Où sont les neiges d’antan?_” = Where are the snows of
  yester-year?

    [Antan is an old French word derived from _ante_ and _annus_. The
    quotation is the refrain of François Villon’s famous “Ballade des
    Dames du temps jadis.”]


Apache

  _C’est un apache_ (pop.) = He is a hooligan.


Apothicaire

  _C’est un apothicaire sans sucre_ = He is unprovided with the
  necessities of his profession.

    [Druggists in France formerly sold sugar which they used almost
    in every preparation. Hence one who had no sugar was badly
    stocked.]


Apôtre

  _Faire le bon apôtre_ = To put on a saintly look; To pretend to
  be holy.

    [“Tout Picard que j’étais, j’étais un bon apôtre Et je faisais
    claquer mon fouet tout comme un autre.”
                                      RACINE, _Plaideurs_, i. 1.]


Apparence

  _Pour sauver les apparences_ = For the sake of appearances.

  _Selon toute apparence_ = In all probability.


Appartenir

  _A tous ceux qu’il appartiendra_ (legal) = To all whom it may
  concern.


Appât

  *_C’est un trop vieux poisson pour mordre à l’appât_ = He is too
  old a bird to be caught with chaff.


Appel

  _Faire l’appel_ = To call the roll.

  _Manquer à l’appel_ = To be missing, absent.

  _Battre l’appel_ = To call to arms.


Appeler

  _Il appelle les choses par leur nom_ = He calls a spade a spade.

    [“J’appelle un chat un chat, et Rolet un fripon.”--BOILEAU,
    _Satires_, i. 52.]

  _Voilà ce que j’appelle pleuvoir_ = This is what I call raining
  with a vengeance.


Appétit

  _Bon appétit_ = Good appetite; I hope you will enjoy your meal.

  *_L’appétit vient en mangeant_ = One leg of mutton helps down
  another; The more one has the more one wants; Begin to eat,
  you’ll soon be hungry.

      [“As if increase of appetite had grown
      By what it fed on.”
                                                  _Hamlet_, i. 2.

    “L’appétit vient en mangeant, disait Angeston, mais la soif s’en
    va en buvant.”--RABELAIS, _Gargantua_, i.]

  *_Il n’est chère que d’appétit_ = Hunger is the best sauce.

    [“Ἡ ἐπιθυμία τοῦ σίτου ὄψον.”
                                    XENOPHON, _Cyrop._ i. 5, 12.]

  *_Pain dérobé réveille appétit_ = Stolen joys are sweet.


Apprendre

  _Les malheurs s’apprennent bien vite_ = Ill news flies fast
  (_or_, apace).

  _Vous apprendrez avec plaisir...._ = You will be glad to hear....

  *_Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire des
  grimaces_ (fam.) = One does not teach one’s grandmother to suck
  eggs. (See _Remontrer_.)

    [The Greek equivalent was, “To teach an eagle to fly,” or “to
    teach a dolphin to swim.”--ZENOB. ii. 49.

    The Romans said, “Sus Minervam docet.” _Cf._ CICERO, _De
    Oratore_, ii. 57.]


Apprenti

  *_Apprenti n’est pas maître_ = One must not expect from a
  beginner the talent of an old hand; You must spoil before you
  spin.


Appui

  _Mur à hauteur d’appui_ = A wall breast high (so that one may
  lean against it).

  _Faites la proposition, j’irai à l’appui de la boule_ = You make
  the proposal, and I will support it.

    [This idiom comes from the game of bowls, when by hitting your
    partner’s ball you may drive it nearer the goal, though unable to
    approach yourself.]


Appuyer

  _Vous vous appuyez sur un roseau_ = You are trusting to a broken
  reed.


Après

  *_Après lui il faut tirer l’échelle_ = One cannot do better than
  he has; No one can come up to him in that; That takes the cake.

    [Comp. MOLIÈRE, _Médecin malgré lui_, ii. 1.]

  *_Jeter le manche après la cognée_ = To throw the helve after the
  hatchet; To give up in despair.

  *_Après nous le déluge_ = A short life and a merry one; We need
  not bother about what will happen after we are gone.

    [These words were attributed to Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764)
    in reply to those who remonstrated with her for her
    extravagance--“When I am gone, the deluge may come for all I
    care.” (See DESPREZ, _Essai sur la Marquise de Pompadour_, a
    preface to his _Mémoirs de Madame du Hausset_.) The same idea
    occurs in the Greek proverb quoted by Cicero (_De Finibus_, iii.
    19), “Ἐμοῦ θανόντος γαῖα μιχθήτω πυρί.” Milton suggests Tiberius as
    saying, “When I die, let the earth be rolled in flames.”--_Reason
    of Church Government_, i. 5.]


Araignée

  _Avoir une araignée dans le_ (or, _au_) _plafond_ = To have a bee
  in one’s bonnet.


Arbre

  *_Entre l’arbre et l’écorce il ne faut pas mettre le doigt_ = One
  must not interfere in other people’s quarrels.

    [This proverb has been travestied by Molière, who makes
    Sganarelle say: “Apprenez que Cicéron dit qu’entre l’arbre et le
    doigt il ne faut pas mettre l’écorce.”--_Le Médecin malgré lui_,
    i. 2.]

  _L’arbre ne tombe pas au premier coup_ = Everything requires time
  and exertion; Rome was not built in a day.

  _Quand l’arbre est tombé tout le monde court aux branches_ = When
  the tree falls every one goeth to it with his hatchet.

  _Il s’est toujours tenu au gros de l’arbre_ = He has always sided
  with the stronger side.


Arc

  _Débander l’arc ne guérit pas la plaie_ = To cease doing mischief
  does not undo the harm one has done.


Arçon

  _Être ferme sur les arçons_ = (lit.) To have a firm seat in the
  saddle; (fig.) Not to waver in one’s principles.

  _Il a vidé les arçons_ = He was unhorsed.


Argent

  _L’argent est un bon passe-partout_ = Gold goes in at any gate,
  except heaven.

      [“Amour fait moult
        Mais argent fait tout.”]

  _Être cousu d’argent_ = To be made of money; To be rolling in
  riches.

  _Il est chargé d’argent comme un crapaud de plumes_ = He is
  penniless.

  _Y aller bon jeu bon argent_ = To set about a thing in earnest.

  *_Point d’argent, point de Suisse_ = No money, no Swiss; No pay,
  no piper.

    [In the Middle Ages the Swiss were the chief mercenaries of
    Europe, and occasionally had to resort to severe measures to
    obtain their pay. Compare RACINE, _Plaideurs_, i. 1. One day when
    the Swiss were asking for their pay from the king the French
    Prime Minister said: “The money we have given these Swiss would
    pave a road from Paris to Basle.” To which the Swiss commander
    replied: “And the blood we have shed for France would fill a
    river from Basle to Paris!”]

  _Payer argent comptant_ = To pay ready money; To pay in hard cash.

    [Synonyms are: _En beaux deniers comptants_ or, _en espèces
    sonnantes et trébuchantes_.]

  _Prendre quelque chose pour argent comptant_ = To take something
  for gospel.

  _Je suis à court d’argent_ (fam. _à sec_) = I am short of money
  (_fam._ hard up, broke).

  *_Qui n’a pas argent en bourse, ait miel en bouche_ = He who has
  not silver in his purse should have honey on his tongue.

  *_Argent emprunté porte tristesse_ = He who goes a-borrowing goes
  a-sorrowing.


Arme

  _Représenter les armes de Bourges_ = To look stupid.

    [The arms of Bourges are an ass sitting in an armchair.]

  _Les armes sont journalières_ = Victory is fickle.


Arracher

  _On se l’arrache_ = (of persons) He is the rage; (of things)
  There is a regular scramble for it.


Arracheur

  _Mentir comme un arracheur de dents_ = To lie unblushingly; To
  lie like an epitaph.


Arranger

  _Comme vous voilà arrangé!_ = What a sight you look!

  _Je l’ai arrangé de la bonne manière_ = I gave him what he richly
  deserved.

  _Arrangez-vous_ = That is your business; Settle it among
  yourselves.


Arrêt

  _Mettre un officier aux arrêts_ = To put an officer under arrest.

  _Garder les arrêts_ = To keep to one’s quarters.

  _Lever les arrêts_ = To release from arrest.


Arriver

  _C’est un homme qui arrivera_ = He is sure to get on in the world.

  *_Un malheur n’arrive jamais seul_ = Misfortunes never come
  singly; It never rains but it pours.

  *_Cela arrive comme marée en carême_ = That comes just in the
  nick of time (lit. as _sea-fish_ in Lent). See _Carême_.


Article

  _Être à l’article de la mort_ (or, _à l’agonie_) = To be at
  death’s door.

    [Lat. _In articulo mortis._]


Assembler

  *_Qui se ressemble, s’assemble_ = Birds of a feather flock
  together; Like will to like.


Assiette

  _Il n’est pas dans son assiette_ = He is not in his normal state
  of mind; He is out of sorts; He is not up to the mark.

  _Son assiette dîne pour lui_ = He pays for his dinner whether he
  is present or not.

  _C’est un casseur d’assiettes_ = He is a swaggerer (a Mohock, in
  eighteenth century parlance).

  _C’est un pique-assiette_ = He is a parasite, a sponge.

  _L’assiette des impôts_ = The assessment of taxes.


Attache

  _Le pauvre homme est toujours (comme un chien) à l’attache_ =
  The poor man is a very slave, is compelled to work hard and
  constantly.


Attacher

  *_Attacher le grelot_ = To bell the cat.

  [LA FONTAINE, _Conseil tenu par les rats_. For an explanation of
  the phrase see _Grelot_.]


Attaquer

  *_Attaquer le taureau par les cornes_ = To seize the bull by the
  horns.


Atteinte

  _Porter atteinte (à l’honneur de)_ = To sully (the fair name of).

  _Porter atteinte (aux droits de)_ = To infringe (the rights of).


Atteler

  _C’est une charrette mal attelée_ = They are a badly-matched pair.


Attendre

  _Une question n’attendait pas l’autre_ = Question quickly
  followed after question.

  _Je m’y attendais_ = That is just what I expected.

  _Attendez-vous-y_ = You may depend upon it; (_or_, ironic.) Don’t
  you wish you may get it!

  *_Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre_ = Everything comes to
  the man who waits; Time and patience change the mulberry leaf
  into a silk gown.

  _On peut s’attendre à tout, surtout à l’inattendu_ = One may
  expect anything, especially the unexpected.


Attraper

  _Attrape qui peut!_ = Scramble for it!

  _Attrape!_ = 1. Catch! 2. Take that! 3. It serves you right.


Audience

  _Audience à huis clos_ = A case heard _in camera_.


Aune

  _Les hommes ne se mesurent pas à l’aune_ = Men are not to be
  judged by their size.

    [M. Thiers, who was very short, used to say: “Les liqueurs
    précieuses se conservent dans de petits flacons” = Rich wares in
    small parcels.]

  _Savoir ce qu’en vaut l’aune_ = To know a thing to one’s cost.

  _Mesurer les autres à son aune_ = To measure other people’s peck
  by one’s own bushel.

  _Tout le long de l’aune_ = By the yard; Plenty of it.


Aurore

  *_Travail d’aurore amène l’or_ = Early to bed and early to rise,
  makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

    [The late H. Stacy Marks, R.A., parodied this: “Early to bed and
    early to rise, No use--unless you advertise.”

    The German equivalent is, “Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund”--The
    morning hour has gold in its mouth.

    This is also found in Italian: “Le ore del mattino hanno l’oro in
    bocca.”]


Aussitôt

  _Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait_ = No sooner said than done.


Autant

  _Cela est fini ou autant vaut_ = It is as good as finished.

  *_Autant de têtes, autant d’avis_ = So many men, so many minds.

    [“Quot homines, tot sententiæ.”--TERENCE, _Phormio_, ii. 4. Also:
    “Autant de gens, autant de sens.”]

  _Autant lui en pend au nez_ (or, _à l’oreille_) = He will get
  just the same (in bad sense).

  _Autant vaut être mordu d’un chien que d’une chienne_ = One evil
  is as bad as the other.

  _Autant dire mille francs_ = We may as well say £40. (See
  _Aller_.)

  _Autant vaut celui qui tient que celui qui écorche_ = The
  receiver is as bad as the thief.

    [A hexameter of Phocylides says: ἀμφότεροι κλῶπες, καὶ ὁ
    δεξάμενος καὶ ὁ κλέψας.]

  _C’est toujours autant de gagné_ = That’s always so much to the
  good. (See _Prendre_.)


Autel

  *_Qui sert à l’autel doit vivre de l’autel_ = Every man must live
  by his profession.

  _Il en prendrait sur l’autel_ = He would rob a church.


Autour

  _Tourner autour du pot_ = To beat about the bush.

    [German: “Wie die Katze um den Brei laufen.”]

  _Il ne faut pas confondre autour avec alentour_ = One must not
  mix up two things entirely different.

    [The _gamin_ of Paris adds to this saying: “ni intelligence avec
    gendarme.”]


Autre

  _Comme dit l’autre_ = As the saying is.

    [Or: _Comme on dit._]

  _Nous parlions de choses et d’autres_ = We were speaking of
  different things.

  _C’est tout un ou tout autre_ = It is either one thing or the
  other.

  _L’un vaut l’autre_ = One is as bad as the other.

  _Il en sait bien d’autres_ = He knows more than one trick.

  _C’est une autre paire de manches_ = That is quite another thing;
  That is a horse of another colour.

  _Il n’en fait pas d’autres_ = That is always the way with him; He
  is at it again.

  _Allez conter cela à d’autres_ = Tell that to the marines.

    [Often shortened to “_À d’autres_.”]

  _Nous autres Anglais sommes très réservés_ = We English are very
  reserved.

    [“Nous autres ignorants estions perdus si ce livre ne nous eust
    relevé du bourbier.” MONTAIGNE, _Essais_, ii. 4, speaking of
    Amyot’s translation of Plutarch.]

  *_Autres temps, autres mœurs_ = Manners change with the times.

  _J’en ai vu bien d’autres_ = I have outlived worse things than
  that.


Avaler

  _Faire avaler des couleuvres à quelqu’un_ = To say very
  humiliating things to a man who, on account of his inferior
  position, is obliged to put up with them; To make any one swallow
  a bitter pill.


Avancer

  _Votre montre avance de dix minutes_ = Your watch is ten minutes
  fast.

    [Compare: “Votre montre retarde de dix minutes” = Your watch is
    ten minutes slow.]

  _Cela m’avance bien!_ (ironic.) = What good is that to me?

  _Vous voilà bien avancé!_ (ironic.) = Here you are in a pretty
  mess! What good have you gained by that?

  _Je n’en suis pas plus avancé_ = I am none the wiser (_or_,
  nearer).


Avant

  _Vous allez trop avant_ = You are going too far.

  _Ils sont arrivés bien avant dans la nuit_ = They arrived very
  late at night.


Avare

  *_A père avare, enfant prodigue_ = A miserly father has a
  spendthrift son.

    [“A femme avare, galant escroc.” LA FONTAINE, _Contes_, ii.]


Avec

  _Avec ça!_ (colloquial) = Nonsense!


Averti

  *_Un bon averti_ (or, _prévenu_) _en vaut deux_ = A man well
  warned is twice a man; Forewarned, forearmed.


Aveu

  _C’est un homme sans aveu_ = He is a vagabond.

    [In feudal times a vassal had to make an _avowal_ to his lord of
    the lands he held, placing them under his lord’s protection. A
    man who had no property could not do so.]

  *_Rien ne soulage comme un aveu sincère_ = Open confession is
  good for the soul.


Aveugle

  _Crier comme un aveugle_ (_qui a perdu son bâton_ or, _son
  chien_) = To yell with all one’s might.

    [A variant is: _Crier comme un sourd_, although deaf people
    generally speak very quietly.]


Avis

  _Il est toujours du bon avis_ = His opinion is always good.

  _Il y a jour d’avis_ = There is no hurry; There is plenty of time
  for consideration.

  *_Avis au lecteur_ = A note to the reader; A word to the wise;
  _Verb. sap._

  _(Il) m’est avis qu’il cherche à vous tromper_ = Somehow I think
  he wants to deceive you.

  *_Deux avis valent mieux qu’un_ = Two heads are better than one.

    [The Greeks said: εἷς ἀνήρ, οὐδεὶς ἀνήρ = One man, no man.]

  _Sauf avis contraire_ = Unless I hear (_or_, write) to the
  contrary.


Aviser

  _C’est un avisé compère_ = He is a cunning fellow.

  _On y avisera_ = We will see to it.

  _Il ne s’avise jamais de rien_ = He never thinks of anything; He
  has no initiative.

  _On ne s’avise jamais de tout_ = One never thinks of everything.

  _Ne vous en avisez pas_ = You had better not.

  _Un fou avise bien un sage_ = Good advice often comes whence we
  do not expect it.

  _Un verre de vin avise bien un homme_ = A glass of wine puts wit
  into a man.


Avoir

    [The French use _avoir_ frequently where we use _to be_, as
    in--_Avoir faim_, _soif_, _chaud_, _froid_, _raison_, _tort_,
    _pitié_, _honte_, _peur_, _soin_, _besoin_, _mal_ = To be hungry,
    thirsty, hot, cold, right, wrong, sorry, ashamed, afraid,
    careful, in want, ill.]

  _J’aurai raison de son entêtement_ = I will master his obstinacy.

  _J’en ai bien envie_ = I should like it very much.

  _Elle n’a pour tout bien que sa beauté_ = She has nothing but her
  beauty in her favour; Her face is her fortune.

  _J’en ai pour deux heures_ = I shall be two hours over it.

  _J’en ai pour six mois à m’ennuyer_ = I am looking forward to
  (_or_, in for) six months’ boredom.

  _Vous avez la parole_ = It is your turn to speak.

  _Vous avez la main_ = It’s your turn to play (at cards).

  _Vous avez le dé_ = It’s your turn to play (at dice).

  _Il ne fera cela qu’autant que vous l’aurez pour agréable_ = He
  will never think of doing it if you object to it.

  _Avoir de quoi_ (pop.) = To be in easy circumstances.

  _J’ai de quoi payer_ = I have enough money to pay.

  _Il y a de quoi_ = (lit.) There is good reason; (ironic.) There
  is no reason.

  _Je vous demande pardon._--_Il n’y a pas de quoi_ = I beg your
  pardon.--Pray do not mention it.

  _J’ai beau dire, il en fera à sa tête_ = It is of no use my
  talking, he will do as he likes.

  _C’est un homme que j’ai dans la main_ = He is a man I hold in
  the hollow of my hand, _i.e._ I can make him do what I like.

  _Qu’avez vous? J’ai que je m’ennuie_ = What is the matter with
  you? The matter is that I am bored to death.

  _Vous en aurez_ = You will catch it.

  _Contre qui en avez-vous?_ = Against whom have you a grudge?

  _Il n’est rien de tel que d’en avoir_ = There is nothing like
  money to make one respected.

  _Quand il n’y en a plus, il y en a encore_ = The thing is
  inexhaustible; It is easy to get more.

  _Il n’y a qu’à pleuvoir_ = It may happen to rain; What if it
  rains?

  _Je vais lui dire cela._--_Non, il n’aurait qu’à se fâcher_ = I
  will tell him that.--No, don’t, he might get angry.

  _C’est un homme comme il n’y en a point_ = He is a man who has
  not his match; There is no equal to him.


Avril

                            _En avril
                  Ne te découvre pas d’un fil_
                  = Change not a clout
                    Till May be out.

                             [En mai
                    Fais ce qu’il te plaît.]



B.


B

  _Être marqué au b_ = To be either hump-backed, one-eyed, lame, or
  a stutterer.

    [i.e. _bossu_, _borgne_, _boiteux_, _ou bègue_.]


Bâcler

  _Bâcler son ouvrage_ = To do one’s work quickly and badly; To
  “polish off” (_or_, scamp) one’s work.

    [Also: _travailler à dépêche-compagnon_.]


Badiner

  *“_On ne badine pas avec l’amour_” = Love is not to be trifled
  with.

    [This is the title of one of Alfred de Musset’s _Proverbes_. See
    _Porte_.]


Bagage

  _Quel est le bagage de cet auteur?_ = What works has that author
  written? What is that author’s output?

  _Plier bagage_ = To pack up and be off.


Bagatelle

  _Bagatelles que tout cela_ = That is all stuff and nonsense.

  _Vive la bagatelle!_ = Away with care!


Bague

  _Cette place est une bague au doigt_ = That position is a
  sinecure.

    [_C’est une bague au doigt_ is said of any advantageous
    possession of which one can dispose easily. Quitard derives it
    from the custom of the seller of land giving to the purchaser as
    his title a ring on which both had sworn.]


Baguette

  _Mener les gens à la baguette_ = To rule men with a rod of iron;
  To be a martinet.


Baiser

  _Il y a toujours l’un qui baise et l’autre qui tend la joue_ =
  Love is never exactly reciprocal.
  [SHAKESPEARE, _Troilus and Cressida_, iv. 5.]


Baisser

  _Baisser l’oreille_ = To look confused (_or_, sheepish.)

    [From the action of dogs when expecting a beating.]

  _Ma vue baisse_ = I am getting short-sighted; My sight is failing.

    [In this sense _baisser_ means to weaken, and is also used of
    moral and intellectual qualities, as: _le sens moral a baissé_,
    _ma mémoire baisse_.]

  _Il a donné tête baissée dans le piège (panneau)_ = He ran
  headlong into the trap.

  _Je lui ai fait baisser les yeux_ = I stared him out of
  countenance.

  _Il n’a qu’à se baisser pour en prendre_ = He has only to stoop
  and pick it up; He has merely to ask for it to get it.


Balai

  *_Il n’est rien de tel que balai neuf_ = A new broom sweeps clean.

  _On lui a donné du balai_ = They gave him the sack (_i.e._
  dismissed him).

  _Donner un coup de balai_ = To make a clean sweep.


Balance

  _Faire pencher la balance_ = To turn the scale.


Balancer

  _Il n’y a pas à balancer_ = We must not hesitate, but act.


Balle

  _Une balle perdue_ = A wasted shot; A useless effort.

  _Une balle morte_ = A spent ball.

  _A vous la balle_ = It is now your turn to act.

  _Renvoyer la balle_ = To return the compliment.

  _Prendre la balle au bond_ = Not to miss an opportunity; To take
  time by the forelock; To make hay while the sun shines.

    [Also: _Prendre l’occasion aux cheveux._
      Compare:

        “Rem tibi quam nosces, aptam dimittere noli;
        Fronte capillata post est Occasio calva.”
                                        CATO, _Distichs_, ii. 26.

        “Her lockes, that loathly were and hoarie grey,
          Grew all afore, and loosely hong unrold,
        But all behind was bald, and worne away
          That none thereof could ever taken hold.”
                              SPENSER, _Faerie Queene_, ii. 4, 4.

      “Occasion turneth a bald noddle after she hath presented her
      locks in front and no hold taken.”
                                            BACON, _Essays_, xxi.

        “Remember the old adage and make use o’t,
        Occasion’s bald behind.”
                                   MASSINGER, _Guardian_, iv. 1.]

  _Il s’en acquittera bien, c’est un enfant de la balle_ = He will
  do it well, he is his father’s son.

    [Originally this was applied to children of tennis-players, but
    now to all who follow the profession of their fathers.]


Ballon

  _Il lança un ballon d’essai avant de produire son grand ouvrage_
  = He sent out a feeler before publishing his great work.


Ban

  _Le roi convoqua le ban et l’arrière-ban_ = The king assembled
  all his dependants.

    [_Le ban_ were the king’s direct vassals, such as earls, barons,
    and knights; _l’arrière-ban_ were the king’s indirect vassals,
    or the vassals of vassals. “A proclamation whereby all (except
    some privileged officers and citizens) that hold their lands
    of the Crowne, are summoned to meet at a certaine place, there
    to attend the King whithersoever and against whomsoever he
    goes.”--COTGRAVE.]


Bande

  _Faire bande à part_ = Not to mix with other people.

    [In Parliamentary parlance, “to form a cave” (of Adullam).]


Banquette

  _Jouer devant les banquettes_ = (of actors) To play to empty
  benches.


Barbe

  _Se faire la barbe_ = To shave.

  _Rire dans sa barbe_ = To laugh in one’s sleeve.

    [See _Cape_. This is used always of men, whereas _rire sous cape_
    is used chiefly of women.]

  _Je le lui dirai à sa barbe_ = I will say it to his face.

  _Je lui ferai la barbe quand il voudra_ = I will show him who is
  master whenever he likes.


Barre

  _Vous arrivez trop tard, la barre est tirée_ = You are too late,
  the line is drawn, the list is closed.

  _Je ne fais que toucher barres_ = I am off again immediately.

  _J’ai barres sur lui_ = I have an advantage over him; I have the
  whip-hand (the pull) over him.

    [Expressions taken from the game of _barres_, or prisoner’s base.]


Bas

  *_A porte basse, passant courbé_ = One must bow to circumstances.

  _Il se retira l’oreille basse_ = He went away with his tail
  between his legs.

  _Les vainqueurs firent main basse sur les biens des habitants_ =
  The victors pillaged the town.

  _Rester chapeau bas_ = To stand hat in hand.

  _Il m’a traité de haut en bas_ = He treated me contemptuously.


Bât

  _Vous ne savez pas où le bât le blesse_ = You do not know where
  the shoe pinches him.

    [“Je sçay mieux où le bas me blesse.” _Maistre Pierre Pathelin_,
    l. 1357. Bât = pack-saddle. Compare the German: _Jeder weiss am
    besten wo ihn der Schuh drückt._

    The phrase first appears in PLUTARCH’S _Life of Æmilius Paullus_.
    A certain Roman having forsaken his wife, her friends fell out
    with him and asked what fault he found in her; was she not
    faithful and fair, and had she not borne him many beautiful
    children? He replied by putting forth his foot and saying: “Is
    not this a goodly shoe? Is it not finely made, and is it not new?
    And yet I dare say there is not one of you can tell where it
    pinches me.”]


Bataillon

  _Inconnu au bataillon_ (fam.) = I don’t know him; No one knows
  him.


Bataille

  _C’était une bataille rangée_ = It was a pitched battle.

  _Cet argument est son cheval de bataille_ = That argument is his
  stronghold; That is his great argument.


Bateau

  _Arriver en trois bateaux_ = To come with great fuss, in great
  state, with unnecessary ceremony.

    [This expression is usually used sarcastically; it originates
    from great personages or rich merchant-men being accompanied by
    ships of war. Compare RABELAIS, i. 16, and LA FONTAINE, _Fables_,
    ix. 3. _Le léopard et le singe qui gagnent de l’argent à la
    foire._]


Bâton

  _Il travaille à bâtons rompus_ = He works by fits and starts.

  _Conversation à bâtons rompus_ = Desultory talk.

  _Il cherchait à nous mettre des bâtons dans les roues_ = He tried
  to put a spoke in our wheel.

  _Le tour du bâton_ = Perquisites, illicit profits.

  _Ce sera mon bâton de vieillesse_ = He will be my support
  (consolation) in my old age.


Battre

  _Il lui a battu froid_ = He gave him the cold shoulder.

    [Comp. “Majorum ne quis amicus frigore te feriat.”--HORACE,
    _Sat._, ii. 1.]

  _Battre la campagne_ = 1. (lit.) To scour the country. 2. (fig.)
  To talk nonsense. 3. (of invalids) To wander. 4. To beat about
  the bush.

  _Battre la breloque (berloque)_ = To talk nonsense.

  _Battre le pavé_ = 1. To loaf about. 2. To wander about in search
  for work.

  _Tout battant neuf_ = All brand new.

  _Battre le chien devant le loup_ = To pretend to be angry with
  one person to deceive another.

  _Avoir les yeux battus_ = To look tired about the eyes.

  _La fête battait son plein_ = The entertainment was at its
  height.

  _Battre quelqu’un à plate couture_ = To beat some one hollow.

    [Literally, to beat some one so hard and thoroughly, as to
    flatten the seams (_coutures_) of his coat.]

  *_Les battus payent l’amende_ = The weakest go to the wall; Those
  who lose pay.

  _L’un bat les buissons et l’autre prend les oiseaux_ = One does
  the work and the other reaps the advantage; One man starts the
  game and another kills it.

  *_Autant vaut bien battu que mal battu_ = As well be hanged for a
  sheep as a lamb; In for a penny, in for a pound. (See _Chien_.)


Baume

  _Je n’ai pas foi dans son baume_ = I have no faith in his plan.


Bavette

  _Quand les femmes sont ensemble, elles taillent des bavettes
  à n’en plus finir_ = When women get together they indulge in
  endless gossip.


Beau

  _Coucher à la belle étoile_ = To sleep out of doors.

  _Déchirer quelqu’un à belles dents_ = To criticise some one
  mercilessly; To tear a person’s reputation to shreds.

  _Il fera beau quand je retournerai chez lui_ = It will be a very
  fine day when I go to his house again (_i.e._ I shall never go).

  _Voir tout en beau_ = To see everything through rose-coloured
  spectacles. (See _Noir_.)

  _Faire le beau_ = (of dogs) To beg.

  _Il y a beau temps que je ne vous ai (pas) vu_ = I have not
  seen you for many a day.

  _J’en entends de belles sur votre compte_ = I hear nice goings-on
  of you.

  _Il en a fait de belles_ = He played nice tricks (_ironic_).

  _Il vous en conte de belles_ = He is telling you fine tales; He
  is taking you in finely.

  _Vous me la donnez_ (or, _baillez_) _belle_ (ironic.) = A pretty
  tale you are telling me; Aren’t you stuffing me up nicely?

  _Ce que vous proposez est bel et bon, mais je n’en ferai rien_ =
  What you propose is all very fine, but I shall do no such thing.

  _Être dans de beaux draps_ = To be in a pretty pickle (_ironic_).

  _Vous l’avez échappé belle_ = You have had a narrow escape (_or_,
  shave).

  _Il a beau parler, il ne me convaincra pas_ = It is of no use for
  him to speak, he will not convince me; Let him say what he will,
  he will not convince me.

    [The origin of this use of _beau_ is obscure. Larousse suggests
    the origin may be in the idea of having a _fine_ field for
    operations, which will be of no value, as our: “it is all very
    _fine_ for me to speak.”]

  _Il recommença de plus belle_ = He began again worse than ever.

  _Vous avez beau jeu_ = 1. (lit.) You have good cards. 2. (fig.)
  You have the advantage.

  *_La belle plume fait le bel oiseau_ = Fine feathers make fine
  birds.

  _Se mettre au beau_ = (of the weather) To clear up.

  _Jouer la belle_ = To play the rubber (or third game, to see
  which of the players is the conqueror).


Beaucoup

  *_Beaucoup de bruit pour rien_ = Much ado about nothing.


Beauté

  _La beauté ne se mange pas en salade_ = Beauty does not fill the
  larder; Prettiness makes no pottage.


Bec

  _Il m’a tenu le bec dans l’eau_ = He kept me in suspense.

  _C’est un homme qui ne se laisse pas passer la plume par le bec_
  = He is a man not easily taken in.

    [Clerks bet a newcomer that he cannot write with a pen in his
    mouth. On his endeavouring to do so, they pull the pen sharply
    through his lips, thus inking his face. “Qu’on me fasse passer la
    plume par le bec.” MOLIÈRE, _Les Femmes Savantes_, iii. 6.]

  _C’est un blanc bec_ = He is a beardless boy, greenhorn.

  “_Souffrez que je lui montre son bec jaune_” = Allow me to show
  him he is a silly goose.

    [MOLIÈRE, _Le Malade Imaginaire_, iii. 17. _Bec jaune_ or
    _béjaune_ is an allusion to young birds whose beaks are generally
    yellow.]

  _Il a bec et ongles_ = He knows how to defend himself.

  _Avoir bon bec_ (fam.) = To be a chatterbox; To speak well; To be
  able to answer back.

    [“Il n’est bon bec que de Paris” is the refrain of Villon’s
    “Ballade des Femmes de Paris.”]


Bécasse

  _C’est une bécasse_ = She is a goose.


Bêcher

  _Bêcher quelqu’un_ (fam.) = To pick a person to pieces.


Bénéfice

  _Sous_ (or, _par_) _bénéfice d’inventaire_ = 1. (lit. in a legal
  sense) Without prejudice. 2. (fig.) Only to a certain point,
  conditionally, for what it is worth, with a pinch of salt.

    [_e.g._ Il faut croire ce conte sous bénéfice d’inventaire. The
    origin of the legal phrase arose from the fact that an inheritor
    is liable for the debts of the deceased only in proportion to his
    inheritance, which is verified by the inventory. Thus, if the
    debts are more than the inheritance, a sole heir would decline to
    inherit at all.

    Compare:

      “Un païen, qui sentait quelque peu le fagot
      Et qui croyait en Dieu, pour user de ce mot,
          Par bénéfice d’inventaire.”
                                  LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iv. 19.]

  _Il faut prendre le bénéfice avec les charges_ = One must take
  the rough with the smooth.


Bercer

  _J’ai été bercé de cela_ = I have heard that from my cradle.


Berger

  _Bon berger tond mais n’écorche pas_ = We may use but not abuse
  our subordinates.


Berlue

  _Avoir la berlue_ (fam.) = To see things which do not exist; To
  have a wrong idea of anything.


Besogne

  _Aimer la besogne faite_ = To hate work; To like to get work over.

  _Abattre de la besogne_ = To get through a great deal of work.


Besoin

  *_On connaît les amis au besoin_ = A friend in need is a friend
  indeed. (See _Ami_.)

  *_On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi_ = A mouse may be
  of service to a lion.

  [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, ii. 11.]


Bête

  *_Morte la bête, mort le venin_ = Dead dogs cannot bite; Dead men
  tell no tales.

  _Cet homme est ma bête noire (mon cauchemar)_ = That man is my
  pet aversion; I hate the very sight of that man.

  _Pas si bête_ = Not so green, foolish.

  _Il est bête à manger du foin_ = He is a perfect idiot.

    [Also: _bête comme (un) chou, une oie, un pot, une cruche_.]

  *_Qui se fait bête, le loup le mange_ = If one is too confiding,
  one is imposed upon. (See _Brebis_.)

  _C’est une bonne bête_ (or, _la bête du bon Dieu_) = He is a
  good-natured fellow (not over-clever).

  _Une bête à bon Dieu_ (or, _bête à Dieu_) = A ladybird.

  _Plus fin que lui n’est pas bête_ = It would take a smart man to
  deceive him.


Beurre

  _On ne peut manier le beurre qu’on ne se graisse les doigts_ =
  One cannot touch pitch without soiling one’s fingers; If you have
  to do with money, some will stick.

    [“But I think they that touch pitch will be defiled.” _Much Ado
    about Nothing_, iii. 3.]

  _Il faut faire son beurre_ = One must make a profit; One must
  feather one’s nest.

  _Ça entre comme dans du beurre_ = (fig.) It is as easy as
  anything.


Bien

  *_Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien_ = Leave well alone.

  _Grand bien vous fasse_ = Much good may it do you.

  _Le navire a péri corps et biens_ = The ship went down with all
  hands on board.

  _Il a du bien au soleil_ = He has landed property.

  _Ils sont séparés de corps et de biens_ = They have had a
  judicial separation (_a mensa et thoro_).

  _Tout va bien_ = It is all right.

  _C’est bien fait_ = It serves you (him, her) right.

  _C’est bien lui_ = That’s he all over.

  _On y est très bien_ = The accommodation there is very good.

  _Je suis très bien ici_ = I am quite comfortable here.

  *_Qui est bien qu’il s’y tienne_ = Rest content where thou art;
  Better dry bread at home than roast meat abroad.

  _Cet homme est très bien_ = He is a gentleman.

  _Mener une entreprise à bien_ = To bring an affair to a
  successful issue.

  _Il est sur son bien-dire_ = He is on his best behaviour; He
  minds his p’s and q’s.

  _Nous voilà bien_ (ironic.) = Here is a nice state of things.

  _Il ne faut attendre son bien que de soi-même_ = Always rely on
  yourself.

  _Le bien lui vient en dormant_ = He becomes rich without any
  trouble.

  _Tant bien que mal_ = So-so; Neither well nor ill; After a
  fashion. (See _Tant_.)


Bientôt

  _Cela est bientôt dit_ = That is easier said than done.


Bile

  _Ne pas se faire de bile_ (fam.) = To take things easily.


Billet

  _Un billet de faire part_ = A letter by which a birth, marriage,
  or death is made known to friends.

    [Cards are used in England for marriages and deaths.]

  _Un billet doux_ = A love letter.

  *_Ah! le bon billet qu’a La Châtre_ = Promises are like
  pie-crust, made to be broken.

    [The Marquis de la Châtre was the lover of the celebrated Ninon
    de l’Enclos (1616-1706). When he was obliged to go off to the
    wars, he made her write him a letter promising to remain faithful
    to him. On taking another lover, she remembered the letter
    she had written, and uttered these words, which have become
    proverbial for any worthless promise.]


Blanc

  _J’ai passé une nuit blanche_ = I have not slept a wink all night.

  _Dire tantôt blanc, tantôt noir_ = To say first one thing and
  then another.

  _Se manger le blanc des yeux_ = To have a furious quarrel.

      *_Rouge le soir et blanc le matin,
      C’est la journée du pèlerin_ =

      Red at night is the shepherd’s delight,
      Red in the morning, the shepherd’s warning.
      Evening red and morning gray
      Are two sure signs of a fine day.


Blé

  _Manger son blé en herbe_ = To anticipate one’s revenue.


Bleu

  _J’en suis tout bleu_ (fam.) = Well! I _am_ surprised.


Bloc

  _En bloc_ = In the mass, in the lump.


Boire

  _Plus il boit, plus il a soif_ = Ever drunk, ever dry.

  *_Qui a bu n’a point de secrets_ = When wine sinks, words swim;
  _In vino veritas;_ Drink washes off the daub, and discovers the
  man; What the sober man has in his heart, the drunkard has on his
  lips.

    [“La vérité sort mieux d’un tonneau que d’un puits.” AUGIER,
    _L’Aventurière_, ii. 4.]

  *_Le vin est tiré, il faut le boire_ = You have gone too far now
  to draw back; In for a penny, in for a pound.

    [At the siege of Douai in 1667, Louis XIV. found himself
    unexpectedly under a heavy cannonade from the besieged city. In
    compliance with the entreaties of those around him, who urged
    him not to risk so important a life, he was about to retire in
    a somewhat unsoldierly and unkingly fashion, when M. de Charost
    rode up and whispered this proverb in his ear. The king remained
    exposed to the fire of the enemy for a suitable time, and held in
    higher honour the counsellor who had saved him from an unseemly
    retreat.--TRENCH. “Le vin est tiré, Monsieur, il faut le boire”
    is a line in REGNARD’S _Joueur_, iii. 2.]

  _Ce n’est pas la mer à boire_ = That is no very difficult matter.

  _Il boit du lait_ (fam.) = He is satisfied, happy.

  *_Qui a bu boira_ = Habit is second nature; If you take to the
  habit of drinking you cannot get rid of it.

  [“Et quiconque a joué, toujours joue et jouera.” REGNARD, _Le
  Joueur_, iv. 1.]

  _Boire comme un trou (une éponge)_ = To drink like a fish.

  _Boire un bouillon_ (lit.) = To swallow water (when swimming); To
  swallow a bitter pill; To lose a lot of money.

  _Boire sec_ = To drink hard; To drink wine neat (without adding
  water).

  _Boire le calice jusqu’à la lie_ = To drink the cup to the dregs.

  _Il boirait la mer et ses poissons_ = Nothing can assuage his
  thirst.

  _Croyez cela et buvez de l’eau_ (fam.) = Do not believe that, I
  know it is not true; Surely you are not simple enough to believe
  that!

  *_Qui fait la faute la boit_ = As you have brewed, so you must
  drink; As you have sown, so you must reap; As you make your bed,
  so you must lie on it.

  _Boire à tire-larigot_ = To drink excessively.

    [The origin of this expression is obscure. Larousse gives the
    following explanation, adding that it was probably invented to
    explain the saying, as it can be found in no ancient author.
    “Odo Rigaud was formerly Archbishop of Rouen, and in celebration
    of his appointment he had a huge bell cast for his cathedral in
    1282. This bell was called after him _la Rigaud_. After ringing
    this bell, the bellringers required much wine to refresh them;
    hence _boire à tire larigot_, or _la Rigaud_, meant to drink
    like one who has been ringing a heavy bell.” Littré favours the
    derivation from _larigot_, or _arigot_, a little flute, and then
    the expression would be analogous to _flûter_, a popular word
    for _boire_. But probably the correct explanation is that of
    Sainte-Palaye, who says that a later meaning of _arigot_ was the
    _tap_ of a cask, so that this being pulled out, one could drink
    more without any delay.]


Bois

  _On verra de quel bois je me chauffe_ = They will see what stuff
  I am made of.

  _Faire flèche de tout bois_ = To use every means to accomplish an
  end; To leave no stone unturned.

  _Il ne savait plus de quel bois faire flèche_ = He did not know
  which way to turn. (See _Saint_ and _Pied_.)

  _Il est du bois dont on fait les flûtes_ = He is of an easy,
  pliable disposition (_i.e._ like the flexible reeds of which
  flutes were originally made).

  _Nous avons trouvé visage de bois_ = We found nobody at home;
  “We found the oak sported.”

  _Le bois tortu fait le feu droit_ = The end justifies the means.


Boiteux

  _Il ne faut pas clocher devant les boiteux_ = One must not remind
  people of their infirmities. (See _Corde_.)


Bombarder

  _Il vient d’être bombardé membre de ce club_ = He has just been
  pitchforked into that club (over the heads of more deserving
  people).


Bon

  _Il la fait courte et bonne_ = He is having a short life and a
  merry one.

  *_A quelque chose malheur est bon_ = It is an ill wind that blows
  nobody any good.

  _Dites-moi une bonne fois pourquoi vous êtes mécontent_ = Tell me
  once and for all why you are dissatisfied.

  _A quoi bon lui dire cela?_ = What is the good of telling him
  that?

  _A la bonne heure!_ = 1. Well done! 2. That is something like! 3.
  At last! 4. Capital!

  _Il n’est pas bon à jeter aux chiens_ = He is good for nothing.

  _Il a bon pied, bon œil_ = He is sound, wind and limb; He is hale
  and hearty.

  _Faire bonne mine à mauvais jeu_ = To put a good face on
  misfortune; To make the best of a bad job.

    [Also: _Faire contre fortune bon cœur._]

  *_A bon jour, bonne œuvre_ = The better the day, the better the
  deed.

  _Tout lui est bon_ = All is fish that comes to his net.

  _Si bon vous semble_ = If you think fit.

  *_Les bons comptes font les bons amis_ = Short reckonings make
  long friends.

  *_A bon vin point d’enseigne_ = Good wine needs no bush. (See
  _Vin_.)

  _Une bonne fuite vaut mieux qu’une mauvaise attente_ = Discretion
  is the better part of valour.

  _En voilà une bonne!_ (i.e. _plaisanterie_); _Elle est bonne,
  celle-là!_ = Oh! what a good joke! “What a cram!” That’s rather a
  tall story.

  _Est-ce qu’il est parti pour tout de bon?_ = Has he gone for good?


Bond

  _Faire faux bond_ = 1. To deceive. 2. To fail to keep an
  appointment.

  _Il ne va que par sauts et par bonds_ = He only works by fits and
  starts.

  _Tant de bond que de volée_ = By hook or by crook.


Bonheur

  _Au petit bonheur!_ = I will chance it!

  _Par bonheur_ = As luck would have it.


Bonhomme

  _Petit bonhomme vit encore_ = There’s life in the old dog yet.

    [An expression derived from a game which consisted in lighting a
    large roll of paper and passing it round a circle of people, each
    one repeating these words. The roll would often appear to be out,
    when a vigorous swirl would fan it again into a flame.]


Boniment

  _Faiseur de boniment_ (pop.) = A cheap-jack, clap-trap speaker.

    [_Bonir_ = to talk like clowns at a fair.]


Bonjour

  _C’est simple comme bonjour_ = It is as easy as kiss your hand.


Bonnet

  *_C’est bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet_ = It is six of one and
  half-a-dozen of the other.

  _C’est un des gros bonnets_ (or, _légumes_) _de l’endroit_ = He
  is one of the bigwigs of the place.

  _Il a la tête près du bonnet_ = He is quick-tempered, easily
  ruffled.

  _Il a mis son bonnet de travers_ = He is in a bad temper; He got
  out of bed the wrong side.

    [Also: _Il s’est levé du mauvais côté_ (or, _pied_).]

  _Jeter son bonnet par dessus les moulins_ (of women) = To throw
  off all restraint; Not to care a straw for what people may think
  of your bad conduct.

  _Ce sont deux têtes dans un bonnet_ = They are hand and glove
  together.

  _Être triste_ (_gai_, ironic.) _comme un bonnet de nuit_ = To be
  as dull as ditchwater; To be in the dumps.

    [Also: _Gai comme une porte de prison._]

  _Il a pris cela sous son bonnet_ = 1. He invented it. 2. He took
  it upon himself.

  _Ses collègues opinent du bonnet_ = His colleagues agree with
  what he says (without speaking). (See _Opiner_.)


Borgne

  *“_Dans le royaume des aveugles les borgnes sont rois_” = Among
  the blind, the one-eyed is king.

    [The quotation comes from J. J. ROUSSEAU’S _Confessions_, Part
    i., Bk. v.]


Borne

  _Il est planté là comme une borne_ = He stands there like a post.


Borner

  _Il faut savoir se borner_ = One must place limits on one’s
  desires.

    [“_Qui ne sait se borner ne sut jamais écrire._”
                                     BOILEAU, _Art Poétique_, i.]


Bossu

  _Rire comme un bossu_ = To split one’s sides with laughter.


Botte

  _Il a mis du foin dans ses bottes_ = He has feathered his nest;
  He has taken care of number one.

  _Il est haut comme ma botte_ = He is a mere sixpennyworth of
  halfpence; He is very short.

  _A propos de bottes_ = With reference to nothing in particular.


Bouc

  _C’est le bouc émissaire_ = He is the scapegoat.


Bouche

  _Faire la bouche en cœur_ = To try and look amiable; To put on a
  captivating look; To purse up one’s lips.

  _Cet argument me ferma la bouche_ = That argument was a poser for
  me; I could not reply to that.

  _Il y en avait à bouche que veux-tu_ = There was a plentiful
  supply of it.

  _Je garde cela pour la bonne bouche_ = I am keeping that for the
  last.

    [_Une bonne bouche_ = A tit-bit.]

  _Il prend sur sa bouche pour aider ces gens_ = He stints himself
  to help those people.

  _Faire la petite bouche_ = To be dainty; To have a small
  appetite; To be hard to please.

  _Bouche close (cousue)!_ = Not a word, mind! “Mum’s the word.”

  _La bouche fendue jusqu’aux oreilles_ = A mouth stretching from
  ear to ear.

  _Être sur sa bouche_ = To be an epicure.


Bouchée

  _Mettre les bouchées doubles_ = To eat quickly; To hurry.


Boule

  _Perdre la boule_ (pop.) = To lose one’s head; Not to know what
  one is doing. (See _Tramontane_.)


Bourgeois

  _Les officiers étaient en bourgeois_ (or, _en civil_) = The
  officers were in plain clothes, in mufti.

  _Elle fait une bonne cuisine bourgeoise_ = She is a good plain
  cook.

  _Je prends mes repas dans une pension bourgeoise_ = I board at a
  private boarding-house.


Bourse

  *_Selon ta bourse gouverne ta bouche_ = Cut your coat according
  to your cloth.

      [“Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse;
        Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.”
                                              BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.]

  _Faire bon marché de sa bourse_ = To say a thing has cost less
  than it has.

  _Obtenir une bourse au lycée_ = To gain an exhibition (_or_,
  scholarship) at a public school.

  _Avoir toujours la bourse à la main_ = To have always one’s hand
  in one’s pocket.

  _Loger le diable dans sa bourse_ = To be penniless.

    [Coins generally had a cross on them, which was a protection
    against the devil. (See _Diable_.) Compare GOLDSMITH, _Vicar of
    Wakefield_, xxi.--“We have not seen the cross of her money.”]

  _Ami jusqu’à la bourse_ = A lukewarm friend.

  _Sans bourse délier_ = Without any expense.


Bout

  _Il tira à bout portant_ = He fired point-blank.

  *_Au bout de l’aune faut_ (or, _manque_) _le drap_ = There is an
  end to everything; The last straw breaks the camel’s back.

  _Il est économe de bouts de chandelle_ = He is penny wise and
  pound foolish.

    [Or, _Il fait des économies de bouts de chandelle._]

  _Il a ri du bout des lèvres_ = He laughed in a forced manner.

  _Il est poète jusqu’au bout des ongles_ = He is a poet to his
  finger-tips.

  _Je suis à bout de force_ = I am exhausted, done up.

  _C’est le bout du monde_ = That is the utmost.

  _Être au bout de son rouleau, de son latin, de sa gamme_ = To be
  at one’s wits’ end; Not to know what to do.

  _Il répète la même chose à tout bout de champ_ = He repeats the
  same thing every instant, every time he has the chance.

  _Eh bien! au bout du compte vous avez tort_ = Well! you are
  wrong, after all.

  _Ma patience est à bout_ = My patience is exhausted.

  _Il m’a poussé à bout_ = He provoked me beyond endurance.

  _Laisser voir le bout de l’oreille_ = To show one’s ignorance
  (_or_, true character); To show what one is driving at; To show
  the cloven hoof.

    [A reference to the fable of the ass in the lion’s skin.]

  _Tenir le haut bout_ = To have the whip hand.


Boute-en-train

  _C’est un vrai boute-en-train_ = He is the very life and soul of
  the party.


Bouteille

  _Il n’a rien vu que par le trou d’une bouteille_ = He has seen
  nothing of the world.

  _C’est la bouteille à l’encre que cette affaire_ = This is a very
  obscure matter; That affair is as clear as mud.


Boutique

  _Toute la boutique_ (pop.) = The whole show (_i.e._ a thing and
  everything connected with it); The whole boiling; The whole bag
  of tricks.

    [Also: _tout le tremblement_, and, _le diable et son train_.]


Braise

  *_Tomber de la poêle dans la braise_ = To fall out of the
  frying-pan into the fire.

  _Passer sur une chose comme un chat sur la braise_ = To pass
  lightly over a subject.


Branche

  _Être comme l’oiseau sur la branche_ = To be very unsettled.

    [This generally refers to a man’s position in life, whether he
    will stay where he is or be made to leave.]


Branler

  *_Tout ce qui branle ne tombe pas_ = A creaking gate hangs long.


Bras

  _Bras dessus bras dessous_ = Arm in arm.

  _J’ai les bras rompus_ = My arms are tired.

  _Cette perte nous coupe bras et jambes_ = This loss cripples us
  entirely.

  _Les bras me tombent de surprise_ (or, _m’en tombent_) = I am
  struck dumb with surprise.

  _Il a le bras long_ = He has great influence.

  _Si vous lui en donnez long comme le doigt, il en prendra long
  comme le bras_ = Give him an inch, he will take an ell.

      [“_Laissez leur prendre un pied chez vous
        Ils en auront bientôt pris quatre._”
                                    LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, ii. 7.

    German: Wer sich auf den Achseln sitzen lässt, dem sitzt man
    nachher auf dem Kopfe = Who lets one sit on his shoulders shall
    have him presently sit on his head.

    Italian: Si ti lasci metter in spalla il vitello, quindi a poco
    ti metter an la vacca = If thou suffer a calf to be laid on thee,
    within a little they’ll clap on the cow.]

  _Je l’ai saisi à bras le corps_ = I seized him round the waist
  (in a struggle).

  _Je l’ai battu à tour de bras_ (or, _à bras raccourci_) = I beat
  him with all my might.

  _Pourquoi restez-vous là les bras croisés?_ = Why are you waiting
  there doing nothing?

  _J’ai ses enfants sur les bras_ = I have his children on my hands.


Brebis

  *_A brebis tondue Dieu mesure le vent_ = God tempers the wind to
  the shorn lamb.

    [Also: _Dieu donne le froid selon le drap._ This is said to
    occur first in a collection of proverbs made by Henri Estienne
    (Stephanus), 1594. The earliest mention in English is, I believe,
    in Sterne’s _Sentimental Journey_.]

  *_Qui se fait brebis, le loup le mange_ = He who is too confiding
  is imposed upon; Daub yourself with honey and you’ll be covered
  with flies.

  *_Brebis comptées le loup les mange_ = Counting one’s chickens
  will not keep the fox off; If you count your chickens, harm will
  happen to them.

    [Compare VERGIL, _Ecl._, vii. 52. This somewhat difficult
    expression can also be translated: “A bold thief is not
    frightened at things being counted.” It no doubt refers to the
    old superstition that counting one’s possessions was followed by
    misfortune, as in 2 Samuel xxiv.]

  *_Brebis qui bêle perd sa goulée_ = It is the silent sow that
  sucks the wash.

  _La brebis galeuse_ = The black sheep.

  _Il ne faut qu’une brebis galeuse pour infecter tout le troupeau_
  = One scabby sheep will taint the whole flock; One ill weed mars
  a whole pot of pottage.

    [Also: _Pomme pourrie gâte sa compagnie_ = One rotten apple
    spoils the whole basket.]


Bredouille

  _Revenir bredouille_ = (of sportsmen) To return with an empty
  bag; To have made an unsuccessful attempt; To return disappointed.

  _Se coucher bredouille_ = To go to bed supperless.


Bride

  *_À cheval donné on ne regarde pas à la bride_ = One does not
  look a gift-horse in the mouth.

  _Il courait à toute bride_ (or, _à bride abattue_) = He was
  running at full speed.

  _Je lui ai mis la bride sur le cou_ = I gave him full liberty.

  _Vous lui tenez la bride trop haute_ = You keep him too much
  under restraint.


Briller

  *_Tout ce qui brille_ (or, _reluit_) _n’est pas or_ = All is not
  gold that glitters.


Brin

  _Nous n’avons pas un brin de feu_ = We have not got a bit of fire.

  _C’est un beau brin de fille_ = She is a fine slip of a girl.


Brisée

  _Il court sur mes brisées_ = (lit.) He pursues the same game as I
  do; (fig.) He poaches on my preserves.

    [_Brisées_ = small branches broken from trees and dropped on the
    ground to mark the lair or path of a beast.]


Briser

  _Brisons là!_ = Let us have no more of that; That will do.


Brochette

  _Être à la brochette_ = 1. To be brought up by hand (of a bird).
  2. To be brought up tenderly, with too much care.


Broder

  _Je crois que vous brodez_ = (fig.) I think you are exaggerating,
  romancing.

  _Il brode bien_ = He is good at drawing the long bow.


Brouillard

  _Établir une rente sur les brouillards de la Seine_ = To have an
  income in the clouds (_i.e._ nothing).


Brouiller

  _Est-ce que vous vous êtes brouillés?_ = Are you no longer
  friends?

  _Il a eu le malheur de se brouiller avec la justice_ = He was
  unfortunate enough to fall out with justice (_i.e._ to be
  punished by imprisonment, fine, etc.).


Brouter

  *_Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu’elle broute_ = One must
  bow to circumstances; One must put up with the inconveniences of
  one’s position if one can get nothing better; One must not expect
  more from life than life can give; We must take things as we find
  them.

    [“Là où la chèvre est liée il faut bien qu’elle y
    broute.”--MOLIÈRE, _Le Médecin malgré lui_, iii. 3.]

  _L’herbe sera bien courte s’il ne trouve à brouter_ = He would
  live on nothing; It will go hard if he does not pick up a living.


Bruit

  _Faire plus de bruit que de besogne_ = To be more fussy than
  industrious.

  *_Grand bruit, petite besogne_ = The more hurry, the less speed;
  Great cry, little wool.

  *_Qui a bruit de se lever matin peut dormir jusqu’au soir_ = A
  good reputation covers many sins.

  _Les tonneaux vides sont ceux qui font le plus de bruit_ = The
  worst wheel makes the most noise.


Brûler

  _Il s’est brûlé la cervelle_ = He blew his brains out.

  _Ils tirèrent sur lui à brûle-pourpoint_ = They fired at him
  point-blank (so as to burn his doublet).

  _Il m’a posé cette question à brûle-pourpoint_ = He asked me that
  question quite unexpectedly.

  _Brûler une station (une étape)_ = To run through a station
  (_or_, a halting-place) without stopping.

  _Brûler le pavé_ = To dash along at full speed, to “scorch.”

  _Brûler à petit feu_ = To wait impatiently, to be on thorns.

  _Cherchez bien, vous brûlez_ = Search well, you are getting warm.

    [Said to children who are looking for a hidden object, and are
    getting near it.]

  _Nous avons brûlé nos vaisseaux_ = There is no going back now; We
  mean to fight to the last.

    [Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, on landing in Africa 317 B.C.,
    burnt his vessels in order to force his soldiers to conquer or to
    die. William of Normandy (1066) and Cortez (1518) did the same.]

  _Un acteur qui brûle les planches_ = An actor who plays with
  spirit, “go.”

  _Brûler la politesse_ = To behave rudely by leaving a person
  abruptly.


Buisson

  *_Il n’y a si petit buisson qui ne porte ombre_ = There is no
  man, however humble, who cannot aid (_or_, injure) his superior.

  _Trouver buisson creux_ = To find the birds flown.


Buse

  *_On ne saurait faire d’une buse un épervier_ = One cannot make a
  silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    [“Que l’en ne puet fere espervier
      En nule guise d’ung busart.”
                   GUILLAUME DE LORRIS, _Roman de la Rose_, 3839.

    Also: _D’un goujat on ne peut pas faire un gentilhomme_ = It
    takes three generations to make a gentleman; and _D’un sac à
    charbon il ne saurait sortir blanche farine_.]


But

  _De but en blanc_ = Point-blank; Abruptly.



C.


Ça

  _Ça a sa petite volonté_ (fam.) = It has a will of its own (in
  speaking of children, etc.).

  _C’est toujours ça_ = That is something, at any rate.

  _Pas plus que ça?_; _Rien que ça?_ = Is that all?

    [This is generally used ironically: _e.g._ Le cocher m’a
    demandé vingt francs pour aller de la Place de la Concorde à
    Longchamp!--Rien que ça?]


Cabinet

  _Cet avocat a un bon cabinet_ = That barrister has a good
  practice.


Cachet

  _Courir le cachet_ = To go from house to house giving private
  lessons.

    [This expression comes from the custom of the master giving to
    the pupil a number of tickets (called _cachets_) at the first
    lesson, for which the pupil pays, and gives one back at the end
    of each lesson.]


Cadet

  _C’est le cadet de mes soucis_ = That is the least of my cares;
  That is the last thing I worry about.


Cadran

  _Il a fait le tour du cadran_ = 1. He has slept the clock round.
  2. He has worked for twelve hours at a stretch.


Cage

  *_La belle cage ne nourrit pas l’oiseau_ = Fine clothes do not
  fill the stomach.


Caisse

  _Il tient la caisse_ = (lit.) He keeps the cash account; (fig.)
  He holds the purse-strings.

  _Il fait la caisse_ = He is making up his cash account.

  _Quel est l’état de votre caisse?_ = How much cash have you in
  hand?


Cale

  _Être à fond de cale_ (fam.) = To be hard up, at the end of one’s
  resources.

  [Also more pop.: _battre la dèche._ See _Sec_ and _Argent_.]


Campagne

  _En rase_ (or, _pleine_) _campagne_ = In the open country.

  _Battre la campagne._ (See _Battre_.)

  _Se mettre en campagne_ = (lit., of a general) To take the field;
  (fig.) To canvass or look out for a post; To start working.


Camus

  _Rendre un homme camus_ = To stop a man’s mouth; To make a man
  look small.

  _Il demeura tout camus_ = He had not a word to say for himself;
  He was “stumped.”


Canard

  _Cette nouvelle n’est qu’un canard_ = That story is all humbug.

    [Canard is an absurd tale mocking the credulity of listeners.
    Littré derives the word from the phrase _vendre à quelqu’un un
    canard à moitié_ = to half sell a duck to any one, _i.e._ not to
    sell it at all, and so, to cheat. A _moitié_ was suppressed and
    _un canard_ came to mean a cheat, a sell. Many other explanations
    are given of this word.]


Cane

  _Faire la cane_ = To run away; To show the white feather.

    [This expression literally means to bob down, like a duck, to
    escape being shot. The verb _caner_ (= to funk) is more often
    used now, or the less familiar _caponner_. “To show the white
    feather” arises from the fact that white feathers in game-cocks
    show impurity of breed.]


Capable

  _Il prend un air capable_ = He puts on a bumptious look.

  _C’est un homme capable de tout_ = He is a man that would stick
  at nothing.


Cape

  _Rire sous cape_ (or, _sous sa coiffe_) = To laugh in one’s
  sleeve (generally of women. See _Barbe_.)

  _N’avoir que la cape et l’épée_ = To be titled but penniless
  (generally used of young officers who have nothing but their pay).

  _Roman de cape et d’épée_ = A romantic, melodramatic tale (_e.g._
  DUMAS, _Les Trois Mousquetaires_).


Caque

  *_La caque sent toujours le hareng_ = What is bred in the bone
  will never come out of the flesh.

      [“You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
        But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.”
                                              MOORE, _Farewell_.]


Caractère

  _Il a le caractère bien fait_ = He is always good-tempered.

  _Il a le caractère mal fait_ = He cannot take a joke.


Carat

  _C’est un sot à vingt-quatre carats_ = He is an out-and-out fool,
  an A 1 fool.

    [“Enfin quoique ignorante à vingt et trois carats.”
                                 LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vii, 15.]


Carême

  *_Cela arrive comme mars en carême_ = That comes regularly, like
  clockwork.

  *_Cela arrive comme marée en carême_ = That comes very
  seasonably, just at the right time.

  _Une face de carême_ = A sad, pale, woe-begone face (like that of
  one who has fasted all Lent).

  _Prêcher sept ans pour un carême_ = To do a great deal for little
  good.


Carpe

  _Muet comme une carpe_ = As dumb as an oyster.

  _Baîller comme une carpe_ = To yawn one’s head off.

  _Elle fait la carpe pâmée_ (fam.) = She turns up the whites of
  her eyes; She pretends to be ill; She looks like a dying duck in
  a thunderstorm.

    [Also: _Faire des yeux de merlan frit._]


Carré

  _Une partie carrée_ = A party composed of two ladies and two
  gentlemen.

  _C’est une tête carrée_ = He is an obstinate fellow.


Carreau

  _C’est un valet de carreau_ = He is a contemptible fellow, a
  snob.

  _Coucher sur le carreau_ = To sleep on the floor.

  _Il l’a laissé sur le carreau_ = He killed him (_or_, left him
  for dead on the ground).

  _Il est resté sur le carreau_ = He was killed on the spot, left
  for dead on the ground.

    [Formerly the floors of rooms were paved with square tiles or
    bricks called _carreaux_. Kitchens are still so paved in France,
    and often ground-floor rooms in the country.]


Carte

  _Battre les cartes_ = To shuffle the cards.

  _Donner les cartes_ = To deal the cards.

  _Brouiller les caries_ = (fig.) To sow discord.

  _Elle lui a tiré les cartes_ = She told his fortune (by cards).

  _Il a vu le dessous des cartes_ = He has been behind the scenes;
  he is in the secret, “in the know.”

  _Jouer cartes sur table_ = To play openly; To act frankly.

  _Donner carte blanche_ = To give full permission; To grant a
  person full liberty to act according to his judgment.

  _Je connais la carte du pays_ = I know the country well.

  _C’est un homme qui ne perd pas la carte_ = He is a man who keeps
  his wits about him, who has an eye to the main chance.

  _C’est un château de cartes que cette maison_ = This is a
  jerry-built house.


Carton

  _Rester dans les cartons_ = To be pigeon-holed.

  _Des objets de carton_ = (fig.) Gimcrack things.


Cas

  _C’est bien le cas de le dire_ = One may indeed say so.

  _Il n’est pas dans le cas de vous nuire_ = He is not in a
  position to harm you.

  _Le cas échéant_ = In such a case; If such should be the case.

  _C’est le cas ou jamais_ = It is now or never.

  _Nous en faisons grand cas_ = We value it very highly.

  _Tout mauvais cas est niable_ = A man may be expected to deny a
  deed that he knows to be wrong.

  _Un en-cas_ = Something prepared in case of need.

    [Formerly this was said of a slight meal placed in a bedroom _in
    case_ one should wake in the night and need food. Now it rather
    refers to anything that can be used _in case_ guests arrive
    unexpectedly. Also of a parasol that can be used as an umbrella
    _in case_ it rains. The latter is more usually called _un
    en-tout-cas_.]


Casser

  _Une noce à tout casser_ (pop.) = A rare old jollification.

  _Vous me cassez la tête avec votre bruit_ = You split my head
  with your noise.

  _Je ne me casse pas la tête avec_ (or, _pour_) _de telles
  bagatelles_ = I don’t worry my head (_or_, rack my brains) over
  such trifles.

  _Il nous cassait l’encensoir sur le nez_ = He was smothering us
  with flatteries.

    [To ‘incense’ any one would be to honour or praise him, but to
    break the censer against his nose would be overdoing it.]

  _Les fatigues ont cassé cet homme_ = Hardships have broken that
  man down.

  _J’ai cassé une croûte_ = I just had a snack.

  _Cet homme casse les vitres_ = That man speaks out boldly, to
  bring matters to a crisis; That man does not pick and choose his
  words.

  _On ne fait pas d’omelettes sans casser des œufs_ = Nothing is
  done without trouble and sacrifice.

    [A saying attributed to Napoleon I. in defence of the great
    mortality caused by his wars.]

  _Payer les pots cassés_ = To stand the racket.

  _Se casser le nez_ = 1. To fall on one’s face. 2. To knock up
  against an obstacle. 3. To fail in an enterprise.


Cataplasme

  _C’est comme un cataplasme sur une jambe de bois_ = A nod is as
  good as a wink to a blind horse.


Catholique

  _Cet individu n’a pas l’air catholique_ = That man does not look
  very trustworthy.

  _Votre vin est trop catholique_ = Your wine is too weak, (_i.e._
  baptised with water).


Cause

  _Il parle en connaissance de cause_ = He knows what he is talking
  about.

  _Je ne veux pas y aller et pour cause_ = I do not want to go
  there, and for a very good reason.

  _J’ai toujours pris fait et cause pour vous_ = I have always
  stood up for you, taken up the cudgels in your defence.

  _Il a eu gain de cause_ = He gained the day.

  _Un avocat sans cause_ = A briefless barrister.

  _Vous êtes hors de cause_ = You are not concerned in the matter;
  This has nothing to do with you.


Caution

  _Il est sujet à caution_ = He is not to be relied upon.

    [_Caution_, meaning “bail,” implies that he cannot be trusted
    except on bail.]


Ce

  _A ce que je vois_ = As far as I can judge.

  _Ce que je sais, c’est que c’est un voleur_ = All I know is that
  he is a thief.

  _Sur ce il s’en alla_ = After that he went away.

  _Ce que c’est que de nous!_ = What poor mortals we are!


Ceinture

  *_Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée_ = A good name is
  better than riches; He who has lost his reputation is a dead man
  among the living.

    [_Ceinture_ here refers to the purse which was in, or attached
    to, the girdle. Compare Proverbs xxii. 1, “A good name is rather
    to be chosen than great riches,” and

      “The purest treasure mortal times afford
      Is spotless reputation; that away,
      Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.”
                                SHAKESPEARE, _Richard II._ i. 1.]


Cela

  _C’est parler cela_ = That is what I call talking.

  _C’est ceci, c’est cela_ = It is sometimes one thing, sometimes
  another.

  _Pour ça, non!_ = Not a bit of it; Certainly not.

  _Il est comme cela_ = That is his way.

  _C’est bien comme cela!_ = That is just it!!

  _C’est cela même!_ = That’s the very thing!

  _Pour cela même_ = For that very reason.

  _N’est-ce que cela?_ = Is that all?


Cent

  _En un mot comme en cent_ = Once and for all.

  _Je vous le donne en cent_ = I bet you 100 to 1 you will not
  guess it.

  *_Cent ans bannière, cent ans civière_ = Up to-day, down
  to-morrow; Every dog has his day.

    [_Bannière_ is here used as the mark of nobility. Also:
    _Aujourd’hui chevalier, demain vacher._ German: _Heute mir,
    morgen dir._ Latin: _Hodie mihi, cras tibi._]

  _Cent ans de chagrin ne paient pas un sou de dettes_ = Worrying
  will not pay your debts.


Cervelle

  _Le scélérat se brûla la cervelle_ = The scoundrel blew his
  brains out.

    [Also, more pop., “se faire sauter le caisson.”]


Chacun

  *_A la cour du roi chacun pour soi_ = Every man for himself and
  the devil take the hindmost. (See _Sauver_.)

  _Chacun cherche son semblable_ = Like will to like. (See _Pot_
  and _Tel_.)

      [“Entre gens de même nature
        L’amitié se fait et dure
        Mais entre gens de contraire nature
        Ni amour ni amitié dure.”]


Chair

  _Cela fait venir la chair de poule_ = That makes one’s flesh
  creep.

  _Je l’ai vu en chair et en os_ = I saw him in flesh and blood.

  _Ni chair ni poisson_ = Neither fish, flesh, nor fowl.


Chaise

  _Être assis entre deux chaises_ = To fall between two stools.
  (See _Chasser_.)


Chambre

  _Il y a bien des chambres à louer dans sa tête_ = He is an
  empty-headed fellow.


Chameau

  _Rejeter le moucheron et avaler le chameau_ = To strain at a gnat
  and swallow a camel.


Champ

  _Il est fou à courir les champs_ = He is as mad as a March hare.

  _Nous prendrons la clef des champs_ = We shall take the key of
  the street (_i.e._, run away).

  _Un rien le met aux champs_ = A trifle throws him into a passion,
  bewilders him.

  _Être aux champs_ = To be put out, bewildered, angry.

  _Prendre du champ_ = To take a run (before leap); To have room
  before one (for an effort).

    [“Ils prirent du champ et coururent l’un sur l’autre avec
    furie.”--CHATEAUBRIAND, _Dernier des Abencérages_, 185.]


Chance

  _Chance vaut mieux que bien jouer_ = Luck is better than wit or
  brains.

  _Il n’est chance qui ne retourne_ = The luck must change.


Chandelle

  *_A chaque saint sa chandelle_ = Honour to whom honour is due;
  Every lawyer must have his fee.

  _Il vous doit une belle chandelle_ = He ought to be very grateful
  to you.

    [An allusion to the custom of burning candles before the altars
    of Saints, as a mark of gratitude, considered due to them.]

  _Voir des chandelles_ (or, _mille chandelles_) = “To see stars.”
  (See _Étoile_.)

  _Donner une chandelle à Dieu et une au diable_ = To try and keep
  in with both parties.

  _Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle_ = The game is not worth the
  candle; It is not worth while.

    [_i.e._, when the stakes are not sufficient to pay for the candle
    burnt during the game.]

  *_C’est une économie de bouts de chandelle_ = That is penny-wise
  and pound-foolish; That is spoiling the ship for a ha’porth
  (halfpennyworth) of tar; That is a cheese-paring policy.

  _Brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts_ = To burn the candle at
  both ends.


Change

  _Donner le change_ = To put off the scent, to mislead.

  _Vous ne me ferez pas prendre le change_ = You will not impose
  upon me, put me on the wrong scent.

    [Expressions taken from hunting, where the dogs leave the track
    of the game they have raised, to run on another scent.]

  _Je lui ai rendu le change_ = I paid him back in his own coin.
  (See _Monnaie_.)


Changer

  _Changer son cheval borgne contre un aveugle_ = To lose in an
  exchange.


Chanson

  _Il en a l’air et la chanson_ = He looks it every inch; He has
  both the appearance and the actuality.

  _C’est l’air qui fait la chanson_ = Words depend much on the tone
  in which they are spoken; It is not so much what you say as the
  way in which you say it.


Chanter

  *_Il chante toujours la même chanson_ = He is always harping on
  the same string.

      [“Cantilenam eandem canere.”
                                  TERENCE, _Phormio_, iii. 2, 10.

      “Chorda qui semper oberrat eadem.”
                                       HORACE, _Ars Poet._, 356.]

  *_Tel chante qui ne rit pas_ = The heart may be sad though the
  face be gay.

  _C’est comme si je chantais_ = It is like talking to the air,
  preaching in the desert.

  _Je lui ai chanté sa gamme_ = I lectured him severely.

  _Une porte mal graissée chante_ = One must pay well to keep
  persons quiet.

  _Elle chante à faire pitié_ = She sings most wretchedly.

  _Chanter juste_ = To sing in tune.

  _Si ça vous chante_ (fam.) = If you are in the mood for it.


Chapeau

  _Voici la reine, chapeau bas!_ = Here is the Queen, hats off.


Chapelet

  _Le chapelet commence à se défiler_ = The association is
  beginning to break up.

  _Défiler_ (or, _dire_) _son chapelet_ = To say all one has to say.

  _Il n’a pas gagné cela en disant son chapelet_ = He did not get
  that for nothing.


Chapon

  *_Qui chapon mange, chapon lui vient_ = He that has plenty shall
  have more.


Charbonnier

  *_Charbonnier est maître chez lui_ (or, _chez soi_) = Every one
  is master in his own house; An Englishman’s house is his castle.

    [In the _Commentaires de Blaise de Monluc, Maréchal de France_
    (ed. _Alphonse de Ruble, pour la Société de l’Histoire de
    France_, tome iii. p. 482, Paris, 1867), in a remonstrance to the
    king he says: “car chacun est roy en sa maison, comme respondit
    le charbonnier à votre ayeul.” M. de Ruble appends this note:
    “François I^{er}, à la suite d’une chasse qui l’avait séparé de
    sa suite, se perdit dans une forêt et chercha un asile dans la
    cabane d’un charbonnier. L’homme était absent; le roi ne trouva
    que la charbonnière, s’empara du meilleur siège et demanda à
    souper. La femme voulut attendre l’arrivée de son mari. A son
    retour, celui-ci reprit brusquement son siège et offrit un simple
    escabeau au roi: ‘Je prendz cette chaise,’ dit-il, ‘parce qu’elle
    est à moi:

      Or, par droit et par raison,
      Chacun est maître en sa maison.’

    Le roi, charmé de n’être point reconnu, obéit à son hôte. On
    soupa d’un quartier de chevreuil tué en cachette, on médit
    du roi, des tailles qu’il venait d’ordonner et surtout de sa
    sévérité pour la chasse. Le lendemain, François se fit connaître.
    Le charbonnier se crut perdu, mais le roi le rassura, et, pour
    prix de son hospitalité, lui accorda de grandes faveurs, entre
    autres le droit de chasser. A son retour à la cour, il rapporta
    le récit de son aventure et surtout le proverbe qu’il venait
    d’apprendre.” Also in _La Belle Arsène, comédie-féerie de C. S.
    Favart_, acted before the king in 1773, we find this proverb (Act
    iv. Sc. 2).]


Charge

  _Cela est à ma charge_ = I have to pay for it; That falls on me.

  _Cela m’est à charge_ = That is a burden to me.

  _C’est entendu, à la charge d’autant_ (or, _de revanche_) = I
  will do the same for you; One good turn deserves another.


Charité

  *_Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même_ = Charity begins
  at home.

    [“Proximus sum egomet mihi.” = I myself am nearest to
    myself.--TERENCE.]

  _La charité, s’il vous plaît!_ = Please give me a penny!


Charlemagne

  _Faire Charlemagne_ = To leave off a winner, without giving one’s
  adversaries a chance of revenge.

    [Génin explains this as a shortened form of _faire comme
    Charlemagne_, who died without losing any of the conquests he had
    made.]


Charrette

  _Mettre la charrette_ (or, _charrue_) _devant les bœufs_ = To put
  the cart before the horse.

    [Lucian says: ἡ ἅμαξα τὸν βοῦν ἕλκει = The waggon drags the ox.]

  _Mieux vaut être cheval que charrette_ = Better lead than be led.


Chasser

  _Faire un chassé-croisé_ = To go to and fro in all directions; to
  exchange places; to play at “puss in the corner.”

  “_Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop_” = What is bred in the
  bone will never come out of the flesh.

    [DESTOUCHES, _Le Glorieux_, iii. 5. Comp. HORACE, _Ep. I._,
    x. 24: “naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret,” and LA
    FONTAINE, _Fables_, ii. 18:

      “Tant le naturel a de force!
      Il se moque de tout...
      Qu’on lui ferme la porte au nez
      Il reviendra par les fenêtres.”

    Frederick the Great wrote to Voltaire (19th March 1771): “Chassez
    les préjugés par la porte, ils reviendront par la fenêtre.”

    Also: _Qui naquit chat court après les souris._]

  *_Qui deux choses chasse, ni l’une ni l’autre ne prend_ = Between
  two stools one falls to the ground.

  _Ne chassez pas deux lièvres à la fois_ = Do not have too many
  irons in the fire.

  _Il chasse de race_ = He is a chip of the old block.

  _Un clou chasse l’autre_ = One idea drives away another.


Chat

  *_A bon chat bon rat_ = A Roland for an Oliver; Tit for tat;
  Diamond cut diamond.

  *_Chat échaudé craint l’eau froide_ = A burnt child dreads the
  fire; Once bit, twice shy.

    [The Jewish Rabbis said: “One bitten by a serpent is afraid of a
    rope’s end.”

    Hesiod says: “Even a fool after suffering gets him knowledge”;
    the Italians: “Can scotato da l’acqua calda ha paura poi della
    fredda” = A dog burnt by hot water afterwards fears cold.]

  _J’appelle un chat un chat_ = I call a spade a spade. (See
  _Appeler_.)

  _Avoir un chat dans la gorge_ = To have phlegm (_or_, frog) in
  the throat; To be hoarse.

  *_Nous avons d’autres chats_ (or, _chiens_) _à fouetter_ = We
  have other fish to fry.

  _Il n’y a pas là de quoi fouetter un chat_ = It is not worth
  getting angry about.

  *_Ne réveillons pas le chat qui dort_ = Let sleeping dogs lie.

  *_Le chat parti les souris dansent_ = When the cat’s away the
  mice will play.

  *_La nuit tous les chats sont gris_ = At night one may easily
  be mistaken; At night beauty is of no account; When candles are
  away, all cats are grey.

  *_Chat botté n’attrape pas de souris_ = A muffled cat catches no
  mice.

  _Comme chat sur braise_ = Like a cat on hot bricks.

  _Il n’y a pas un chat_ = There is not a soul.

  _Aller comme un chat maigre_ = To run like a lamplighter. (See
  _Verrier_.)


Château

  _Faire des châteaux en Espagne_ = To build castles in the air.

    [This expression is found from the thirteenth century. The
    explanation that would ascribe it to the followers of the Duc
    d’Anjou when he became Philippe V. of Spain must therefore be
    incorrect. The phrases “Châteaux en Asie, en Albanie” were
    also used, so that it comes to mean “to build castles in
    foreign countries, where one is not,” and hence “to indulge in
    illusions.”--LITTRÉ, _s.v._

    “Chatiaus en Espagne.”--GUILLAUME DE LORRIS, _Roman de la Rose_,
    l. 2530.

    “De quoi sert-il de bastir des chasteaux en Espagne puisqu’il
    faut habiter en France?” _St. François de Sales_, lettre 856.]


Chaud

  _Pleurer à chaudes larmes_ = To cry bitterly.

  *_Tomber de fièvre en chaud mal_ = To fall out of the frying-pan
  into the fire.

  _Cela ne me fait ni froid ni chaud_ = That is indifferent to me.

  _Il a les pieds bien chauds_ = He is in very easy circumstances.


Chaudron

  *_Petit chaudron, grandes oreilles_ = Little pitchers have long
  ears.


Chauffer

  _C’est un bain qui chauffe_ = There is a shower coming on.

    [When it feels close, or when the sun is seen for a few minutes
    through the clouds, it is looked upon as a sign of rain.]

  _Ce n’est pas pour vous que le four chauffe_ = All these
  preparations are not for you.


Chausser

  _Les cordonniers sont les plus mal chaussés_ = The shoemaker’s
  wife goes the worst shod.


Chauve

  _Chauve comme mon genou_ (fam.) = As bald as a coot, as a
  billiard ball.


Chef

  _Elle a une grande fortune de son chef_ = She has a large fortune
  in her own right.

  _Faire une chose de son chef_ = To do a thing on one’s own
  responsibility.


Chemin

  _Chemin faisant_ = On the way.

  _Le chemin de velours_ = The primrose path.

  _En tout pays il y a une lieue de mauvais chemin_ = (fig.) In
  every enterprise difficulties have to be encountered.

  _Il ne faut pas y aller par quatre chemins_ = You must not beat
  about the bush; You must go straight to the point; You must not
  mince matters; It’s no good shilly-shallying.

  *_Qui trop se hâte reste en chemin_ = The more haste, the less
  speed; Slow and sure wins the race. (See _Hâte_.)

  *_Le chemin le plus long est souvent le plus court_ = The longest
  way round often proves to be the shortest; A short cut may be a
  very long way home.

  _Prendre le chemin de l’école_ (or, _des écoliers_) = To take the
  longest way (a roundabout way).

  *_À chemin battu il ne croît pas d’herbe_ = (fig.) There is no
  profit in an affair in which many are engaged.

  _Se frayer un chemin avec les coudes_ = To elbow one’s way
  through a crowd.


Cheminée

  _Il faut faire une croix à la cheminée_ = “We must chalk it up”
  (of an event that seldom happens.)

  _Sous le manteau de la cheminée_ = Secretly, _sub rosa_.


Cheval

  *_À cheval donné on ne regarde pas à la bride_ (or, _à la dent_)
  = One does not look a gift-horse in the mouth.

    [Late Latin: “Si quis det mannos, ne quaere in dentibus annos.”]

  _On loge à pied et à cheval_ = Good entertainment (accommodation)
  for man and beast.

  _L’œil du maître engraisse le cheval_ = Matters prosper under the
  master’s eye.

    [“Il n’est pour voir que l’œil du maître.”
                                  LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iv. 21.]

  _Il est aisé d’aller à pied quand on tient son cheval par la
  bride_ = It is easy to stoop from state when that state can be
  resumed at will.

  _Il n’est si bon cheval qui ne bronche_ = The best horse may
  stumble; Accidents will happen.

    [Also: _Il n’est si bon charretier qui ne verse._]

  _Il a changé son cheval borgne contre un aveugle_ = He has
  changed for the worse; He has made a bad bargain.

  _Monter sur ses grands chevaux_ = To ride the high horse.

    [A reference to the big war horses used by knights in battle.]

  _Je lui ai écrit une lettre à cheval_ = I wrote him a severe
  letter.

  _Il est toujours à cheval sur l’étiquette_ = He is a stickler for
  etiquette.

  _Il est bon cheval de trompette_ = He is not easily dismayed.

  _Un cheval à deux fins_ = A horse for riding or driving.

  _J’ai une fièvre de cheval_ = I am in a high fever.


Chevalier

  _Un chevalier d’industrie_ = A swindler, a man who lives by his
  wits.


Cheveux

  _Cette comparaison est tirée par les cheveux_ = That comparison
  is somewhat far-fetched.

  _On ne peut prendre aux cheveux un homme rasé_ = One cannot get
  blood from a stone. (See _Huile_.)

  _En cheveux_ (of a woman) = Bareheaded.

    [Of a man: _tête nue_.]

  _Les cheveux en brosse_ = Hair cut short (standing up like the
  bristles of a brush).

  _Prendre l’occasion aux cheveux_ = To take time by the forelock.
  (See _Balle_.)

  _Avoir mal aux cheveux_ (fam.) = To have a head (_i.e._ a
  head-ache in the morning after a drinking bout.)


Cheville

  _Vous ne lui allez pas à la cheville_ = You are a pigmy compared
  with him; You are no match for him at all.

  _La cheville ouvrière_ = The mainspring, pivot.


Chèvre

  *_Ménager la chèvre et le chou_ = To run with the hare and hunt
  with the hounds.

    [The French refers to the tale of the man in charge of a wolf, a
    goat, and a cabbage. He came to a river which he had to cross;
    but the ferry-boat was so small that he could only take one of
    his charges with him. His difficulty was to get them across, for
    if he left the wolf and goat together, the wolf would eat the
    goat; and if he left the goat with the cabbage the goat would eat
    it.]

  *_Où la chèvre est attachée il faut qu’elle broute_ = One must
  put up with the inconveniences of one’s position if one can get
  nothing better; We must not expect more from life than life can
  give us.


Chez

  *_Il n’y a pas de petit chez soi_ = There is no place like home;
  Home is home, be it ever so humble; East, west, home is best.

    [Also: _Un petit chez soi vaut mieux qu’un grand chez les autres._

      “My house, my house, though thou art small,
      Thou art to me the Escuriall.”
                            GEORGE HERBERT, _Jacula Prudentium_.]


Chien

  _C’est le chien de Jean de Nivelle, il s’enfuit quand on
  l’appelle_ = The more you call him, the more he runs away, like
  John de Nivelle’s dog.

    [Jean de Nivelle was the eldest son of Jean II., Duc de
    Montmorency, and was born about 1423. Having been summoned
    to appear before the Judges at Paris for having espoused the
    cause of the Duke of Burgundy against the wishes of the king,
    Louis XI., and of his father, who disinherited him, he fled to
    Flanders, where his wife had property. He therefore became an
    object of scorn to the people for refusing to answer the summons
    of his king, and they called him _chien_: the saying ought to
    run: _C’est_ CE _chien de Jean de Nivelle_. La Fontaine evidently
    thought the phrase referred to a real dog when he wrote:--

      “Une traîtresse voix bien souvent vous appelle,
        Ne vous pressez donc nullement,
      Ce n’était pas un sot, non, non et croyez m’en.
        Que le chien de Jean de Nivelle.”

    Compare the Italian:--

    Far come il can d’Arlotto que chiamoto se la batte.]

  *_Qui veut noyer son chien l’accuse de la rage_ = Give your dog a
  bad name and hang him.

    [Quos Jupiter vult perdere prius dementat.]

  _Je jette ma langue aux chiens_ = I give it up (of riddles, etc.).

    [Also: _Je donne ma langue aux chats._]

  _Nous sommes sortis entre chien et loup_ = We went out at dusk,
  between the lights.

    [_i.e._ when you could easily mistake a wolf for a dog; or, as
    others say, between the time when the watch-dog is let loose and
    the time when the wolf comes out of the wood.]

  _Un chien regarde bien un évêque_ = A cat may look at a king.

  _Il fait un chien de temps_ (or, _un temps de chien_) (fam.) = It
  is wretched weather.

  _C’est saint Roch et son chien que ces deux personnes-là_ = These
  two persons are inseparable.

  *_Bon chien chasse de race_ = Like sire, like son; Cat after kind.

  _C’est le chien du jardinier qui ne mange pas de choux et n’en
  laisse pas manger aux autres_ = He is a dog in the manger.

  _Écorcher son chien pour en avoir la peau_ = To sacrifice
  something important for a small return.

  _Chien qui aboie ne mord pas_ = His bark is worse than his bite.

    [Also: _Tel fiert qui ne tue pas_, and _Chat miauleur ne fut
    jamais bon chasseur, non plus qu’homme sage caqueteur_.]

  _Autant vaut être mordu d’un chien que d’une chienne_ = As well
  be hanged for a sheep as a lamb; What is the use of choosing
  between two evils?

  _On l’a reçu comme un chien dans un jeu de quilles_ = He was as
  welcome as a dog at a wedding.

  *_Il ne faut pas se moquer des chiens_ (or, _du loup_) _avant
  qu’on ne soit hors du bois_ = Do not holloa before you are out of
  the wood.

  _Il n’attache pas ses chiens avec des saucisses_ = He is a
  regular miser.

  _Chien hargneux a toujours l’oreille déchirée_ = Quarrelsome folk
  are always in the wars.

  _Jamais bon chien n’a rongé bon os_ = A good dog rarely gets a
  good bone; Men rarely get their deserts.

  _Se regarder en chiens de faïence_ = To look at one another
  without talking (like stuck pigs).


Chiffon

  _Nous causions chiffons_ (of women) = We were chattering about
  dress.


Chiffonner

  _Elle a une petite mine chiffonnée_ = She has irregular features,
  but her expression is pleasing.


Chômer

  *_Chômer les fêtes avant qu’elles ne soient venues_ = To count
  one’s chickens before they are hatched.

    [“Laissons venir la fête avant que la chômer.”
                             MOLIÈRE, _Le Dépit Amoureux_, i. 1.]

  _C’est un saint qu’on ne chôme point_ = He is in no great repute.

    [“L’honneur est un vieux saint que l’on ne chôme plus.”
                                       RÉGNIER, _Satires_, xiii.]


Chose

  _Dites bien des choses de ma part à votre frère_ = Remember me
  kindly to your brother.

  _Rester tout chose_ = To be confused.

  _Il était tout chose_ = He was out of sorts; out of spirits; cast
  down.

  _Monsieur Chose_ (or, _Machin_) = “Mr. What’s-his-name.”


Chou

  _On l’envoya planter ses choux_ = He was dismissed.

  _Aller planter ses choux_ (or, _garder les dindons_) = To retire
  into the country.

  _Chou pour chou_ = Taking one thing with another.

    [The whole expression is: _Chou pour chou, Aubervilliers vaut
    bien Paris_ = Aubervilliers is as good as Paris, if it come to
    counting cabbages, _i.e._, each thing has its particular merits.
    Aubervilliers is a suburb of Paris, noted for its market gardens.]

  _Bête comme (un) chou (un pot, une cruche, une oie)_ =
  As stupid as an owl.

  _Mon petit chou_ = My little darling.

    [This has nothing to do with a cabbage, but with a kind of puff
    pastry filled with cream, in the shape of a cabbage.]

  _Faire ses choux gras d’une chose_ = To enjoy a thing that others
  despise.


Ciel

  _Remuer ciel et terre_ = To move heaven and earth; To leave no
  stone unturned.


Circuler

  _Circulez, Messieurs!_ = Move on, please! (cry of policemen).


Clair

  _Parler clair et net_ = To speak plainly.

  _Je n’y vois pas clair_ = I cannot see, it is too dark.

  _Clair comme le jour_ (or, _comme le soleil en plein midi_) = As
  plain as a pikestaff; As clear as noonday.


Classe

  _À la rentrée des classes_ = When school reopens.


Clef

  _Mettre la clef sous la porte_ = To run away from one’s
  creditors; “To bolt.”

  _La clef dont on se sert est toujours claire_ = One does not get
  rusty in what one does every day.


Clerc

  _Un pas de clerc_ = A blunder; A false step.

  _Il ne faut pas parler latin devant les clercs_ = Do not correct
  a specialist on his subject.

    [“Les plus grands clercs ne sont pas les plus fins.”
                                        RÉGNIER, _Satires_, iii.]


Cliché

  _Ses plaisanteries ne sont que des clichés_ = His jokes are
  stereotyped.


Clin

  _En un clin d’œil_ = In a twinkling.


Cloche

  *_Qui n’entend qu’une cloche n’entend qu’un son_ = One should
  hear both sides of a question.

  _Il est temps de fondre la cloche_ = The time for action has
  arrived.

  _Déménager à la cloche de bois_ (fam.) = To shoot the moon; To
  leave a house without paying one’s rent or one’s creditors.


Clocher (subst.)

  _Il n’a jamais perdu son clocher de vue_ = He has never been out
  of his parish.

  _Il faut placer le clocher au milieu du village_ = What is meant
  for the benefit of all should be within reach of all.

  [_e.g._ a lamp in the middle of the table.]

  _Avoir la maladie du clocher_ = To be homesick.

    [Also more often: _Avoir le mal du pays._]


Clocher (verb)

  _Ce n’est pas mal, mais il y a encore quelque chose qui cloche_ =
  It is not bad, but there is still something wrong.

  *_Toute comparaison cloche_ [or, _pèche_] = Comparisons are
  odious.


Clou

  _Cela ne vaut pas un clou à soufflet_ = That is not worth a straw
  (lit. a tin-tack).

  _Je lui ai rivé son clou_ (pop.) = I shut his mouth; That was a
  poser for him.

    [“Vous avez fort bien fait de lui river son clou.” REGNARD, _Le
    Distrait_, iv. 7.]

  _Un clou chasse l’autre_ = One idea drives away another.

  _Le clou de l’Exposition_ = The chief attraction of the
  Exhibition.


Cocagne

  _C’est un pays de cocagne_ = It is a land flowing with milk and
  honey.

      [“Paris est pour le riche un pays de cocagne;
        Sans sortir de la ville il trouve la campagne.”
                                         BOILEAU, _Satires_, vi.]

  _Le mât de cocagne_ = The greasy pole.


Coche

  _C’est la mouche du coche_ = He is a regular busybody.

    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vii. 9, imitated from Æsop.]


Cochon

  _Nous n’avons pas gardé les cochons ensemble_ (pop.) = We have
  not been dragged up together.

    [The reply to a man who presumes upon acquaintance, and needs
    putting down.]


Cœur

  _À contre cœur_ = Reluctantly.

  _À cœur joie_ = To one’s heart’s content.

  _De gaieté de cœur_ = Out of sheer wantonness.

  _Il l’a fait de bon cœur_ = He did it willingly.

  _Dîner par cœur_ = To go without a dinner; To dine with Duke
  Humphrey.

    [Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, son of Henry IV., was renowned for
    his hospitality. At his death it was reported that he would have
    a monument in S. Paul’s, but he was buried at S. Alban’s Abbey.
    S. Paul’s was at that time the common lounge of the town, and
    when the promenaders left for dinner, those who had no dinner
    to go to, used to say they would stay behind and look for the
    monument of the Good Duke. A similar saying was, “To sup with Sir
    Thomas Gresham,” the Exchange, built by him, being a place of
    resort.]

  _Vous l’avez blessé au cœur_ = You have wounded his feelings.

  _C’est un crève cœur_ = It is a heart-rending thing.

  *_Loin des yeux, loin du cœur_ = Out of sight, out of mind.

  _Il a cela à cœur_ = 1. He is striving hard to do it. 2. He takes
  a lively interest in it.

  _Cela me tient au cœur_ = I have set my heart upon it.

  _Il a mal au cœur_ = He is feeling sick.

  _Il a une maladie de cœur_ = He has heart disease.

  _Elle fait la bouche en cœur_ = She puts on a captivating look;
  She purses up her lips.

  _Elle a le cœur gros_ = She is ready to cry; She is heavy-hearted.

  _Si le cœur vous en dit_ = If you feel like it; If you have a
  mind to.

  _Je veux en avoir le cœur net_ = I must clear that up.

  _Il a le cœur sur les lèvres_ = 1. He always says what he thinks
  (and this is always something good and kind); He is open-hearted.
  2. He feels sick.

  _Être plein de cœur_ = To be full of generosity; To be
  noble-minded; To have a high sense of one’s duties towards
  others.

  _Avoir le cœur sur la main_ = To be open-hearted, frank.

  _Un serrement de cœur_ = A sinking at the heart; A feeling of
  oppression and sadness.


Coiffer

  _Voilà l’homme dont elle est coiffée_ = There is the man with
  whom she is smitten.

  _Être né coiffé_ = To be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
  (literally, with a caul).

  _Coiffer sainte Catherine_ = To remain an old maid.


Coin

  _Cet homme mourra au coin d’un bois_ (or, _d’une haie_) = That
  man will die in a ditch.


Collier

  _Il est franc du collier_ = (of a horse) He pulls freely; (of a
  man) He never shirks his work.

  _Reprendre le collier de misère_ = To return to drudgery, to the
  old routine.


Comble

  _Le feu détruisit le bâtiment de fond en comble_ = The fire
  completely gutted the building.

  _Elle est au comble de ses désirs_ = She is at the very height of
  her wishes.

  _Pour comble de malheur, il tomba malade_ = To crown his
  misfortune, he fell ill.


Comité

  _Venez demain, nous serons en petit comité_ = Come to-morrow,
  there will be only a few intimate friends.


Comme

  _Comme ci, comme ça_ = So-so; indifferently.

  _Je ne l’ai pas dit, mais c’est tout comme_ = I did not say so,
  but it is just as if I did.

  _C’est tout comme_ = It comes to the same thing.


Commencer

  *_N’a pas fait qui commence_ = The beginning is not everything.

    [“Qui commence le mieux ne fait rien s’il n’achève.”
                                                      CORNEILLE.]

  _A moitié fait qui commence bien_ = Well begun is half done; A
  good beginning is half the battle.

    [“_Unes vespres bien sonnées sont à demy dictes._”
                                      RABELAIS, _Gargantua_, cxl.

    Also: _Matines bien sonnées sont à moitié dites.
    Barbe bien savonnée est à moitié rasée._]

  *_Qui commence mal finit mal_ = A bad day never has a good night.


Commode

  _Le patron n’est pas commode_ (fam.) = The master (boss) knows
  all our tricks, is not easily taken in, is very strict, is not an
  easy customer to deal with.


Compagnie

  _Il m’a faussé compagnie_ = He gave me the slip; He did not keep
  his appointment.

  _Vous me traitez comme si j’étais compagnie_ = You treat me as if
  I were somebody.

  _Il n’y a si bonne compagnie qui ne se quitte_ = The best of
  friends must part.


Compagnon

  _Traiter quelqu’un de pair à compagnon_ = To treat any one as an
  equal; To be “hail-fellow-well-met” (cheek by jowl) with any one.

  *_Qui a compagnon a maître_ = One is often obliged to give way to
  the wishes of those with whom one is associated.


Compas

  _Avoir le compas dans l’œil_ (fam.) = To have a good eye for
  distances.


Compère

  _C’est un rusé compère_ = He is a sly dog, a cunning old fox.
  (See _Fin_ and _Mouche_.)

    [Other equivalents are: _un fin_ (or, _fûté_) _matois_ (vide
    MOLIÈRE, _George Dandin_, i. 2, _ad fin._), _une fine mouche_.]


Compliment

  _Sans compliment_ = Really; sincerely; I mean really what I say.


Compte

  _Voici votre argent, voyez si vous avez votre compte_ = Here is
  your money, see if it is right.

  _Erreur n’est pas compte_ = Errors excepted.

  _Je renonce à ce commerce, car je n’y trouve pas mon compte_ = I
  am giving up this business, for I make nothing by it.

  _Ne l’offensez pas, car vous n’y trouverez pas votre compte_ = Do
  not offend him, for you would get more than you cared for.

  _Nous nous amusons à bon compte_ = We amuse ourselves at a small
  cost.

  _Vous êtes loin du compte_ = You are out in your reckoning.

  _On peut toujours à bon compte revenir_ = There is no harm in
  examining an account twice.

  _Je mets cela en ligne de compte_ = I take that into account.

  _Faisons un compte rond_ = Let us make it even money.

  _Pour se rendre compte de la chose_ = To get a clear idea of the
  matter.

  _Nous sommes de compte à demi dans l’entreprise_ = We are
  partners on equal terms in the venture; We are going halves in
  the venture.

  _À chacun son compte_ = To give every one his due.

  _Au bout du compte_ = Upon the whole; After all.

  _Enfin de compte_ = (lit.) When the addition is made; (fig.) When
  all is told; When all is said and done.

  _Il a son compte_ (or, _Son compte est réglé_) = 1. (lit.) He has
  his due. 2. (pop.) He is done for. (See _Affaire_.)


Compter

  _Il lui compte les morceaux_ = He grudges him the very food he
  eats.

  *_Qui compte sans son hôte compte deux fois_ = He who reckons
  without his host must reckon again; Don’t count your chickens
  before they are hatched. (See _Chômer_ and _Peau_.)

  _Comptez dessus_ = Depend upon it.


Concurrence

  _Vous pouvez faire des commandes en mon nom jusqu’à concurrence
  de 5,000 francs_ = You can order goods in my name to the amount
  of £200.


Conduire

  _Il conduit bien sa barque_ = (fig.) He plays his cards well.


Conduite

  _Tous ses camarades lui firent la conduite_ = All his companions
  saw him off.


Confesser

  _C’est le diable à confesser_ = It is terribly hard to do.


Confession

  _On lui donnerait le bon Dieu sans confession_ = They would trust
  him to any extent (because of his saintly appearance).


Connaissance

  _En connaissance de cause_ = Knowingly.

  _Je suis en pays de connaissance_ = I am among people I know,
  among old friends.


Connaître

  _Il est connu comme le loup blanc_ = He is known to everybody.

  _Il gagne à être connu_ = He improves upon acquaintance.

  _Je ne le connais ni d’Ève ni d’Adam_ = I do not know him from
  Adam.

  _Je ne le connais ni de près ni de loin_ = I do not know him at
  all.

  _En chiffres connus_ = In plain figures.

  _Vous y connaissez-vous en vins?_ = Are you a judge of wine?

  _Je m’y connais_ = I understand all about it; I am an authority
  on it.

  _Connu!_ (fam.) = That is an old tale.

  _Je la connais, celle-là_ (pop.) = That is nothing new; I’ve been
  “had” before.


Conseil

  *_À parti pris pas de conseil_ = Advice is useless to one who has
  made up his mind.

  *_La nuit porte conseil_ = Sleep upon it; Time will show a plan.

  _Il a bientôt assemblé son conseil_ = He makes up his mind
  without consulting any one.


Conseiller

  “_Aimez qu’on vous conseille et non pas qu’on vous loue_” =
  Prefer advice to praise.
  [BOILEAU, _Art Poétique_, i. 192.]


Consentir

  *_Qui ne dit mot consent_ = Silence gives consent.


Conséquence

  _Cela ne tire pas à conséquence_ = That is of no importance.


Conte

  _Des contes à dormir debout_ = Tedious, nonsensical tales; Old
  wives’ tales.


Contentement

  *_Contentement passe richesse_ = Enough is as good as a feast.


Conter

  _Il vous en conte de belles_ = He is deceiving you finely; He is
  telling you fine tales.


Contrôle

  _Vous êtes porté sur le contrôle_ = Your name is placed on the
  roll.


Contrôler

  _Une chaîne contrôlée_ = A hall-marked chain.


Convertir

  _Vous prêchez un converti_ = You are talking to a man who thinks
  with you.


Coq

  _Il est comme un coq en pâte_ = He is in clover.

    [Lit. one kept separately from the others to be fattened; _pâte_
    is its food. _Comme rats en paille_ is sometimes used.]

  _Il est le coq du village_ = He is the cock of the walk.

  _Des coq-à-l’âne_ = Cock and bull stories; Disconnected
  rigmaroles.


Coquille

  _À qui vendez-vous vos coquilles?_ = Tell that to the marines.
  (See _Autre_.)

    [CHARLES D’ORLÉANS, _Rondeau_, 148.]

  _Rentrer dans sa coquille_ = To draw in one’s horns.

  _Il fait bien valoir ses coquilles_ = He praises his goods too
  much.


Cor

  _À cor et à cri_ = With hue and cry; Vehemently.

  _Demander à cor et à cri_ = To clamour for.


Corde

  _Être au bout de sa corde_ (or, _son rouleau_) = To be at the end
  of one’s tether; To have no more to say.

  _Vous verrez beau jeu si la corde ne rompt_ = You will see fine
  fun if no accident happens, if no hitch occurs.

  _Cette affaire a passé à fleur de corde_ = That business only
  just succeeded.

  _Cet homme file sa corde_ = That man will bring himself to the
  gallows.

  _Il ne faut pas parler de corde dans la maison d’un pendu_ =
  We must not make personal remarks; We must not allude to the
  skeleton in the cupboard. (See _Boiteux_.)

  _Il a de la corde de pendu dans sa poche_ = He has the devil’s
  own luck.

    [A piece of the rope with which a man had been hanged was, and
    is even now, considered as a charm against ill-luck. Archbishop
    Trench adduces other proverbs in reference to the man whose luck
    never forsakes him, so that from the very things which would be
    another man’s ruin, he extricates himself not only without harm
    but with credit: _e.g._ the Arabic: “Cast him into the Nile, and
    he will come up with a fish in his mouth”; the German: “Würf er
    einen Groschen aufs Dach, fiel ihm ein Taler herunter” = If he
    threw a penny on to the roof, a dollar would come back to him.]

  _Il tient la corde_ = He is leading; He is first favourite.

  _Vous touchez la corde sensible_ = You are touching the sore
  point.

  _Ne touchez pas cette corde_ = (fig.) Do not speak of that.

  _Cela est usé jusqu’à la corde_ = (lit.) That is worn threadbare;
  (fig.) That is thoroughly hackneyed.


Cordeau

  _Aux États-Unis les rues sont tirées au cordeau_ = In the United
  States the streets are perfectly straight.


Cordon

  _Cordon, s’il vous plaît_ = Open the door, please (to porters in
  Paris).


Corne

  _Ne faites pas de cornes à ce livre_ = Do not dog’s-ear that book.


Corneilles

  _Bayer aux corneilles_ = To stare (_or_, gape) about vacantly.


Corps

  _C’est un drôle de corps_ = He is an odd fellow, a queer fish.

  _Nous verrons ce qu’il a dans le corps_ = We will see what he is
  made of.

  _Il s’est jeté à corps perdu dans cette affaire_ = He threw
  himself headlong (_or_, with might and main) into the matter.

  _Je le saisis à bras le corps_ = I seized him round the waist (in
  a struggle).

  _Ils se sont battus corps à corps_ = They fought hand to hand.

  _Je l’ai fait à mon corps défendant_ = I did it reluctantly, in
  self-defence.

  _Prendre du corps_ = To get fat.

  _Il a l’âme chevillée dans le corps_ = He has as many lives as a
  cat.


Corsaire

  *_À corsaire, corsaire et demi_ = Set a thief to catch a thief.

    [“Ars deluditur arte.”--CATO.

    “A trompeur, trompeur et demy.”--CHARLES D’ORLÉANS, _Rondel_, 46.]

  *_Corsaires contre corsaires ne font pas leurs affaires_ = Dog
  does not eat dog. (See _Loup_.)

      [“Corsaires contre corsaires,
      L’un l’autre s’attaquant ne font pas leurs affaires.”--LA
      FONTAINE, _Tribut envoyé par les animaux à Alexandre_, imitating
      Régnier, _Satire_ xii., _ad fin._, who took it from the Spanish
      _De corsario a corsario no se llevan que los barriles._]


Corvée

  _C’est une vraie corvée!_ = What a nuisance! What a bore!

    [_Corvée_ originally referred to feudal forced labour. It is now
    a military term, and means “fatigue duty”; hence, any unpleasant
    task.]


Côte

  _On lui compterait les côtes_ = He is nothing but skin and bone.


Côté

  _Être sur le côté_ (or, _flanc_) = To be on one’s back, ill.

  _Mettre les rieurs de son côté_ = To turn the laugh against a man.

  _Vous êtes du bon côté_ = You are on the right side.

  _Vous êtes du côté du manche_ = You are on the winning side.

  _Donner à côté_ = To miss the mark.


Coton

  _Depuis sa faillite il file un mauvais coton_ (fam.) = Since his
  failure, his health (_or_, reputation) has entirely broken down.


Coucher

  _On est plus couché que debout_ = Life is short compared with
  eternity.

  _Je l’ai couché en joue_ = I aimed at him.

  _Coucher dans son fourreau_ = To go to sleep without undressing;
  To turn in all standing (nav.).

  *_Comme on fait son lit, on se couche_ = As you make your bed, so
  you must lie on it.

  _Se coucher comme les poules_ = To go to bed with the sun, very
  early.

  _Coucher sur la dure_ = To lie on the ground, on the floor.


Coude

  _Il ne se mouche pas du coude_ (fam.) = 1. He is no fool. 2. He
  does things in grand style. (See _Pied_.)

  _Il a mal au coude_ (fam.) = He is very lazy. (See _Main_.)


Coudée

  _Avoir les coudées franches_ = (lit.) To have elbow-room; (fig.)
  To have full scope.


Coudre

  _On ne sait quelle pièce y coudre_ = One does not know how to
  prevent (_or_, cure) it.


Coule

  _C’est un homme à la coule_ (pop.) = He is a smart, knowing chap.

    [Compare: _Il la connaît dans les coins, celui-là_ = He knows his
    business in every corner.]


Couler

  _Ce qu’il dit coule de source_ = What he says comes from the
  heart, comes fluently from his lips.

  _Cela coule de source_ = That follows naturally.

  _Couler à fond_ = (of ships) To founder; (of persons) To be
  ruined.

  *_Il faut laisser couler l’eau_ = What can’t be cured must be
  endured.


Coulisse

  _Faire les yeux en coulisse_ = To make sheep’s eyes; To ogle.


Coup

  *_Faire d’une pierre deux coups_ = To kill two birds with one
  stone.

  _Cette démarche a porté coup_ = That step told, had its effect.

  _Sans coup férir_ = Without striking a blow.

  _Il a fait un bon coup_ = He has made a good bargain.

  _Il vient de faire un mauvais coup_ = He has just committed a
  crime.

  _Pour le coup il ne m’échappera pas_ = This time he will not
  escape me.

  _J’irai à coup sûr_ = I shall go to a certainty.

  _C’est donner un coup d’épée dans l’eau_ = It is an unsuccessful
  attempt. (See _Eau_.)

  _Il m’a porté un coup fourré_ = He struck me a blow in the dark.

    [This is a term derived from fencing; _un coup fourré_ is a
    blow struck at an adversary at the same moment that he strikes.]

  _Le coup vaut la balle_ = It is worth trying.

  _Il faut toujours qu’elle donne son coup de patte_ = She always
  makes sarcastic (_or_, unpleasant) remarks.

  _C’est un coup monté_ = It is a pre-arranged affair.

  _On lui a monté le coup_ = They induced him to do it; They
  deceived him.

  _Il a bu un coup de trop_ = He has had a drop too much.

  _C’est venu après coup_ = It came too late, after the event.

  _Faire les cent coups_ = To amuse oneself noisily; To play all
  sorts of tricks.

  _Être aux cent coups_ = To be half mad (distracted) with anxiety;
  To be in the greatest difficulties.

  _C’est un coup qui porte_ = That is a home-thrust.

  _Avoir un coup de marteau_ = To be a little touched.

  _J’ai écrit trois lettres coup sur coup_ = I wrote three letters
  one after the other.

  _Un coup de sang_ = A rush of blood to the head.

  _Un coup de Jarnac_ = A treacherous blow; A blow below the belt.

    [In a duel before the whole Court in 1547, Gui Chabot, Seigneur
    de Jarnac, wounded his adversary, La Châtaigneraie, with an
    unfair stroke. La Châtaigneraie refused to survive such an
    affront, tore off the bandages placed over his wound, and bled to
    death.]

  _Un coup de fouet_ = (lit.) A crack of a whip; (fig.) A sudden
  contraction of the muscles of the leg (or back).

  _Un coup d’état_ = A sudden, unexpected act of policy; A violent
  change in the Government (_e.g._ 18 brumaire 1799, or 2 décembre
  1851).

  _Un coup de fion_ (fam.) = A finishing touch.

  _Donner le coup de grâce_ = To give the finishing stroke.

  _Il gagna mille francs tout d’un coup_ = He won £40 at one shot,
  all at once, at one “go.”

  _Il s’en alla tout à coup_ = He went away suddenly, abruptly.

    [_Tout d’un coup_ and _tout à coup_ are frequently used
    indiscriminately, even by French people.]

  _Un coup de tête_ = A moment of passion; a rash action.

  _Donner un coup de main_ = To give a helping hand.

  _J’ai manqué mon coup_ = I missed my shot; I failed.

  _Ils l’ont moulu de coups_ = They beat him black and blue.

    [A well-known quotation from Corneille runs:

      “Mes pareils à deux fois ne se font pas connaître
      Et pour leurs coups d’essai veulent des coups de maître.”--
      _Le Cid_, ii. 2.]


Coupe

  *_Il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres_ = There is many a slip
  ’twixt the cup and the lip.

    [The Greek πολλὰ μεταξὺ πέλει κύλικος καὶ χείλεος ἄκρου is said
    to have had its origin in the following circumstances:--Anceaus,
    an ancient King of Samos, treated with extreme cruelty his
    slaves who were planting a vineyard for him; until at length one
    more ill-used than the rest prophesied that for his cruelty he
    should never drink of its wine. When the first vintage was over
    the master bade this slave fill him a goblet, and, taking it in
    his hands, he taunted him with the failure of his prophecy. The
    slave answered with these words; and as he was speaking news
    was brought of a huge wild boar that was wasting the vineyard.
    Setting down the untasted cup and snatching up a spear the master
    went out to meet the wild boar and was slain in the encounter.
    Compare the Latin: Inter calicem et os multa cadunt; and the
    Spanish: De la mano a la boca se pierde la sopa.

    Other variants in French are:

      _Entre la bouche et le verre
      Le vin souvent tombe à terre._

      _Vin versé n’est pas avalé._

      _En amour, en cour, et à la chasse.
      Chacun ne prend ce qu’il pourchasse._]

  _Mettre en coupe réglée_ = (lit.) To cut down periodically (of
  forests); (fig.) To lay regularly under contribution.


Couper

  _Il s’est coupé dans ses réponses_ = He contradicted himself in
  his answers.

  _Il lui a coupé la parole_ = He interrupted him.

  _Son père lui a coupé les vivres_ = His father stopped his
  allowance.

  _Ce verre de bière m’a coupé les jambes_ = My legs feel shaky
  after that glass of beer.

  _Couper un cheveu en quatre_ = To split hairs.

  _Coupons le câble_ = Let us take the decisive step.

    [Sieyès, June 10, 1789.]

  _Cela lui a coupé le sifflet_ (pop.) = That stopped his mouth;
  That shut him up.

  _Je vais y couper_ (pop.) = I am going to “cut” that; I am not
  going to do it.


Courage

  _Prenez votre courage à deux mains_ = Summon up all your courage.

  _Courage! tout finira bien_ = Cheer up! all will yet be well.


Courant

  _Je vous écrirai fin courant_ (commercial) = I will write to you
  at the end of the present month.

  _Je ne suis pas au courant de l’affaire_ = I have not the latest
  information on the point; I am not up (well posted) in the matter.


Courir

  _Par le temps qui court_ = Nowadays; As times go.

  _Être fou à courir les champs_ = To be as mad as a March hare.

  _Nous courons même fortune_ = We are rowing in the same boat.

  “_Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point_” = It is no
  good hurrying if you have not started in time.

    [LA FONTAINE, _Le lièvre et la tortue_, vi. 10.]


Courrier

  _Répondez par retour du courrier_ = Answer by return of post.

  _Faire son courrier_ (commercial) = To write one’s letters.


Courroie

  _Il faut lui serrer la courroie_ = We must curtail his allowance;
  We must keep him on short commons.

  _Faire du cuir d’autrui large courroie_ = To be generous with
  other people’s money.


Cours

  _Les pièces des États du Pape n’ont plus cours_ = The coins of
  the Papal States are no longer legal tender.

  _Un capitaine au long cours_ = A captain of a trading vessel
  going to foreign ports.


Court

  _Je suis resté court_ = I did not know what to say.

  _Je l’ai pris à court_ = I took him unawares.

  _Il se trouve à court (d’argent)_ = He is short of money.

  _Dites cela tout court_ = Say that and no more.

  _Il l’a appelé Jean tout court_ = He called him simply (_or_,
  just) John (without Mr. or surname).


Couteau

  _Ils sont à couteaux tirés_ = They are at daggers drawn.

    [Formerly: _Ils en sont aux couteaux tirés._]

  _Aller en Flandre sans couteau_ = To embark in an enterprise
  without the necessary resources.

    [Also: _Aller aux mûres sans crochet._]

  _C’est comme le couteau de Jeannot_ = That is like the Irishman’s
  gun (said of anything that has been mended so often as to have
  nothing of the original left).


Coûter

  _Rien ne lui coûte_ = He sticks at nothing; He spares no trouble.

  _Coûte que coûte_ = Cost what it may.

  _Coûter les yeux de la tête_ = To cost a small fortune, a fearful
  lot of money.


Coutume

  *_Une fois n’est pas coutume_ = It is only this once; One swallow
  does not make a summer; Once does not count.


Coutumier

  _Il est coutumier du fait_ = It is not the first time he has done
  it.


Couture

  _Ils étaient battus à plate couture_ = They were beaten hollow.


Couvercle

  _Couvercle digne du chaudron_ = The lid matches the caldron; They
  are a precious pair; _Arcades ambo._


Couvert

  _Mettez le couvert_ = Lay the cloth (for dinner).

  _Mettez un couvert de plus_ = Put another knife and fork (for
  another guest); Lay for one more.


Cracher

  _C’est son père tout craché_ (fam.) = He is the very spit (_or_,
  less fam., image) of his father.

  _Il a craché en l’air et ça lui est retombé sur le nez_ (pop.) =
  He wished to do harm to another but it recoiled on himself.

  _Il ne crache pas dessus_ = He does not despise it; He likes it
  very much.


Crémaillère

  _Pendre la crémaillère_ = To give a house warming.

    [Crémaillère = tige de fer suspendue au dessus du foyer d’une
    cheminée garnie de crans, qui permettent de la fixer plus ou
    moins haut, et terminée par un bout recourbé auquel on accroche
    une marmite. Compare Longfellow’s poem “The Hanging of the
    Crane.”]


Crever

  _Le roi Jean a crevé les yeux à Arthur_ = King John caused
  Arthur’s eyes to be put out.

  _Je ne voyais pas mon livre, cependant il me crevait les yeux_ =
  I did not see my book, yet it was staring me in the face (right
  under my nose).


Cri

  _Il n’y a qu’un cri sur son compte_ = There is only one opinion
  about him.

  _Elle poussa les hauts cris_ = She screamed at the top of her
  voice; She complained loudly.

  _C’est le dernier cri_ = It is the last thing out.


Cribler

  _Criblé de mitraille_ = Riddled with grape-shot.

  _Criblé de dettes_ = Over head and ears in debt.


Crier

  _Crier famine sur un tas de blé_ = To cry out for what one has in
  plenty.

  _Plumer la poule sans la faire crier_ = To fleece a person
  adroitly, without his perceiving it.


Crin

  _Un républicain à tous crins_ = Every inch a republican.

    [Properly of a horse with flowing mane and tail, hence thorough,
    strong.]


Crochet

  _Il a trente ans, et cependant il vit aux crochets de sa mère_ =
  He is thirty years old, and yet his mother has to keep him.


Croire

  _Il s’en croit beaucoup_ = He thinks a great deal of himself.

  _C’est à n’y pas croire_ = It is not to be believed; It is so
  extraordinary (incredible, preposterous) that we can hardly
  believe it.

  _A l’en croire il a eu tous les prix_ = If he is to be believed
  he won all the prizes.

  “_Et chacun croit fort aisément
    Ce qu’il craint et ce qu’il désire._”
  = The wish is father to the thought.

    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, i. 6. Le loup et le renard.

    Compare 2 _Henry IV._, iv. 5.

    “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.”--CÆSAR, iii. 18.]


Croix

  _Aller au devant de quelqu’un avec la croix et la bannière_ =
  To receive any one with great fuss and ceremony (often used
  ironically).


Croquer

  _Votre enfant est gentil à croquer_ = Your child is a charming
  little fellow.

  _Il croquait le marmot_ = He was dancing attendance; He was
  cooling his heels.

    [Littré gives as the explanation of this obscure expression that
    artists while waiting for their patrons used to draw pictures
    of little monkeys (_marmot_) in the vestibule. Others assert
    that in the antechambers of the rich were to be found dishes
    of cakes in the form of little monkeys, which visitors used
    to eat (_croquer_) whilst waiting. But both explanations need
    confirmation.]


Cru

  _S’agenouiller à cru_ = To kneel on the bare ground, on the cold
  stone (without a hassock or carpet).

    [Literally, to kneel on the bare knee, but the quality has passed
    from the person to the object.]

  _C’est de son cru_ = That is of his own creation.


Cruche

  _C’est une vraie cruche_ (fam.) = She is a silly goose.


Cuir

  _Pester entre cuir et chair_ (fam.) = To fume inwardly.

  _Faire des cuirs_ = To drop one’s h’s.

    [Really these are faults made by uneducated French people in
    pronunciation, consisting in sounding _s_ for _t_, or _vice
    versa_, when running their words together or in pronouncing these
    letters when they do not occur, as: _ils étaient_ z_ici_, for
    _ils étaient ici_.]


Cuirasse

  _Les observations glissent sur lui comme sur une cuirasse_ =
  Blame slips off him as water off a duck’s back.


Cuire

  _Vous viendrez cuire à mon four_ = Some day you will need my
  assistance.

  _Il vous en cuira_ = You will smart for it.

  _Avoir son pain cuit_ = To have one’s bread and cheese, a
  competency.


Culbute

  *_Au bout du fossé la culbute_ = At the end of the run comes the
  fall.

    [This expression refers to those who, from carelessness or
    wrong-headedness, are resigned to the consequences of their bad
    conduct.]


Cuver

  _Cuver son vin_ = To sleep oneself sober.



D.


Dame

  _Une grande dame de par le monde_ = A great lady in the eyes of
  the world.

    [This should be written _Une grande dame de la part du monde_.
    Littré points out that the error in spelling _par_ for _part_
    is a very old one; it would appear to date from the thirteenth
    century from the examples he quotes. _De par le monde_ must be
    derived from _de parte mundi_, as _de per_ was never used.]


Damer

  _Damer le pion à quelqu’un_ = To outwit some one.

    [From the game of draughts, _dame_ = a king, _pion_ = a man.]


Damner

  _Cet homme est son âme damnée_ = That man does his dirty work for
  him, is his tool.

    [The man who does the dirty work knows he is damning his soul by
    doing it, but does it all the same for the money or interest it
    brings him.]


Danger

  _Il n’y a pas de danger_ = No fear of that; Don’t you fret!


Danser

  _Il ne sait sur quel pied danser_ = He does not know which way to
  turn.

  _Il en dansera en l’air_ = He will swing for it.

  _Danser devant le buffet_ = To have nothing to eat.


Dater

  _Cet événement date de loin_ = That event happened long ago.


Dé

  _A vous le dé_ = It is your turn to play (at dice). [See _Avoir_.]

  _Ne nous flattez pas le dé_ = Speak out without any reserve.

    [_Flatter le dé_ is to let the dice slide gently out of the box.]

  “_Car madame à jaser tient le dé tout le jour_” = Madame
  engrosses the conversation all day long.
  [MOLIÈRE, _Tartufe_, i. 1.]


Débandade

  _Ils laissèrent tout à la débandade_ = They left all at sixes and
  sevens, in confusion.

  _Fuir à la débandade_ = To fly helter-skelter.


Débit

  _Le ministre lui a accordé un débit de tabac_ = The minister has
  given him a license to sell tobacco.

    [The sale of tobacco, snuff, gunpowder, and cards is a Government
    monopoly in France.]


Debout

  *_Mieux vaut goujat debout qu’empereur enterré_ = “A living dog
  is better than a dead lion.”--Ecclesiastes ix. 4.

    [LA FONTAINE, _La Matrone d’Éphèse_. _Goujat_ first meant
    a soldier’s servant (as here), now it means a hodman, or
    bricklayer’s apprentice, hence a vulgar, coarse fellow, a
    bungler.]

  _Cela ne tient pas debout_ = That won’t hold water.


Débrider

  _Il a écrit vingt pages sans débrider_ = He has written twenty
  pages at a stretch.


Déchausser

  _Il ne faut pas se déchausser pour manger cela_ = It is not worth
  while sitting down to eat that.

    [The ancients were in the habit of reclining bare-foot at their
    meals.]


Décoiffer

  *_Décoiffer (Découvrir) St. Pierre pour coiffer St. Paul_ =
  To rob Peter to pay Paul.


Découvrir

  _On a découvert le pot aux roses_ = They have discovered the
  mystery, the secret.

  _Être à découvert_ = To be unprotected, undisguised.


Décrocher

  _Un décrochez-moi-ça_ (pop.) = A reach-me-down (second-hand
  garment).


Dedans

  _Elle est tout en dedans_ = She is not communicative.

  _On l’a mis dedans_ (fam.) = 1. They took him in (_i.e._ they
  deceived him). 2. They ran him in (_i.e._ they put him in prison).

    [The second meaning is more often translated: “On l’a coffré.”]

  _Comme un nigaud, j’ai donné dedans_ = Like a goose, I fell into
  the trap.

  _Je ne sais si je suis dedans ou dehors_ = I do not know which
  side to take; I do not know whether I have made a profit or not.


Défaire

  _Il a le visage défait_ = He has a pale, worn-out look.


Défaite

  _Cette marchandise est d’une bonne défaite_ = These goods have a
  quick sale.


Défaut

  _Attaquez-le au défaut de la cuirasse_ = Attack him on his weak
  point.


Défense

  _Défense d’afficher_ = Stick no bills.

  _Défense d’entrer_ = No admittance.

  _Défense d’entrer sous peine d’amende_ = Trespassers will be
  prosecuted.


Dégainer

  _Être brave jusqu’au dégainer_ = To be brave until it come to
  blows.

    [_Dégainer_ = to unsheathe a sword.]


Dégourdir

  _Ils auront à se dégourdir ou à déguerpir_ = They will either
  have to wake up or to clear out.

  _Se dégourdir les jambes_ = To stretch one’s legs; To go out for
  a run.


Dégoûter

  _Faire le dégoûté_ = To be fastidious, dainty.

  _Si j’avais la fortune de Rothschild, je serais content._--_Vous
  n’êtes pas dégoûté!_ = If I had Rothschild’s fortune I should be
  satisfied.--I should rather think so!


Dehors

  _Sauver le dehors_ = To save appearances.

  _Il n’a pas de dehors_ = His personal appearance is not
  prepossessing; He looks nobody.


Délit

  _En flagrant délit_ = In the very act; red-handed.

    [Lat. _In flagrante delicto._]


Déloger

  _Déloger sans tambour ni trompette_ = To leave without beat of
  drum.


Demain

  _Avec lui c’est toujours demain_ = He always procrastinates.


Demandeur

  *_A beau demandeur beau refuseur_ = Diamond cut diamond.

    [_i.e._ “If you are not ashamed to ask, I am not ashamed to
    refuse.”]


Démanger

  _La langue lui démange_ = He longs to speak; He is dying to put
  in a word.


Denier

  _Cet homme n’a pas un denier vaillant_ = That man is not worth a
  brass farthing.

  _Rendre compte à livres, sous et deniers_ = To give an account to
  the uttermost farthing.


Dent

  _J’ai les dents bien longues aujourd’hui_ = I am very hungry
  to-day.

  _Je suis sur les dents_ = I am done up.

  _J’ai une dent contre lui_ = I have a grudge against him.

    [Also: _Je lui garde un chien de ma chienne_ (pop.).]

  _Autant prendre la lune avec les dents_ = You might just as well
  try and scale the moon.

  _Manger du bout des dents_ = To eat without an appetite; To eat
  daintily.

    [“Dente superbo.”--HORACE, _Satires_, ii. 6, 87. Compare: _rire
    du bout des dents_.]

  _Déchirer quelqu’un à belles dents_ = To tear a person’s
  reputation to shreds.

    [Also more forcibly: _Passer quelqu’un à tabac._]


Dépense

  *_Les folles dépenses refroidissent la cuisine_ = Wilful waste
  makes woeful want.


Déplaire

  _Qu’il ne vous en déplaise_ = With your permission; By your
  leave; If you’ll allow me; An it please you.

    [Sometimes shortened to: _Ne vous déplaise_, as in LA FONTAINE,
    _Fables_, i. 1. The sense is often ironical, and means, “whether
    you like it or not.”]


Dépourvu

  _Au dépourvu_ = Unprepared.


Dératé

  _Courir comme un dératé_ = To go like a shot; To run like mad.

    [_Rate_=spleen. The Greeks believed that men and animals ran
    faster if their spleen was removed. “On sait que l’extirpation de
    la rate se pratiquait chez les coureurs d’antiquité pour éviter
    l’essoufflement.”--COUVREUR, _Les Merveilles du Corps humain_.
    Comp. PLINY, xxvi. 13.]


Dernier

  _Une représentation du dernier vulgaire_ = A display vulgar to
  the last degree; A very low show.

    [“Ce que vous dites là est du dernier bourgeois.”
                     MOLIÈRE, _Les Précieuses Ridicules_, sc. 5.]


Désirer

  *_Plus on désire une chose, plus elle se fait attendre_ = A
  watched pot never boils.

  _Cela laisse à désirer_ = There is room for improvement.


Désorienter

  _Je suis désorienté_ = 1. I am disconcerted. 2. I am out of my
  element; I do not feel at home; I have lost my bearings.


Desserrer

  _Je n’ai pas desserré les dents_ = I never opened my lips.


Dessus

  _Par dessus le marché_ = Into the bargain; Over and above.

  _Il n’y a rien au dessus de cela_ = That beats everything.

  _Sens dessus dessous_ = All upside down; Topsy-turvy.

  _Ils ont eu le dessus_ = They got the best of it.

    [_Avoir le dessous_ = to get the worst of it.]

  _Prendre le dessus_ = To gain the upper hand.

  _J’en ai par dessus la tête_ = I am worried out of my life with
  it.

  _Il le fera par dessus l’épaule_ = He will never do it.

    [Comp. “over the left,” in schoolboy slang.]

  _Il m’a regardé par dessus l’épaule_ = He looked at me
  contemptuously.


Destinée

  _On n’échappe pas à sa destinée_ = He that is born to be hanged
  will never be drowned.


Détente

  _Il est dur à la détente_ = (fig.) He is close-fisted, a miser.


Déterrer

  _Il a l’air d’un déterré_ = He looks as pale as death, as pale as
  a ghost.


Détour

  _Faire un détour_ = To go a roundabout way.

  _Il est sans détour_ = He is straightforward.


Dette

  _Il est criblé de dettes_ = He is head over ears in debt.

    [For _criblé_ one finds _accablé_, _perdu_, or _abîmé_.]

  _Des dettes criardes_ = Small debts to trades-people or workmen
  (who are continually asking for their money).


Deuil

  _J’en ai fait mon deuil_ = I have resigned myself to the loss of
  it.


Deux

  _Maintenant, à nous deux!_ = Now I will settle with you; Now is
  the time for a private explanation; Now to business.

  *_Deux s’amusent, trois s’embêtent_ (fam.) = Two’s company,
  three’s none.

  _Tous les deux jours_; _De deux jours l’un_ = Every other day.

  _Piquer des deux_ = To spur on one’s horse; To rush forward.


Devant

  *_Les premiers vont devant_ = First come, first served.

  _Il faut prendre les devants_ = One must be first in the field.

  _Allons au-devant de lui_ = Let us go and meet him.


Dévider

  _Mathurin dévide le jars_ (pop.) = Jack Tar is spinning a yarn.


Devoir

  _Il doit au tiers et au quart (à Jean et à Paul)_ = He owes
  money to everybody.

  _Il doit plus d’argent qu’il n’est gros_ = He owes more money
  than he can pay.

  *_Qui a terme ne doit rien_ = No one need pay before a debt is
  due.

  *_Qui ne doit rien n’a rien à craindre_ = Out of debt, out of
  danger.

  *_A chacun son dû_ = Give the devil his due; Every man is worth
  his hire.

  *_Fais ce que dois, advienne que pourra_ = Do your duty, come
  what may.

  _Dussé-je en mourir_ = Were I to die for it.

  _Chose convenue, chose due_ = A promise must be kept.


Dévolu

  _J’ai jeté mon dévolu sur cela_ = I have fixed my choice upon
  that.


Dévotion

  _Il n’est de dévotion que de jeune prêtre_ = Enthusiasm wears out
  in time; New brooms sweep clean. (See _Balai_.)


Diable

  _C’est le diable qui bat sa femme et qui marie sa fille_ = It is
  raining and the sun is shining at the same time.

  _Tirer le diable par la queue_ = To be always hard up for a
  living.

  _Faire le diable à quatre_ = To make a terrible noise; To play
  all sorts of tricks. (See _Quatre_.)

  _Le diable chante la grand’messe_ = He hides his vices under the
  cloak of religion.

  _C’est le diable à confesser_ = It is terribly hard to do.

  _Il a le diable au corps_ = He is never still, quite
  unmanageable, very energetic.

  _C’est un air de porter le diable en terre_ = It is an air to
  conjure up the devil.

  *_Il n’est pas si diable qu’il est noir_ = The devil is not as
  black as he is painted.

    [Or: _Le diable n’est pas si noir qu’il en a l’air._]

  _Se démener comme un diable dans un bénitier_ = To rush about
  half-mad.

  _Loger le diable dans sa bourse_ = To be penniless. (See
  _Bourse_.)

      [“Et logeant le diable en sa bourse,
        C’est à dire, n’y logeant rien.”
                                  LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, ix. 16.]

  _Quand le diable fut vieux il se fit ermite_ = The devil was
  sick, the devil a monk would be, The devil was well, the devil a
  monk was he!

    [Compare the Italian:

    Passata il punto, gabbato il santo = The peril past, the saint
    mocked.

    Also: The river past and God forgotten.]

  _Aller au diable Vauvert_ (corrupted into _au vert_) = To go very
  far away, a devil of a way; To disappear.

    [The Carthusians having been given a large building at Gentilly
    by St. Louis, coveted the abandoned mansion of Vauvert (= _vallon
    vert_), which they could see from their windows. But to ask for
    it without a valid reason was to court refusal. So they caused
    it to be haunted by evil spirits, and the king was soon glad to
    get rid of this uncanny possession. It is needless to add that
    the spirits were exorcised directly the monks took possession. It
    stood in the _rue de Vauvert_, beyond the Luxembourg, which was
    until lately called the _rue d’Enfer_. As this was then a remote
    suburb of Paris, the expression was equivalent to going to the
    end of the town, and thus, very far off.]

  _C’est là le diable_ (or, _le hic_) = There is the rub.

  _Elle a la beauté du diable_ = All her beauty consists in her
  youth and freshness.

  _Fait à la diable_ (i.e. _à la manière du diable_) = Done anyhow,
  in a slipshod way.


Dieu

  _À Dieu ne plaise!_ = God forbid!

  _Jurer ses grands dieux_ = To affirm vehemently; To swear by all
  that one holds sacred.


Différer

  *_Ce qui est différé n’est pas perdu_ = All is not lost that is
  delayed.

    [German: Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben.]


Diligence

  _Voyager par la diligence d’Adam_ = To travel on shanks’ nag.

    [German: Auf Schusters Rappen.]


Dindon

  _C’est un franc dindon_ = He is a thorough goose.

  _Être le dindon de la farce_ = To be the dupe.


Dire

  _Pour tout dire_ = In a word.

  _C’est tout dire_ = That is saying all, enough.

    [_e.g._ “Cet homme est-il honnête?”--“Je lui ai prêté 500 fr. il
    y a deux ans et il n’a jamais voulu me rendre un sou. C’est tout
    dire.”]

  _Pour ainsi dire_ = So to speak.

  _Je ne vous dis que ça_ = I cannot tell you any more, but it is a
  fact.

    [This can also be translated: “I can tell you!” as in “Je me suis
    bien amusé, je ne vous dis que ça!”]

  _Pour mieux dire_ = Or rather.

  _Je me le suis tenu pour dit_ = I took it for granted.

  _Soit dit entre nous_ = Quite between ourselves.

  _Cela est bon à dire, mais..._ = That is all very well for a
  speech, but...; That is all very fine, but...

  _Il est sensible au qu’en dira-t-on_ = He is sensitive to public
  opinion; He is easily influenced by what people say about him, by
  what Mrs. Grundy will say.

  _Il était dit que j’arriverais trop tard_ = The Fates had willed
  that I should come too late.

  _Quand je vous le disais!_ (or, _Je vous l’avais bien dit!_) = I
  told you so!

  _Ah! vous m’en direz tant!_ = 1. Well, that alters the case! 2.
  Ah! now I understand, why did you not say so at first? 3. There’s
  no going against such a reason as that.

    [This expression has almost as many meanings as _n’est-ce pas_.
    The above are a few of them. It is often used ironically.]

  _A qui le dites-vous?_ = Am I not perfectly aware of it? Don’t I
  know it?

  _Au dire de tout le monde_ = According to what everybody says;
  According to the general opinion.

  _Je l’irai dire à Rome_ = It is so unlikely, that if it happens I
  will undertake a pilgrimage to Rome; I’ll eat my hat.

    [Comp. RACINE, _Épigramme III. Sur Andromaque_.]

  _Cela ne me dit rien_ = That has no effect upon me; I have no
  desire for it.


Discrétion

  _On nous donna du vin à discrétion_ = They gave us as much wine
  as we wanted (wine _ad libitum_).


Distance

  _La distance grandit tout prestige_ =

      “’Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
        And robes the mountain in its azure hue.”
                           [CAMPBELL, _Pleasures of Hope_, i. 7.]


Doigt

  _Je lui ai donné sur les doigts_ = I rapped his knuckles (lit.
  and fig.).

  _Il y met les quatre doigts et le pouce_ = (lit.) He eats
  greedily; (fig.) He acts clumsily.

  _Ils sont comme les deux doigts de la main_ = They are hand and
  glove together, inseparable.

  _Vous avez mis le doigt dessus_ = You have hit the right nail on
  the head; You have touched the spot.

  _Mon petit doigt me l’a dit_ = A little bird told me so.

  _Il était à deux doigts de la mort_ = He was at death’s door,
  within an ace of death.

  _Se fourrer le doigt dans l’œil jusqu’au coude_ (pop.) = To
  deceive oneself most blindly; To put one’s foot in it.

  _Savoir sur le bout du doigt_ = To know perfectly; To have at
  one’s finger-ends.

  _Il lui obéit au doigt et à l’œil_ = He is at his beck and call.

  _Un doigt de vin_ (fam.) = A toothful of wine.


Dommage

  _C’est dommage!_ = What a pity.


Donner

  _Ils lui en ont donné tout du long de l’aune_ = They beat him
  black and blue.

  _Je vous le donne en dix_ = I bet you ten to one you will not
  guess it.

  *_Qui donne tôt donne deux fois_ = He gives twice who gives in a
  trice.

    [“Bis dat qui celeriter dat.”--PUBLIUS SYRUS. _Cito_, which
    is now used instead of _celeriter_, appears to be a later
    alteration.]

  _Le régiment a donné_ = The regiment has engaged.

  _On ne lui donnerait pas quarante ans_ = You would not take him
  for forty.

  _On t’en donnera des tabliers propres pour les salir_ = You ask
  too much.

  _J’ai passé quinze jours à Paris et je m’en suis donné_ = I spent
  a fortnight in Paris, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    [This idiom implies movement, excitement, &c.]


Dormir

  _Dormir sur les deux oreilles_ = (lit.) To sleep soundly; (fig.)
  To have no cause for anxiety.

  _Dormir comme une marmotte, comme un sabot, comme une souche,
  les_ (or, _à_) _poings fermés_ = To sleep like a top, like a log.

  _Dormir la grasse matinée_ = To lie late in bed.

  _Il nous a dit des contes à dormir debout_ = He told us tedious,
  nonsensical tales, old wives’ tales.

  [“Γραῶν ὕθλος.”--PLATO, _Rep._ 350 E.
                                     “Aniles fabellae.”--CICERO.]

  *_Qui dort dîne_ = Sleeping is as good as eating.

  *_Qui a renommée de se lever matin peut dormir jusqu’à midi_ = A
  good reputation covers a multitude of sins.

  _Dormir en gendarme_ = To sleep with one eye open.


Dos

  *_Il ne se laisse pas manger la laine sur le dos_ = He is not the
  man to let himself be made a fool of; He will not allow people to
  take the food out of his mouth; He will not tamely submit to any
  imposition.

  _Le juge les a renvoyés dos à dos_ = The judge nonsuited them
  both.

  _Il fait le gros dos_ = He gives himself airs.

  _En dos d’âne_ = Sloping on both sides, sharp-ridged.

  _Je me suis mis le juge à dos_ = I have made an enemy of the
  judge.

  _J’en ai plein le dos_ (pop.) = I am sick and tired of it.

  _Il a bon dos_ = His back is broad enough to stand a good deal.


Double

  _C’est un double coquin_ = He is a thorough rascal.

  _C’est un homme double_ = He is a double-faced man.


Douceur

  *_Plus fait douceur que violence_ = Kindness does more than
  harshness; More flies are caught with honey than with vinegar.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vi. 3.]

  _Il faudra le prendre en douceur_ = You must tackle him gently.


Doute

  _Cela ne fait aucun doute_ = There is no doubt about it.

  _Dans le doute abstiens-toi_ = When in doubt, do nothing.


Douter

  _Je ne me doutais de rien_ = I did not suspect anything.

  _Je m’en doutais_ = I thought so.


Douzaine

  _C’est un poète comme on en trouve à la douzaine_ = He is a very
  minor poet.
    [RÉGNIER, _Sat._ iv.]


Dragée

  _Tenir la dragée haute à quelqu’un_ = To make a person pay well
  (_or_, wait a long time) for what he desires.


Dragon

  _Cette femme est un vrai dragon_ = 1. That woman is a virago. 2.
  That woman is very masculine (in appearance and manners).


Drap

  _Je suis dans de beaux draps_ = I am in a fine mess, in a pretty
  pickle.

  _Il voudrait avoir le drap et l’argent_ = He would like to have
  his cake and eat it too.


Drapeau

  _Elle a déjà un fils sous les drapeaux_ = She already has a son
  in the army.


Droit

  _Remettez ceci à qui de droit_ = Give this to the proper person,
  to the person who has a right to it.

  _Il fera droit à votre demande_ = He will accede to your request.

  _Il fait son droit_ = He is studying for the bar.


Drôle

  _C’est un drôle de corps_ = He is a queer fish.

  _C’est un mauvais drôle_ = He is a downright scamp.


Dru

  _Frapper fort et dru_ = To strike with might and main.



E.


Eau

  *_Il n’est pire eau que l’eau qui dort_ = Still waters run deep.

  *_C’est porter de l’eau à la mer_ (or, _rivière_) = It is
  carrying coals to Newcastle.

    [The Greek equivalent was Γλαῦκας εἰς Αθήνας = Owls to Athens;
    the Hebrew “Enchantments to Egypt,” and the Late Latin
    “Indulgences to Rome.”]

  _Cet homme aime à pêcher en eau trouble_ = That man likes fishing
  in troubled waters.

  *_Ils se ressemblent comme deux gouttes d’eau_ = They are as like
  as two peas.

  _Tout va à vau l’eau_ = All is going to wreck and ruin.

    [_A vau l’eau_ = With the current.]

  _Pendant l’inondation le toit de cette maison était à fleur
  d’eau_ = During the flood the top of that house was on a level
  with the water.

  _C’est un donneur d’eau bénite de cour_ = He makes empty promises.

  _Les eaux sont basses chez lui_ = He is hard up; He is in low
  water.

  _C’est donner un coup d’épée dans l’eau_ = It is useless trouble,
  an unsuccessful attempt.

    [“Ἐν ὕδατι γράφειν.”--PLATO, _Phaedrus_, 276 C.]

  _Faire venir l’eau au moulin_ = To bring grist to the mill.

  _Faire venir l’eau à la bouche_ = To make one’s mouth water.

  *_L’eau va toujours au moulin_ = Property always goes to those
  who have some already; Money makes money; Nothing succeeds like
  success.

  _D’ici là il passera bien de l’eau sous le pont_ = It will be a
  long time before that happens.

  _Mettre de l’eau dans son vin_ = (fig.) To come down a peg.

  *_L’eau qui tombe goutte à goutte cave la pierre_ = Dropping
  water will wear away a stone.

    [Ovid begins a line with “Gutta cavat lapidem” an abbreviation of
    the proverb “Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo.”

    “Stillicidi casus lapidem cavat.”--LUCRETIUS, i. 313.]

  *_Une goutte d’eau suffit pour faire déborder un vase plein_ =
  The last straw breaks the camel’s back.

  _Nager entre deux eaux_ = (lit.) To swim under water; (fig.) To
  run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

  _Faire eau_ (of boats) = To spring a leak.

  _Faire de l’eau_ (of boats) = To take in fresh water.

  _Laissez couler l’eau_ = Do not be anxious about what cannot be
  helped; Don’t cry over spilt milk.

  _Cela s’en est allé en eau de boudin_ = That collapsed utterly,
  came to nothing.

    [The more correct form is _s’en aller en aune de boudin_,
    alluding to Perrault’s tale of _Les Souhaits Ridicules_.]


Échapper

  _Ce mot m’est échappé_ = That word escaped me inadvertently
  (_i.e._, I did not mean to say it).

  _Ce mot m’a échappé_ = I have forgotten that word.


Échéant

  _Le cas échéant_ = Should such a thing happen; If such should be
  the case.

Échelle

  _Faire la courte échelle à quelqu’un_ = To allow some one to
  climb on one’s shoulders to scale a height; To give a lift to
  some one.

  _Après lui il faut tirer l’échelle_ = One cannot do better than
  he has (_or_, does); He beats the record, takes the cake.


École

  _Faire l’école buissonnière_ = To play truant.

  _Faire une école_ = To make a blunder.

  _Faire école_ = To found (_or_, to be a leader of) a school of
  art, literature, music, &c.


Écolier

  _Faire un tour d’écolier_ = To play a schoolboy trick.

  _Faire une faute d’écolier_ = To make a foolish mistake.


Économie

  *_Il n’y a pas de petites économies_ = A penny saved is a penny
  earned; Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of
  themselves.

    [Also: _Les petites économies font les bonnes maisons._]


Écorcher

  *_Jamais beau parler n’écorcha la langue_ = Fair words never did
  harm; Civility costs nothing.

  _Il écorche le français_ = He murders French.

  _Il écorche l’anguille par la queue_ = He sets (goes) the wrong
  way to work.


Écorner

  _Il fait un vent à écorner_ (or, _décorner_) _un bœuf_ = The wind
  is enough to blow one’s head off.


Écot

  _Chacun a payé son écot_ = Each paid for himself.


Écouter

  _Comme cet homme s’écoute!_ = What care that man takes of himself!

  _C’est un écoute s’il pleut_ = He is a man who cannot be relied
  upon.

    [Mills were so called which depended for their motive-power on
    rain-water and consequently were continually stopping.]

  _Il n’écoute que d’une oreille_ = He pays very little attention.


Écrire

  _Écrire de bonne encre à quelqu’un_ = To write to some one in
  strong terms.


Écuelle

  _Être propre comme une écuelle de chat_ = To be very dirty.


Écurie

  *_Fermer l’écurie quand les chevaux sont dehors_ = To lock the
  stable door when the steed is stolen.

  _C’est un cheval à l’écurie_ = It is a white elephant.


Effet

  _Cela fait de l’effet_ = That looks well; That is showy; That
  makes a fine display.

  _Cela me fait cet effet_ = That seems so to me.


Égal

  _Cela m’est égal_ = It is all the same to me; I don’t care.

  _Tout lui est égal_ = Everything is the same to him.

  _D’égal à égal_ = 1. Between equals. 2. On equal terms.

  _C’est égal, je me suis joliment amusé_ = Anyhow (All the same),
  I enjoyed myself very much.


Église

  *_Près de l’église, loin de Dieu_ = The nearer the church, the
  farther from God.

  _Gueux comme un rat d’église_ = As poor as a church mouse.


Élan

  _Prendre son élan_ = To take one’s spring (before a jump).


Embarras

  _Ne faites donc pas tant d’embarras_ = Do not make such a fuss.

  _Ce n’est pas l’embarras_ = There is no great difficulty in it;
  After all; For the matter of that.

  _Elle n’a que l’embarras du choix_ = She has only too much to
  choose from.


Emblée

  _La loi passa d’emblée_ = The law passed straight off, by
  acclamation.

  _Il a été reçu d’emblée_ = He passed his examination the first
  time he went up, without any difficulty.


Embrasser

  *_Qui trop embrasse mal étreint_ = Grasp all, lose all.

    [“Qui totum vult totum perdit.”--PUBLIUS SYRUS.

      Qui tout convoite tout perd.
      L’avarice rompt le sac.
      Too much is stark naught.
          “Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
          And the little less, and what worlds away!”
                                     BROWNING, _Dramatic Lyrics_,
                                        ‘_By the Fireside_,’ 39.]


Employer

  _Il a employé le vert et le sec pour y parvenir_ = He left no
  stone unturned to secure success.


Emporter

  _S’emporter comme une soupe au lait_ = To be very hasty-tempered.

  _Ne faites pas attention à ses menaces, autant en emporte le
  vent_ = Pay no attention to his threats, they are as light as air.

  _Emporter ses cliques et ses claques_ = To clear off, bag and
  baggage.

  _C’est une réponse à l’emporte-pièce_ = It is a very cutting
  answer, and to the point.

    [_À l’emporte-pièce_ = Cut out by a machine-punch.]

  _Cela m’emporte la bouche_ = It burns my mouth (_i.e._ it is too
  highly spiced).


Empressé

  _Il fait l’empressé auprès de sa vieille tante_ = He pays marked
  attention to his old aunt.


Emprunter

  _Elle a un air emprunté_ = She looks awkward, embarrassed,
  affected.

  _Ne choisit pas qui emprunte_ = Beggars cannot be choosers.

    [“Qui empruncte ne choisist mie.”
                                  _Maistre Pierre Pathelin_, 79.]


Encensoir

  _Casser le nez à quelqu’un à coups d’encensoir_ = To flatter some
  one fulsomely to his face. (See _Casser_.)


Enchère

  _Payer la folle enchère_ = To pay for one’s rashness, for one’s
  folly.

    [When a man bids at an auction and does not pay for what he has
    bought, the lot is put up again and he has to pay the difference
    (if any) between the price it is then sold at and the price he
    bid for it.]

  _Enchère au rabais_ = A Dutch auction.


Enclume

  _Je suis entre l’enclume et le marteau_ = I am in a dilemma; I am
  between the devil and the deep sea.

  *_Il frappe toujours sur la même enclume_ = He is always harping
  on the same string.

  *_A dure enclume marteau de plume_ = The strokes of adversity
  find the wise man unmoved.

    [“Impavidum ferient ruinae.”
                                         HORACE, _Odes_, iii. 3.]


Endroit

  _Frapper au bon endroit_ = To touch the right spring; To hit the
  right nail on the head; To hit the mark; To touch the spot.


Endimancher

  _Des gens endimanchés_ = Folk rigged out in their Sunday best.


Enfant

  _Des enfants perdus_ (military) = A forlorn hope.

  _Un enfant terrible_ = A child who tells awkward truths.

    [Gavarni, the caricaturist, published a series of sketches in
    1865 under the title of “Les Enfants Terribles.”]

  _Elle a deux enfants du premier lit_ = She has two children by
  her first husband.

  _C’est un enfant de la balle_ = He is his father’s son; He
  follows the profession of his father. (See _Balle_.)

  _C’est bien l’enfant de sa mère_ = He is the very image of his
  mother.

  _Faire l’enfant_ = To behave childishly (on purpose).


Enfiler

  _Je ne suis pas ici pour enfiler des perles_ = I am not here to
  waste my time.

  _Cela ne s’enfile pas comme des perles_ = That is by no means an
  easy matter.


Enfonceur

  _C’est un enfonceur de portes ouvertes_ = 1. He is a braggart. 2.
  He takes a deal of trouble to solve a difficulty which does not
  exist.


Engrenage

  _Être pris dans l’engrenage_ = To be caught in the toils.


Enlever

  _On enleva les journaux comme du pain_ = The papers sold like hot
  rolls, like wild-fire.


Ennemi

  _Il n’y a pas de petit ennemi_ = Every enemy is to be feared.

    [“Croire qu’un faible ennemi ne peut pas nuire, c’est croire
    qu’une étincelle ne peut pas causer un incendie.” Sa’adi.]


Enseigne

  _Nous sommes logés à la même enseigne_ = We are both in the same
  predicament, in the same boat.

    [“ἐν γὰρ τῷ αὐτῷ ἐσμεν σκάμματι.” St. Clement’s Epistle to the
    Church of Corinth.]

  _À telles enseignes_ = In proof whereof; So much so that.

  _Je ne le croirai qu’à bonnes enseignes_ = I shall only believe
  it upon good authority.


Entendre

  _Il entend à demi mot_ = He can take a hint.

  *_À bon entendeur, salut_ = A word to the wise is enough; _Verbum
  sap._

    [“A bon entendeur ne fault qu’une parole.”--RABELAIS,
    _Pantagruel_, v. 7.]

  _Il n’entend pas de cette oreille_ = (fig.) He will listen to
  nothing on that subject.

  _Vous ne vous y entendez pas_ = You do not know how to set about
  it, how to manage it.

  _Il n’entend pas raillerie là-dessus_ = 1. You must not speak
  lightly of that before him. 2. He will not be trifled with on
  that point.

  _Entendre la raillerie_ = To know how to be witty; To be a good
  hand at chaff.

  _Entendre raillerie_ = Not to be offended at a joke; To stand
  chaff well.

  _Il n’y entend pas malice_ = 1. He does not mean any harm; He
  means no more than he says. 2. He takes it innocently.

  _Faire l’entendu_ = To put on a knowing look.

  *_Il n’est pire sourd que celui qui ne veut pas entendre_ = None
  so deaf as those who will not hear.


Entente

  _Un mot à double entente_ = A word (_or_, remark) with two
  meanings.


Enterrer

  *_Mieux vaut goujat debout qu’empereur enterré_ = A living dog is
  better than a dead lion.


Envie

  _J’ai bien envie d’aller à Paris avec vous_ = I have a good mind
  to go to Paris with you.

  _Il ne porte envie à personne_ = He envies no one.

  _Il ne fait envie à personne_ = No one envies him.

  _Si l’envie m’en prend_ = If I feel inclined to do it.


Envoyer

  _Je l’ai envoyé promener_ (or, fam., _paître_) = I sent him about
  his business.


Épée

  _C’est son épée de chevet_ = 1. That is his trusty counsellor. 2.
  That is what he is always talking about.

    [Literally, a sword that hung at the head of a bed to guard one
    from nocturnal attacks.

    “Voilà leur épée de chevet, de l’argent.”--MOLIÈRE, _L’Avare_,
    iii. 5.]

  _Passer au fil de l’épée_ = To put to the sword.

  _Qui porte épée porte paix_ = One sword keeps another in its
  scabbard; _Si vis pacem, para bellum._


Épervier

  *_Mariage d’épervier, la femelle vaut mieux que le mâle_ = The
  grey mare is the better horse.


Épine

  _Tirer une épine du pied à quelqu’un_ = To take a thorn out of
  some one’s side; To get some one over a difficulty.


Épingle

  _Il est toujours tiré à quatre épingles_ = He always looks as if
  he came out of a band-box.

  _J’ai tiré mon épingle du jeu_ = I have saved my stake; I got
  well out of a bad job.

    [Une locution qui vient d’un jeu de petites filles: elles mettent
    des épingles dans un rond, et, avec une balle qui, lancée contre
    le mur, revient vers le rond, elles essayent d’en faire sortir
    les épingles: quand on fait sortir sa mise, on dit qu’on retire
    son épingle du jeu.]

  _Une épingle par jour fait huit sous par an_ = A pin a day is a
  groat a year.


Éponge

  _Passons l’éponge là-dessus_ = Let us say no more about it; Let
  us forget all about it; Let bygones be bygones.


Épreuve

  _C’est un ami à toute épreuve_ = He is a well-tried, faithful,
  trusty friend.


Épuiser

  _L’édition est épuisée_ = The book is out of print.


Équipée

  _Oh! la belle équipée!_ = Here’s a pretty kettle of fish!


Ergot

  _Se dresser sur ses ergots_ = To stand on one’s dignity.


Esprit

  _Je suis bien dans son esprit_ = He has a good opinion of me.

  _Où avez-vous donc l’esprit?_ = What are you thinking of?

  _Il a l’esprit aux talons_ = He shines at the wrong end; He is
  not witty.

  _Il a l’esprit de l’escalier_ = He never thinks of the right
  answer at the proper moment.

    [_i.e._ He thinks of the right answer going down the staircase,
    after leaving the room.]

  _Faire de l’esprit_ = To try and be witty.

  _Il a de l’esprit comme quatre_ = He is very witty.

  _L’esprit court les rues_ = Wit is a drug in the market.

  _Avoir l’esprit bien fait_ = To be good-tempered.

  _Les grands esprits se rencontrent_ = Great wits always jump
  together; We both said the same thing at the same moment.


Essuyer

  _Essuyer les plâtres_ = To move into a newly-built house before
  the walls are dry; (fig.) To experience the disadvantages of a
  beginning.


Estomac

  _Avoir l’estomac dans les talons_ = To be as hungry as a hunter.


État

  _Nous faisons peu d’état de cet homme_ = We consider that man
  very little; We take little account of that man.

  _De son état_ = By profession, by trade.

  _Je l’ai mis hors d’état de vous nuire_ = I have put it out of
  his power to harm you.

  _Pour un rien il se met dans tous ses états_ (fam.) = He gets
  very excited over a mere trifle.

  _L’État, c’est moi!_ = The State! I am the State.

    [CHÉRUEL, _Histoire de l’Administration monarchique en France_,
    Livre II. p. 32.]


Étoffe

  _Il y a de l’étoffe dans cet enfant_ = There is grit in that boy.


Étoile

  _Voir des étoiles (la lune) en plein midi_ = To receive a
  violent blow in the eye, so as to “see stars.”


Étourdir

  _Étourdir la grosse faim_ = To take the edge off one’s appetite.


Être

  _Je n’y suis pour personne_ = I am not at home to anybody.

  _Je n’y suis pour rien_ = I have nothing to do with it; I have no
  hand in it.

  _Vous n’y êtes pas_ = You do not understand it; “You are out of
  it.”

  _J’y suis, j’y reste_ = Here I am, here I stop.

    [Marshal MacMahon in the trenches before the Malakoff, Sept. 9,
    1855.]

  _Cette fois, ça y est_ = Now it is done, and no mistake.

  _Je n’en suis plus_ = I am no longer one of the party; I no
  longer belong to it.

  _Il n’en a rien été_ = Nothing came of it.

  _Il en a été pour sa peine_ = He had his trouble for nothing.

  _Il en sera ce qu’il vous plaira_ = It shall be just as you
  please.

  _Je ne sais plus où j’en suis_ = 1. I have lost the place where I
  left off (in reading, etc.). 2. I do not know what I am about.

  _Je suis très bien avec lui_ = I am on very good terms with him.

  _Êtes-vous de la noce?_ = Are you one of the wedding party?

  _Êtes-vous des nôtres_ = Are you one of our party? Are you one of
  us? Do you think as we do?

  _Voilà ce que c’est que de se mettre en colère_ = That is the
  consequence of losing one’s temper.

  _Je suis à l’étroit_ = I am cramped for room.

  *_On ne peut pas être et avoir été_ = One cannot have one’s cake
  and eat it. (See _Drap_.)


Étrenne

  _Tu n’en auras pas l’étrenne_ = You will not be the first to use
  it.


Étrier

  _Il a le pied à l’étrier_ = He is ready to start.

  _Buvez le coup de l’étrier_ = Drink the stirrup-cup.

  _A franc étrier_ = At full speed. (See _Bride_ and _Train_.)


Évangile

  _C’est l’Évangile_ (or, _c’est parole d’Évangile_) = It is gospel
  truth.


Excuser

  *_Qui s’excuse, s’accuse_ = If you try to excuse yourself you
  practically acknowledge that you have done wrong; A guilty
  conscience needs no accuser.

  _Excusez du peu_ (ironic.) = Only that? How modest!


Exemple

  _Il prêcha d’exemple_ = He practised what he preached; He set the
  example.

  *_Peu de leçons, beaucoup d’exemples_ = Precepts lead, examples
  draw; It is easiest learning at another’s cost.


Expérience

  *_Expérience passe science_ = Experience is the best master;
  Experientia docet.

    [“Experience is the best of schoolmasters, only the school fees
    are heavy.” CARLYLE, _Misc. Essays_, i. 137.]


Extrême

  _Les extrêmes se touchent_ = Extremes meet; Too far east is west;
  Too much care may be as bad as downright negligence.



F.


Fabrique

  _C’est de sa fabrique_ = That is of his invention.

  _Marque de fabrique_ = Trade-mark.


Face

  _Il fera face à tout_ = He will meet every demand.

  _Ce portrait est pris de face_ = That portrait is taken full face.

  _Jouer à pile ou face_ = To play at heads or tails, pitch and
  toss.

  _Il le regarda bien en face_ = He looked him straight in the face.


Façon

  _Donner un ouvrage à façon_ = To put out a job to be done.

  _On travaille à façon_ (of small tailors, etc.) = People’s own
  materials made up.

  _C’est un conte de sa façon_ = It is a story of his own invention.

  _Maintenant qu’il est riche, il s’en donne de la bonne façon_ =
  Now he is rich, he refuses himself nothing.

  _Je lui dirai ma façon de penser_ = I’ll give him a piece of my
  mind.

  _Une façon de parler_ = A form of speech; A way of speaking (not
  to be taken literally).

    [_e.g._ “Quand je dis qu’il n’est jamais venu en Angleterre c’est
    une façon de parler, car il a passé huit jours à Douvres il y a
    dix ans.”]

  _Cet homme n’a ni mine ni façon_ = That man has neither grace nor
  good looks; That man is as awkward as he is ugly.

  _C’est lui qui fait les sottises et c’est moi qui en paye la
  façon_ = He commits the mistakes and I have to pay for them.

  _Il a bonne façon_ = He has good style; He is well got up.

  _De toute façon il a tort_ = At any rate he is wrong; Whichever
  way you look at it, he is wrong.

  _Sans façon_ = Without ceremony, without fuss.

  _De façon ou d’autre_ = Somehow or other.


Fagot

  _C’est un vrai fagot d’épines_ = He is a regular bear.

  *_Il y a fagots et fagots_ = There are men and men; All men are
  not alike.
    [MOLIÈRE, _Le Médecin malgré lui_, i. 6.]

  _Sentir le fagot_ = 1. To be tainted with heresy (obsolete). 2.
  Not to be quite honest.


Fagoter

  _Comme vous voilà fagotée!_ = How awkwardly you are dressed! What
  a fright (_or_, dowdy) you look!

      [“Pour moi, quand une femme a le don de se taire,
        Eût-elle en vrai magot tout le corps fagoté,
        Je lui voudrais donner le prix de la beauté.”
                                        CORNEILLE, _Le Menteur_.]


Faillir

  _J’ai failli tomber_ = I very nearly fell.


Faim

  _C’est la faim qui épouse la soif_ = They are both very poor; It
  is one beggar marrying another.

  *_La faim chasse le loup hors du bois_ = Hunger tames the lion;
  Hunger will break through stone walls.


Faire

  _Rien n’y fait_ = Nothing has any effect upon him (_or_, on it);
  It is all of no use.

  _Comment est-il fait?_ = What sort of a man is he?

  *_Ce qui est fait est fait_ = It is no good crying over spilt
  milk.

  *_On ne peut faire qu’en faisant_ = Practice makes perfect.

  _Faire la Saint-Lundi_ = To do no work on Monday. (See _Lundi_.)

    [Colloquially: _Faire le Lundi._]

  _Tâchez de faire quelques provisions_ = Try and collect some
  provisions.

  _Faire dix ans de travaux forcés_ = To undergo ten years’ penal
  servitude.

  _Il est bon de se faire à la fatigue_ = It is good to accustom
  oneself to fatigue.

  _Coquelin fait le rôle principal_ = Coquelin is taking the
  principal part.

  _On le fait riche_ = He is said to be rich.

  _Cela ne me fait ni chaud ni froid_ = It is all the same to me.

  _Je n’ai que faire de vos conseils_ = I do not care a jot for
  your advice; I do not want your advice.

  *_Qui bien fera, bien (se) trouvera_ = Who works well will
  have a good reward.

  _Il ne faut pas me la faire_ (pop.) = You must not try that on
  with me.

  _Combien faites-vous cette étoffe?_ = How much are you asking for
  this stuff?

  _Il aime à ce qu’on fasse cas de lui_ = He likes to be made a
  fuss of.

  _Il fait bien son chemin_ = He is getting on in the world.

  _Ils ne font qu’un_ = They are hand and glove together.

  _Cela fait beaucoup_ = That makes a great difference.

  _Cela me fait sortir des gonds_ = That exasperates me.

  _Il faut faire mousser sa marchandise_ = One must puff one’s
  goods.

  _Qu’est-ce que cela me fait?_ = What is that to me?

  _Faire huit kilomètres à pied, à cheval, en voiture_ = To walk,
  ride, drive, five miles.

  _Le vert fait bien avec le rose_ = Green goes well with pink;
  Pink and green are fit for a queen.

  _Faire des siennes_ = To be at one’s old tricks.

  _Il n’en fait qu’à sa volonté_ = He is self-willed.

  _C’est à faire à vous de réussir_ = You are the man to succeed.

  _C’en est fait de lui_ = He is done for; It is all up with him.

  _Ce qui est fait n’est pas à faire_ = Better to finish it now
  than to leave it.

  _Ce n’est ni fait ni à faire_ = It is done, but badly, (in a
  slovenly fashion).

  _Il fait cher vivre à Londres_ = Living in London is dear.

  _Que faire?_ = What am I (_or_, are we) to do? What is to be done?

  _Pourquoi faire?_ = What for?

  _Comment faire?_ = What is to be done?

  _Que voulez-vous que j’y fasse?_ = How can I help it? What would
  you have me do? It is no business of mine.

  _Je ne saurais qu’y faire_ = I cannot help it.

  _A chose faite point de remède_ = What is done cannot be undone.

  _Laissez-le faire_ = Do not interfere with him.

  _Si faire se peut_ = If possible.

  _Cela ne fait rien_ = That does not matter.

  _Il n’en fera rien_ = He will do nothing of the sort.

  _Je m’y fais_ = I am getting used to it.

  _C’est bien fait_ = It serves him (_or_, her, you) right.

  _Quel temps fait-il?_ = What is the weather like?

  _Quel temps il fait!_ = What weather this is!

  _Paris ne s’est pas fait en un jour_ = Rome was not built in a
  day.

  _Il s’est fait jardinier_ = He became a gardener.

  _Elle se fait vieille_ = She is getting old.

  _Pour se faire la main_ = To get one’s hand in (_i.e._ to get
  accustomed to the work).

  _Se faire jour à travers la foule_ = To force one’s way through
  the crowd.

  _Je me fais fort de le faire_ = I feel quite confident of doing
  it.

  _Coquelin sait le mieux se faire une tête_ = Coquelin is the
  cleverest at altering his features, at making up.

  _Cela se fait maintenant_ = That is the fashion now.

  _Cela ne se fait pas_ = That is not proper; That is not the
  correct thing.


Faiseur

  _C’est un faiseur d’embarras_ = He is a fussy personage.


Fait

  _Cela est de mon fait_ = That is my doing.

  _Venons au fait_ = Let us come to the point.

  _Mettez-moi au fait de ce qui s’est passé_ = Tell me what
  happened.

  _Il lui a dit son fait_ = He told him what he thought of him
  (_not_ complimentary); He gave him a bit of his mind.

  _Si fait!_ = Yes, indeed! On the contrary!

  _Cette place est votre fait_ = That situation is just the thing
  for you.

  _Je suis sûr de mon fait_ = I am sure of what I am saying; I know
  what I am about.

  _C’est un fait accompli_ = It is done and cannot be undone.

  _Travailler à prix fait_ (or, _à forfait_) = To work at an agreed
  price; To work by the piece.

  _Prendre quelqu’un sur le fait_ = To take any one in the act.

  _Il a pris fait et cause pour moi_ = He stood up for me; He took
  my part.


Falloir

  _L’homme qu’il faut_ = The very man (for a post).

  _Il le faut_ = It must be so.

  _Il fallait voir comme il était content_ = You should have seen
  how happy he was.

  _Peu s’en fallut qu’il ne fût reçu_ = He was all but received; He
  failed for a few marks.

    [Latin: Haud multum abfuit quin....]

  _C’est un homme comme il faut_ = He is a perfect gentleman.

  _C’est un homme comme il en faut_ = He is one of the right sort.

    [Sometimes in bad sense: He is the sort of man we want to do that
    dirty work.]

  _C’est un homme comme il en faudrait beaucoup_ = I wish more
  men were like him (because of his straightforward or courageous
  nature).

  _S’il n’est pas un fripon, il ne s’en faut guère_ = If he is not
  a rascal, he is precious near it.

  _Il s’en faut beaucoup que l’un ait autant de mérite que l’autre_
  = There is a great difference in merit between the two.

  _Il s’en faut de beaucoup que leur nombre soit complet_ = Their
  number is far from being complete.

  [The former of these two idioms should refer to quality, the
  latter to quantity.]


Farine

  _Des gens de même farine_ = Persons of the same kidney (generally
  in a bad sense); People tarred with the same brush.


Fat

      “_Le bruit est pour le fat, la plainte pour le sot,
        L’honnête homme trompé s’éloigne et ne dit mot_,”
        = Rows are for muffs, ’tis only fools complain.
        The gentleman deceived will grin and bear the pain.
                  [LA NOUE, _La Coquette corrigée_, i. 3 (1756).]


Faute

  _Rien ne vous fera faute_ = You will want for nothing.

  _Il ne se fait faute de rien_ = He denies himself nothing.

  _C’est une faute d’inattention_ = It is a slip.

  _C’est une faute d’impression_ = It is a misprint.

  _Il ne se fait pas faute de se plaindre_ = He complains freely.

  _Faute de mieux_ = For want of something better.


Faux

  _Chanter faux_ = To sing out of tune.

  _Faire un faux pas_ = (lit.) To stumble; (fig.) To make a slip;
  To commit a mistake.

  _Vous faites fausse route_ = You are taking the wrong road; You
  are on the wrong track.

  _Cette poutre porte à faux_ = That beam does not rest properly on
  its support.

  _Cette remarque a porté à faux_ = That remark was not to the
  point, was not conclusive.

  _Faux comme un jeton_ = As false as Judas; As false as a die.

  _Je m’inscris en faux contre cette assertion_ = I emphatically
  deny the truth of that assertion.


Fée

  _C’est la fée Carabosse_ = She is an old hag.


Fêler

  *_Les pots fêlés sont ceux qui durent le plus_ = The door with
  the creaking hinge hangs longest; The cracked pitcher goes
  oftenest to the well.


Femme

  *_Femme qui parle comme homme et geline qui chante comme coq ne
  sont bonnes à tenir_ =

      A whistling woman and a crowing hen
      Are good for neither cocks nor men.

      [“C’est chose qui moult me deplaist,
        Quand poule parle et coq se taist.”
                                              _Roman de la Rose._

    “La poule ne doit pas chanter devant le coq.”
                           MOLIÈRE, _Les Femmes Savantes_, v. 3.]

  *_Prends le premier conseil d’une femme et non le second_ = A
  woman’s instinct is better than her reason.

    [Montaigne coined the phrase _l’esprit primesautier_ to describe
    this feminine peculiarity of either seeing a thing at once or not
    at all.]

  _Femme sotte se connaît à la cotte_ = A foolish woman is known by
  her finery.

  _Ce que femme veut Dieu le veut_ = Woman must have her way.

      *_Souvent femme varie,
      Bien fol est qui s’y fie_ =
        Between a woman’s yes and no,
        There’s no room for a pin to go.
            A woman’s mind
            And winter wind
              Change oft.

    [These words are said to have been written by François I. on two
    little leaded panes in his room at the castle of Chambord, about
    ten miles from Blois. Brantôme says that while talking with his
    sister, Marguerite d’Angoulême, he engraved the saying with a
    diamond ring. Report has it that Louis XIV. broke the glass with
    his stick at the request of Mademoiselle de la Vallière. However
    that may be, the visitor to Chambord will see that the words have
    been rewritten on the window.]

  _Ciel pommelé et femme fardée ne sont pas de longue durée_ = A
  mackerel sky, not long wet and not long dry.


Fenêtre

  _Il faut passer par là ou par la fenêtre_ = It is absolutely
  inevitable.


Fer

  *_Il faut battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud_ = You must
  strike while the iron is hot.

    [“Ce pendant que le fer est chault il le fault
    battre.”--RABELAIS, _Pantagruel_, ii. 31.]

  _Cela ne vaut pas les quatre fers d’un chien_ = That is not worth
  a rap, a fig (_i.e._, nothing, for a dog is not shod).

  _Il tomba les quatre fers en l’air_ = (lit.) He fell on his back;
  (fig.) He was struck all of a heap.

  _Il y a quelque fer qui cloche_ = There is a hitch somewhere. (See
  _Clocher_.)


Férir

  _Sans coup férir_ = Without striking a blow.


Ferré

  _Il est ferré sur la géographie_ = He is well up in geography.


Fête

  *_Ce n’est pas tous les jours fête_ = Christmas comes but once a
  year.

  _Faire fête à quelqu’un_ = To welcome some one heartily.

  _Je me fais une fête de passer huit jours à la campagne_ = I
  look forward with pleasure to the idea of spending a week in the
  country.


Feu

  _Il n’a ni feu ni lieu_ = He has neither house nor home.

  _L’ennemi mit le pays à feu et à sang_ = The enemy put the
  country to fire and sword.

  _Je n’y ai vu que du feu_ = It was impossible for me to find out
  how the thing was done (as it was done so quickly); It was done
  so quickly (_or_, cleverly) that I could not make head or tail of
  it.

  _Vous me faites mourir à petit feu_ = You are killing me by
  inches; You are torturing me to death.

  _Il ne faut pas jouer avec le feu_ = One should not play with
  edged tools.

  _Il n’est feu que de bois vert_ = None are so active as the young.

  _Il jette feu et flamme_ = He frets and fumes; He is in a great
  rage.

  _Faire feu des quatre pieds_ = To strain every nerve.

  _Ce n’est qu’un feu de paille_ = It is only a flash in the pan;
  It will not last.

  _Il a jeté tout son feu_ = 1. His anger is over now. 2. He has
  used up all his ideas.

  _C’est le feu et l’eau_ = They are as opposite as fire and water.

  _Faire feu_ = To fire (rifles, guns).

  _Faire du feu_ = To light a fire.


Fève

  *_Il a trouvé la fève au gâteau_ = He has hit the mark; He has
  made a lucky discovery.

    [It was (and is still in many places) the custom to hide a bean
    in the cake on Twelfth Night, and the person who found it was the
    king of the revels.

    “Pensent avoir trouvé la fève du gasteau.”
                                        RÉGNIER, _Satires_, vii.]

  *_Donner un pois pour avoir une fève_ = To give a sprat to catch
  a herring. (See _Œuf_.)


Fier

  _Fier comme Artaban_ (or, _comme un Écossais_) = As proud as a
  peacock.

    [Artaban was the hero of _Cléopâtre_, a romance by La Calprenède,
    a Gascon. The phrase is also said to be derived from Artabanes,
    King of Parthia. “Plus fier que tous les Artabans.”--ROSTAND,
    _Cyrano de Bergerac_, i. 2.]


Fièvre

  *_Tomber de fièvre en chaud mal_ (or, _de la poêle dans la
  braise_, _de Charybde en Scylla_) = To fall out of the frying-pan
  into the fire.

    [“Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim.”--Compare HOMER,
    _Od._ xii. 85.

    “Thus when I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis,
    your mother.”--SHAKESPEARE, _Merchant of Venice_, iii. 5.]


Figue

  *_Moitié figue, moitié raisin_ = 1. Partly willingly, partly by
  force. 2. Half one thing and half another. 3. Half in jest, half
  in earnest.

    [This expression is often used of a remark that may be
    complimentary or not.]


Fil

  _Je lui donnerai du fil à retordre_ = I will cut out his work for
  him; I will give him a deal of trouble.

  _Ce sont des finesses cousues de fil blanc_ = Those tricks are
  easily found out.

  *_A toile ourdie Dieu envoie le fil_ = God sends thread for a
  begun web.

  _Au fil de l’eau_ = With the stream.

  _Au fil de l’épée_ = To the edge of the sword.


Filer

  _Filer à l’anglaise_ = To leave without saying good-bye, without
  attracting attention; To take French leave.

  *_Du temps que Berthe filait_ = When Adam delved and Eve span; In
  the good old times.

    [Berthe was the mother of Charlemagne. She was known as _Berthe
    au grand pied_ from her club foot.]

  _Filer doux_ = To sing small.

  _Il faut filer_ (or, _Filons!_) (fam.) = We must be off, trot off.


Fille

  _La plus belle fille du monde ne peut donner que ce qu’elle a_ =
  No man can give more than he has; A man cannot give what he has
  not got.

  *_Quand on a des filles, on est toujours berger_ =
      My son is my son till he gets him a wife,
      My daughter’s my daughter all the days of her life.

  *_Fille oisive, à mal pensive_ = An idle brain is the devil’s
  workshop.

      [“For Satan finds some mischief still
      For idle hands to do.”
                                ISAAC WATTS, _Divine Songs_, xx.]

      _Fille trop vue, robe trop vêtue,
      N’est pas chère tenue._ =
      A maid often seen, a garment often worn,
      Are disesteemed and held in scorn.


Fils

  _Il est bien le fils de son père_ = He is a chip of the old block.

  _Être le fils de ses œuvres_ = To be a self-made man.


Fin (subst.)

  _À la fin vous voilà!_ = Here you are at last!

  _À la fin des fins_ (or, _en fin finale_) _vous nous direz
  quelque chose_ = At last you will tell us something.

  _À telle fin que de raison_ = At all events; At any rate.

  *_La fin couronne l’œuvre_ = The end crowns all; All’s well that
  ends well.

  *_Qui veut la fin veut les moyens_ = Where there is a will there
  is a way; If you want the end you must not stick at the means.

  *_La fin justifie les moyens_ = Success justifies the means by
  which it has been attained.

  _Il touche à sa fin_ = He is nearing his end; It is nearly over.

  *_En toutes choses il faut considérer la fin_ = We must always
  look to the end; Look before you leap.

    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iii. 5. The motto of the Kennedy family
    is “Look to the end,” or “Avise la fin.”]

  _C’est fin de siècle_ = That is smart, up to date.

    [This expression came to the front in Paris about the time of the
    1889 Exhibition. In 1890 appeared a play called “Paris fin de
    siècle,” by Blum and Toché, in which occur these words: “C’est
    un mot nouveau qui dit très bien ce qu’il veut dire. Le siècle
    n’a plus que dix ans à vivre et, vois-tu, il veut les passer
    gaiement.” The saying, however, has lost its sense, and is
    becoming obsolete now that a new century has begun.]


Fin (adj.)

  _Il sait le fort et le fin de son art_ = He knows every trick of
  his trade.

  _Plus fin que lui n’est pas bête_ = He who can take him in is no
  fool.

  _J’arrive du fin fond de l’Afrique_ = I have come from the very
  depths of Africa.

  _C’est une fine mouche_ (or, _lame_) = He is a cunning fellow, a
  sly dog. (See _Compère_.)

  _C’est fin contre fin_ = It is diamond cut diamond.

  [Also: _Fin contre fin ne vaut rien pour doublure._]

  _Fin contre fin gare la bombe_ = “When Greeks joined Greeks, then
  was the tug of war.”
    [NATHANIEL LEE, _Alexander the Great_, iv. 2.]

  _Dites nous le fin mot_ = Tell us the secret.

  _Il a le nez fin_ = 1. He has a good nose. 2. He is far-sighted,
  sagacious.

  _Jouer au plus fin_ = To vie in cunning.


Finir

  _Ce sont des disputes à n’en plus finir_ = Those are endless
  quarrels.


Flamber

  _C’est un homme flambé_ = He is a ruined man, a lost man.


Flanc

  _Il s’est battu les flancs pour rien_ = He gave himself all that
  trouble for nothing.

  _Il est sur le flanc_ = He is laid up, on his back.

  _Prêter le flanc à des reproches_ = To lay oneself open to
  reproaches.


Flétrir

  *_De rose flétrie nul ne soucie_ = The fading rose has no suitor.


Fleur

  _C’est la fine fleur de l’armée_ = It is the cream of the army.

  _L’affaire passa à fleur de corde_ = The matter only just
  succeeded.

  _Les yeux à fleur de tête_ = Goggle eyes (_i.e._ on a level with
  the cheek-bone and fore-head).

  _À fleur de terre_ = On a level (_or_, flush) with the ground.

  _À la fleur de l’âge_ = In the prime of life.

  _Il a les nerfs à fleur de peau_ = His nerves are always on the
  twitch; He is extremely sensitive.


Fleurette

  _Conter fleurettes_ = To say soft nothings.


Flûte

  *_Ce qui vient de la flûte s’en va au tambour_ = Lightly come,
  lightly go; What is dishonestly acquired is easily dissipated.


Foi

  _C’est un homme sans foi ni loi_ = He is a man without honour or
  honesty.

  _Il est de peu de foi_ = He is not to be trusted.

  _Ses ouvrages en font foi_ = His works prove it.

  *_C’est avec la bonne foi qu’on va le plus loin_ = Honesty is the
  best policy.

  _La foi du charbonnier_ = Blind faith.

  _Je ne puis ajouter foi à ce qu’il dit_ = I cannot believe what
  he says.

  _Ma foi!_ = Upon my word!


Foin

  _Mettre du foin dans ses bottes_ = To feather one’s nest.

    [Literally, to place hay in one’s wooden shoes to keep one’s feet
    warm. Another saying is _Mettre du beurre dans ses épinards_.]

  _Avoir du foin dans ses bottes_ = To be well off.

  _Quand il n’y a pas de foin au râtelier, les chevaux se battent_
  = When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.


Folie

  _Ce qui me lie, c’est ma folie_ = Straw bands will tie a fool’s
  hands.


Fond

  _Je fais fond sur vous_ = I rely on you.

  _Il sait cette langue à fond_ = He knows that language thoroughly.

  _Il est ruiné de fond en comble_ = He is utterly ruined.

  _Au fond, il a tort_ = He is wrong in reality.

  _Courir à fond de train_ = To run at the top of one’s speed.


Fonds

  _Article de fonds_ = Leading article (in a newspaper).

  _Il possède une fortune en bien-fonds_ = He has a fortune in
  landed property.

  _Il a placé son argent à fonds perdu_ = He sank his money in an
  annuity.

      *“_Travaillez, prenez de la peine;
        C’est le fonds qui manque le moins_” =
          Work and take pains, _that_ you can always do.
                Hard work and pain
                Are ne’er in vain.
                                   [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, v. 9.]


Fontaine

  *_Il ne faut pas dire, “Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau”_ =
  One must never be sure of not wanting some one (_or_, something).

    [Compare the proverb that Alfred de Musset took for the title of
    one of his Proverbes: “Il ne faut jurer de rien.”]


Force

  _Tu me payeras de gré ou de force_ = You shall pay me, whether
  you like it or not.

  _Hugo est un romantique dans toute la force du terme_ = Hugo is a
  romanticist in the full sense of the word.

  _Je suis à bout de force_ = I am exhausted, played out.

  _Je ne suis pas de votre force_ = (lit.) I am not so strong as
  you are; (fig.) I am no match for you.

  _Force m’est de partir_ = I am compelled to go.

  _Il faut à toute force l’empêcher de sortir_ = You must prevent
  him going out by all the means in your power; We must do all we
  can to prevent him going out.

  _Il y avait force badauds_ = A quantity of loafers were there.

  *_La force prime le droit_ = Might is right. (See _Fort_.)

  _C’est un joueur de première force_ = He is a first-rate player.

  _Force est restée à la loi_ = The police proved the stronger;
  Order was restored.

  _C’est un cas de force majeure_ = It is a case of absolute
  necessity; It is an utter impossibility.

    [_e.g._ “Le témoin n’a pu venir parce qu’il est dangereusement
    malade; son absence est due à un cas de force majeure.”]

  _Faire force de voiles_ = To crowd on all sail.

  _Faire force de rames_ = To row with all one’s might.

  *_Tout par amour, rien par force_ = Sweet words will succeed
  where mere strength will fail; You may row your heart out if wind
  and tide are against you.

  _À force de travailler_ = By dint of working.

  _À force de bras_ = By strength of arm.

  _De vive force_ = By main force.

  _Un tour de force_ = A feat (of strength or skill).


Forgeron

  *_À force de forger on devient forgeron_ = Practice makes
  perfect; Drawn wells are seldom dry.

    [Lat. _Fit fabricando faber._]


Fort

  _Cela est trop fort_ (or, _raide_) = That is too bad; That is
  beyond a joke.

  _Cela est par trop fort_ = That is really too bad.

    [This _par_ is derived from the Latin intensive particle _per_,
    as in perhorridus. In French one finds such words as _parfaire_,
    _parachever_, and in old French this prefix was separable. Thus,
    _tant il est parsage_ might be written _tant il par est sage_.
    So, _Cela est par trop fort_ = _Cela est trop parfort_.]

  _C’est un esprit fort_ = He is a freethinker.

  _Voilà qui est fort_ = That is rather strong.

  _Ça, ce n’est pas fort_ = That is very tame; There is not much in
  that.

  _A plus forte raison_ = All the more reason; A fortiori.

  _Il faut que je parle, c’est plus fort que moi_ = I must speak, I
  cannot help it.

  _Le plus fort est fait_ = The worst is over; The most difficult
  part is done.

  _Savoir le fort et le faible de l’affaire_ = To know the ins and
  outs of the matter.

  _Le fort portant le faible_ = One thing with another; On an
  average.

  *“_La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure_” = Might is
  right; There is no arguing with a large fist.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, i. 10, _Le loup et l’agneau_.]

  _Fort comme un Turc_ = As strong as a horse.

    “_Ou tôt ou tard, ou près ou loin,
    Le fort du faible a besoin_” =

  The lion had need of the mouse.
    [GÉNIN, _Récréations_, ii. 250.]


Fortune

  _Chacun a dans sa vie un souris de la fortune_ = Fortune knocks
  once at every man’s door.

  _La fortune rit aux sots_ = Fools have the best luck.

    [“Fortuna fortes adjuvat.”--LIVY, xxxiv. 37.]

  _Voulez-vous accepter la fortune du pot?_ = Will you take
  pot-luck with us?

  _Faire contre fortune bon cœur_ = To bear up against misfortune;
  To make the best of a bad job.


Fou

  _Cela lui a coûté un argent fou_ (fam.) = That cost him a heap of
  money.

  *_Combattre un fou est temps perdu_ = Fools are not to be
  convinced.

    [Schiller says: “Heaven and Earth fight in vain against a dunce”
    (“Mit der Dummheit fechten Götter selbst vergebens.”--_Jungfrau
    von Orleans_), and the Chinese say: “One never needs his wit so
    much as when one argues with a fool.”]

  _Ne faites pas messagers des fous_ = “He that sendeth a message
  by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet and drinketh damage.”
  Prov. xxvi. 6.

    _Un fol ou bête
    Fait bien conquête,
    Mais bon ménage
    C’est fait du sage_ =

  A fool may meet with good fortune, but the wise only profit by it.

  *_Plus on est de fous plus on rit_ = The more the merrier.

  *_Qui ne sait pas être fou n’est pas sage_ = He is not wise who
  does not sometimes make merry; It takes a wise man to make a fool.

  *_Les fous sont aux échecs les plus proches des rois_ = In chess
  the fool stands next to the king. (RÉGNIER, _Sat._ xiv.)

    [This implies that it is not only at chess that the king is
    surrounded by fools, but at court too. It must not be forgotten
    that _le fou_ is called _the bishop_ in the English game.]

  _Il est fou à lier_ (or, _fou furieux_) = He is raving mad.

  _Il vaut mieux être fou avec tous que sage tout seul_ = “One had
  as good be out of the world as out of the fashion.”
    [COLLEY CIBBER, _Love’s Last Shift_, Act ii.]

  _La Folle du Logis_ = Fancy, imagination.


Fouet

  _Il ne marche qu’à coups de fouet_ = He works only when he is
  compelled.


Fouetter

  _Fouette, cocher!_ = Fire away! Go ahead!


Four

  _Il fait noir comme dans un four_ = It is as dark as pitch.
   [MOLIÈRE, _Le Sicilien_, ii.]

  _Faire un four_ = To make a blunder.

  _Cette pièce a fait four_ = That piece was a failure, a frost.

  _On ne peut être au four et au moulin_ = One cannot be in two
  places at the same time.


Fourchette

  _Une bonne fourchette_ = A good trencherman.


Fourgon

  *_La pelle se moque du fourgon_ = The pot calls the kettle black.


Fourreau

  *_L’épée_ (or, _la lame_) _use le fourreau_ = The mind is too
  active for the body.

      [“A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
        Fretted the pigmy body to decay.”
                            DRYDEN, _Absalom and Achitophel_, i.]


Fourrer

  _Il ne savait où se fourrer_ = He did not know where to hide his
  head.

  _Il faut qu’il fourre le doigt_ (or, more fam., _nez_) _partout_
  = He must have a finger in every one’s pie.


Frais

  _En être pour ses frais_ = To have lost one’s money (_or_, pains)
  for nothing.

  _Faire des frais_ = (lit.) To go to expense; (fig.) To make
  efforts to please.

  _Faire ses frais_ = To cover one’s expenses.

  _Faire les frais de la conversation_ = 1. To keep a conversation
  going. 2. To be (oneself) the subject of conversation.


Français

  _En bon français_ = (lit.) In good French; (fig.) In plain
  English (_i.e._ without mincing matters).

  _Parler français comme une vache espagnole_ = To speak French
  very badly.

    [This is said to be a corruption of _comme un Basque espagnol_
    (formerly written _Vace_). The Basques speak French with a very
    bad accent, owing to their language having no relation whatever
    to the Romance tongues.]


Franquette

  _Recevoir quelqu’un à la bonne franquette_ = To treat a person
  without ceremony.


Frein

  _Ronger son frein_ = To put up with annoyance in silence.

  _A vieille mule frein doré_ = Old women have the finest clothes.


Friandise

  _Aimer les friandises (chatteries)_ = To have a sweet tooth.


Friser

  _Elle frise la quarantaine_ = She is just upon forty.


Froid

  _Cela se mange froid_ = (lit.) That is eaten cold; (fig.) That is
  a matter of no importance; That is easily done.

  _Il n’a pas froid aux yeux_ = He is a plucky fellow.

  _Il fait un froid de loup_ = It is terribly cold.


Front

  _Vous heurtez de front tous ses préjugés_ = You run counter to
  (_or_, openly attack) all his prejudices.

  _Il mène plusieurs affaires de front_ = He carries on several
  schemes simultaneously; He has many irons in the fire.

  _Marcher de front_ = To walk abreast.


Frotter

  *_Qui s’y frotte s’y pique_ = Whoever meddles with it, will smart
  for it.

    [Compare the motto of the Order of the Thistle: Nemo me impune
    lacessit.]

  _Je ne vous conseille pas de vous y frotter_ = I advise you not
  to meddle with it.

  _On l’a frotté d’importance_ (or, _comme il faut_) = He got a
  good drubbing.


Fuite

  _Une bonne fuite vaut mieux qu’une mauvaise attente_ = Discretion
  is the better part of valour.


Fumée

  _Manger son pain à la fumée du rôt_ = To see others enjoying
  themselves without joining in.

  _Il n’y a pas de feu sans fumée_ = There is no smoke without fire.

    [Though the French form is not exact, it is preferred to “_il
    n’y a pas de fumée sans feu_” for rhythmical reasons. Compare
    PLAUTUS, _Curculio_, i. 1, 53, “Flamma fumo est proxima.”]


Fur

  _Au fur et à mesure_ = In proportion as.


Fureur

  _Cela fait fureur maintenant_ = That is quite the rage now; That
  is all the go now.


Fusil

  _Changer son fusil d’épaule_ = To change one’s opinion,
  profession, tactics.

    [A more familiar expression is _retourner sa veste_ = to be a
    turn-coat.]



G.


Gaffe

  _Faire une gaffe_ = To put one’s foot in it; To make a stupid
  blunder.


Gageure

  *_La gageure est la preuve des sots_ =

      “Most men (till by losing rendered sager),
      Will back their own opinions with a wager.”
                                            [BYRON, _Beppo_, 27.]


Gagner

  *_Qui épargne gagne_ = A penny saved is a penny earned.

  _Il gagne à être connu_ = He improves upon acquaintance.


Gai

  _Il est gai comme un pinson_ = He is as merry as a grig, as a
  lark.

  _Il est gai comme un bonnet de nuit_ (ironic.) = He is as dull as
  ditchwater. (See _Bonnet_.)


Gaieté

  _De gaieté de cœur_ = Out of pure wantonness.


Gaillard

  _Être sur le gaillard d’avant_ = To serve before the mast; To be
  a common seaman.


Galère

  _Vogue la galère!_ = Happen what may! “Go it, ye cripples!”

  *“_Que diable allait-il faire dans cette galère?_” = Whatever
  induced him to get into that fix? Whatever business had he there?

    [MOLIÈRE, _Fourberies de Scapin_, ii. II, imitated from a scene
    of _Le Pédant joué_ by Cyrano de Bergerac, as is noted by M.
    Edmond Rostand in his play, “Cyrano de Bergerac,” v. 6:

      _Rag._      Hier on jouait _Scapin_
      Et j’ai vu qu’il vous a pris une scène.
      _Le Bret._            Entière!
      _Rag._ Oui, Monsieur, le fameux: “Que diable allait-il faire?”

    In Molière, Scapin, the amusing but rascally servant of farce,
    in order to obtain more money out of Géronte, the father of his
    young master, Léandre, pretends that the latter has been taken
    prisoner on board a Turkish galley and that the captain demands
    500 crowns as ransom. Géronte in the dilemma of losing either his
    money or his son, at last parts with his treasured gold, but not
    without repeating several times in heartfelt sorrow, “_Que diable
    allait-il faire dans cette galère?_”]


Galeux

  *_Il ne faut qu’une brebis galeuse pour infecter tout un
  troupeau_ = One scabby sheep will taint a whole flock.

  *_Qui se sent galeux, se gratte_ (fam.) = If the cap fits, wear
  it. (See _Morveux_.)


Galon

  _Quand on prend du galon on n’en saurait trop prendre_ = As well
  be hanged for a sheep as a lamb; One cannot make too much of a
  favourable opportunity.

    [This is a parody of a line in Quinault’s _Roland_, ii. 5: “Quand
    on prend de l’amour, on n’en saurait trop prendre.”]


Gant

  _Il s’en donne les gants_ = He takes the credit of it.

    [It was the custom to give a pair of gloves to the messenger who
    first brought a piece of good news.]

  _Cela me va comme un gant_ = That fits me to a T; That suits me
  down to the ground.


Garçon

  _Vous voilà joli garçon!_ = A pretty fellow you are!


Garde

  _Mon chien est de bonne garde_ = Mine is a good watch-dog.

  _Ces poires sont de bonne garde_ = These pears will keep well.

  _Il n’a garde de venir_ = He will take care to keep away; There
  is no chance of his coming.


Garder

  _Il vous en garde une bonne_ (pop.) = He is keeping a rod in
  pickle for you.

  _Gardez-vous en bien!_ = Mind you do not do it!


Gaspiller

  _Ce garçon gaspille son temps_ = That boy fools his time away.


Geler

  _Geler à pierre fendre_ = To freeze very hard.


Gémir

  _Faire gémir la presse_ (ironic.) = To print one’s writings.


Gêne

  _Il est sans gêne_ = He is free and easy (casual, off-hand); He
  makes himself too much at home.

  *_Où il y a de la gêne il n’y a pas de plaisir_ (ironic.) = There
  is nothing like making one’s self at home everywhere.

  _Il a connu la gêne_ = He knows what want is.


Gêner

  _Est-ce que je vous gêne?_ = Am I in your way?

  _Ne vous gênez pas!_ = Do not stand upon ceremony! Make yourself
  at home! Don’t mind me!

  _Il ne se gêne guère_ = Doesn’t he make himself at home! Well, he
  is a cool customer!

  _Il est plus gênant que gêné_ = His free and easy manners are
  unpleasant to others, but he does not mind that.


Gens

  *_A gens de village, trompette de bois_ = Rough tools for rough
  work.


Gésir

  *_C’est là que gît le lièvre_ = That is the main point; There’s
  the rub.


Gibier

  _C’est un gibier de potence_ = He is a gallows-bird.


Gloire

      “J’aime mieux, n’en déplaise à la gloire,
      Vivre au monde deux jours que mille ans dans l’histoire.”
                           MOLIÈRE, _La Princesse d’Élide_, i. 2.

    Contrast:

      “One crowded hour of glorious life
      Is worth an age without a name.”
                     Sir WALTER SCOTT, _Old Mortality_, Chap. 34.


Gond

  _Cela me fait sortir des gonds_ = That exasperates (unhinges) me.


Gorge

  _Cette fumée me prend à la gorge_ = That smoke makes me cough,
  chokes me.

  _Il cria à pleine gorge_ = He cried out as loud as he could.

  _Il fera des gorges chaudes du malheur de sa tante_ = He will
  chuckle over (_or_, make fun of) his aunt’s misfortune.

    [“_Prétend qu’elle en fera gorge chaude et curée._”
                                  LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iv. 12.]

  _Rendre gorge_ = To have to pay back money unjustly acquired; To
  disgorge one’s ill-gotten gains.


Gourme

  _Ce jeune homme jette sa gourme_ = That young man is sowing his
  wild oats.


Goût

  *_Des goûts et des couleurs il ne faut (pas) discuter_ =
  There is no disputing about tastes.

  *_À chacun son goût_ = Tastes differ.

    [Colloquially the _à_ is omitted and the phrase becomes _chacun
    son goût_. The Dictionnaire de l’Académie gives: _Chacun_ a _son
    goût_.]


Goutte

  _Je n’y vois goutte_ = I cannot see at all.

  *_Goutte à goutte on emplit la cuve_ = Many a little makes a
  mickle.

  *_Ils se ressemblent comme deux gouttes d’eau_ = They are as like
  as two peas.

  _C’est une goutte d’eau dans la mer_ = It is a drop in the ocean.

  _Boire la goutte_ (fam.) = To have a drop; To take a nip.

  _Payer la goutte_ (fam.) = To stand something to drink.


Grâce

  _Faites-moi grâce de vos observations, je vous en prie_ = Pray
  spare me your remarks.


Grain

  _Veillez au grain_ = Keep a sharp look-out.

  _Avoir un grain de folie_ = To be a little cracked.


Graine

  _Ces plantes sont montées en graine_ = Those plants have run to
  seed.

  _C’est de la graine de niais_ = That is something to deceive
  fools with.


Grand

  *_Les grands sont les plus exposés aux coups du sort_ = High
  winds blow on high hills.

  _Faire quelque chose en grand_ = To do something on a large scale.


Grandeur

  _Un buste de grandeur naturelle_ = A life-size bust.


Gré

  *_Bon gré, mal gré_ = Whether you wish or not; Nolens volens;
  Willy-nilly.

  _Cette maison a été vendue de gré à gré_ = That house was sold by
  private contract.

  _Il le fera de gré ou de force_ = He will have to do it whether
  he likes it or not.

  _Il venait moitié de gré, moitié de force_ = He came somewhat
  reluctantly.

  _De son plein gré_ = Of his own accord.

  _De plein gré_ = Voluntarily.

  _Nous vous en saurons bon gré_ = We shall be obliged to you for
  it.

  _Je me sais bon gré de ne l’avoir pas fait_ = I am thankful I did
  not do it.


Grelot

  *_Attacher le grelot_ = To bell the cat.

    [This phrase arises from the fable (LA FONTAINE, ii. 2) of
    the rats who held a council as to how they might best defend
    themselves from the cat. They resolved to hang a bell round his
    neck, so that they might hear him coming and run away. But the
    difficulty was to find a volunteer “to bell the cat.” In Scottish
    history Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus (1449-1514), was
    called Bell-the-Cat. James III. used to make favourites of
    architects and masons. The Scotch nobles held a council in the
    Church of Lauder for the purpose of putting down these upstarts.
    Lord Gray asked who would bell the cat. “That will I,” said
    Douglas, and fearlessly he put the minions to death in the King’s
    presence. Compare SCOTT, _Marmion_, v. 14. The Greek equivalent,
    Ξυρεῖν λέοντα (= to shave the lion) occurs in Plato, Republic,
    341 C. The refrain of Eustace Deschamps’ Ballade 58 is: “Qui
    pendra la sonnette au chat?”]


Grenier

  _Il va de la cave au grenier_ = 1. He rambles in his talk. 2. He
  writes very unevenly (up and down).


Grippe

  _Il m’a pris en grippe_ = He has taken a dislike to me.


Gris

  _Il en a vu de grises_ = He had an unpleasant time of it.

  _Il lui en a fait voir de grises_ = He plagued him terribly.


Grive

  *_Faute de grives on mange des merles_ = Half a loaf is better
  than no bread. (See _Aimer_.)


Gros

  _Ils se sont dit de gros mots_ = They came to high words; They
  insulted (slanged) one another.

  _La servante fait le gros de la besogne_ (or, _la grosse
  besogne_) = The servant does the heavy work.

  _Il n’a qu’un gros bon sens_ = He has only plain common-sense.

  _Vous avez touché la grosse corde_ = You have come to the main
  point.

  _Vendre en gros et en détail_ = To sell wholesale and retail.


Grue

  _Il m’a fait faire le pied de grue pendant deux heures_ = He made
  me wait two hours for him; I was dancing attendance on him for
  two hours.

    [“Faites vous sus un pied toute la nuict la grue?”
                                             RÉGNIER, _Sat._ xi.]


Guerre

  *_À la guerre comme à la guerre_ = One must take things as they
  come; We must take the rough with the smooth.

  _Je l’ai fait de guerre lasse_ = Weary of resistance I did it for
  the sake of peace and quiet.

  *_Qui terre a, guerre a_ = Much coin, much care; Much land, many
  lawsuits.

    [Voltaire’s variant was: “Qui plume a, guerre a.”]

  _Ça, c’est de bonne guerre_ = He has only used fair means to
  defend himself (_or_, attack you); He has acted within his
  rights, you cannot complain.


Guide

  _Mener la vie à grandes guides_ = (lit.) To drive life four in
  hand; (fig.) To live a very fast life.


Guillot

  *_Qui croit guiller Guillot, Guillot le guille_ =

      “He that seeks others to beguile
      Is oft overtaken in his wile.”

  The biter bit.

      [“For often he that will begyle
        Is gyled with the same gyle,
        And thus the gyler is begyled.”
                                 GOWER, _Confessio Amantis_, 135.

        “For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
        Hoist with his own petar.”
                                               _Hamlet_, iii. 4.]


Guise

  _Il fait_ (or, _agit_) _toujours à sa guise_ = He always goes his
  own way; He always acts according to his own sweet will.



H.


Habit

  *_L’habit ne fait pas le moine_ = The cowl does not make the
  friar; The coat does not make the gentleman.

  _Prendre l’habit_ = To become a monk or a nun (of the latter, To
  take the veil).


Habitué

  _Ce monsieur est un de nos habitués_ = That gentleman is one of
  our regular customers.


Hache

  _Cela est fait à coups de hache_ (or, _serpe_) = That is done
  clumsily, roughly.


Hacher

  _Je les hacherais menu comme chair à pâté_ = I would make
  mincemeat of them.


Haleine

  _J’ai couru à perte d’haleine_ = I ran until I was out of breath.

  _Ce sont des phrases à perte d’haleine_ = Those are very
  long-winded sentences.

  _Il faut tenir les gens en haleine_ = One must keep the ball
  rolling.

  _C’est un ouvrage de longue haleine_ = It’s a long job, a heavy
  piece of work.


Halle

  _Le langage des Halles_ = Billingsgate.

    [Also: _des injures de carrefour_.]


Hallebarde

  _Cela rime comme hallebarde et miséricorde_ = That does not rhyme
  at all.

    [The usual explanation of this expression is, that, on the death
    of the verger of St. Eustache, one of his friends--a small
    shopkeeper of the neighbourhood--wished to write an epitaph for
    his tomb. Being entirely ignorant of the rules of verse, he
    composed the following:--

        “Ci-gît mon ami Mardoche
      Il a voulu être enterré à Saint Eustache
      Il y porta trente-deux ans la hallebarde
          Dieu lui fasse miséricorde.”
                              (Par son ami, J. Cl. Bombet, 1727.)

    But in reality the proverb is much older. It dates from the time
    of the old versifiers, one of whose rules was that two consonants
    followed by an _e_ mute were sufficient to form a feminine rhyme.
    This led to abuses like the above, and this rule was superseded
    by another, that the vowel preceding the two consonants must be
    alike in both cases.]


Hanter

  _Dis-moi qui tu hantes, je te dirai qui tu es_ = A man is known
  by his company; Birds of a feather flock together.


Haro

  _Crier haro sur quelqu’un_ = To raise an outcry against any one.

    [“À ces mots on cria haro sur le baudet.”
                                   LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vii. 1.

    The origin of the word _haro_ is disputed; Littré quotes Diez,
    who connects it with O.H.G. _hera_ = here. The old opinion was
    that it was derived from _Ha-Raoul_, an appeal to Rollo, or
    Hrolf, first Duke of Normandy, and a mighty lawgiver. However,
    within living recollection the cry of _Ha-Ro! à l’aide, mon
    Prince!_ was used in the Channel Islands as a protection against
    force and fraud, when no other defence was possible. See a
    curious tale in “The Gossiping Guide to Jersey,” by J. Bertrand
    Payne, London, 1863, p. 15.]


Hasard

  _Il corrige le hasard_ = He cheats at play.

    [“La fortune est redevenue mauvaise, il faut la corriger.”
                          HAMILTON, _Mémoires de Grammont_, iii.]


Hâte

  *_Trop de hâte gâte tout_ = The more haste, the less speed.

    [Also: _Plus on se hâte, moins on avance_; _Hâtez-vous lentement_
    (Lat. _Festina lente_); _Assez tôt si bien_; and the English
    popular proverb, “Do nothing hastily save catching of fleas.”]


Hâter

  *_Ouvrage hâté, ouvrage gâté_ = Haste makes waste.


Haut

  _Tomber de son haut_ = (fig.) To be thunder-struck.

  _Regarder de haut en bas_ = To treat contemptuously; To look down
  upon with contempt.

  _Il y a du haut et du bas dans la vie_ = Life has its ups and
  downs.

  _Haut le pied!_ = Be off!


Herbe

  *_Mauvaise herbe croît toujours_ = Ill weeds grow apace.

  _Votre rival vous coupera l’herbe sous le pied_ = Your rival will
  cut you out, will take the wind out of your sails, will cut the
  ground from under your feet.

  _L’herbe sera bien courte s’il ne trouve à brouter_ = It will go
  hard if he does not pick up a living; He would live on nothing.

  _C’est un avocat en herbe_ = He is studying for the bar; He is a
  sucking barrister.


Heure

  _A l’heure qu’il est on ne le fait plus_ = Nowadays it is no
  longer done.

  _A l’heure qu’il est il doit savoir la nouvelle_ = By this time
  no doubt he has heard the news.

  _Faites-le sur l’heure_ = Do it this very minute.

  _Je partirai tout à l’heure_ = I will start presently.

  _Je l’ai vu tout à l’heure_ = I saw him just now, not long ago.

  _A la bonne heure!_ = Well done!; That’s right!; Capital!; That
  is something like!

  _Le quart d’heure de Rabelais_ = The moment of payment (_or_,
  suspense).

    [On returning from Italy, Rabelais found himself in the south of
    France with no more money to continue his journey to Paris. He
    had dined well at an inn, and while waiting for his reckoning, he
    packed up some dust in small packets which he labelled, “Poison
    for the King,” “Poison for the Dauphin,” and so on. The innkeeper
    noticing these packets and their terrible inscriptions, informed
    the police, who took Rabelais to Paris free of charge to suffer
    the penalty of treason. When he was brought before the King, the
    monarch laughed heartily at the tale and let him go free.]

  _Passer un mauvais quart d’heure_ = To have a bad time of it.


Histoire

  _Voilà bien des histoires pour si peu de chose!_ = What a fuss
  about nothing.

  _Voilà bien une autre histoire!_ = That is quite another thing.

  _Histoire_ (or, _Chansons_) _que tout cela!_ = That is all stuff
  and nonsense.

  _Le plus beau de l’histoire c’était qu’il n’en savait rien_ = The
  best of the joke was he knew nothing about it.

  _Histoire de rire_ = 1. For the fun of the thing. 2. It was only
  a joke.


Hommage

  _Hommage de l’auteur_ = With the author’s compliments.


Homme

  *_L’homme propose et Dieu dispose_ = Man proposes, God disposes.

    [Also: “_L’homme s’agite et Dieu le mène._”
             FÉNELON, _Sermon pour la Fête de l’Épiphanie_, 1685.

    “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his
    steps.”--PROVERBS xvi. 9.

      “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
      Rough hew them how we will.”--_Hamlet_, v. 2.

    German: Der Mensch denkt, Gott lenkt.]

  *_Le style c’est l’homme_ = Style is the man himself; Like
  author, like book.

    [“Ces choses sont hors de l’homme, le style est l’homme
    même.”--BUFFON, _Discours de Réception à l’Académie_, 1753.
    There has been much discussion as to what Buffon really did
    write, whether _le style est l’homme même_ or _le style est_ DE
    _l’homme même_. In most editions after that of Didot (1843) the
    latter form will be found, whilst in editions from 1800-1843 the
    phrase is absent altogether. In the _Recueil de l’Académie_ it is
    printed _le style est l’homme même_, and of this the proofs were
    probably corrected by Buffon himself. There is a small pamphlet,
    _Discours prononcé dans l’Académie française, par M. de Buffon,
    le samedi 25 août 1753_, which is probably earlier still, in
    which it is also printed thus. However this may be, the phrase
    “le style c’est l’homme,” which Buffon assuredly did _not_ write,
    has become a French proverb, and is in everyday use.]


Honneur

  _Nous jouons pour l’honneur_ = We are playing for love.

  *_Un homme d’honneur n’a que sa parole_ = An honest man’s word is
  as good as his bond.

  _Il fait honneur à ses affaires_ (comm.) = He meets all his
  engagements.

  _Il ne prétend à votre fille qu’en tout bien tout honneur_ = He
  has honourable intentions towards your daughter.


Honte

  _Nous lui avons fait honte_ = 1. We caused him to feel ashamed of
  himself. 2. He was ashamed of us.


Honteux

  *_Jamais honteux n’eut belle amie_ = Faint heart never won fair
  lady.

  *_Il n’y a que les honteux qui perdent_ = Nothing ask, nothing
  have.


Hors

  _Hors ligne_ = Standing out from the rest; Out of the common run;
  Beyond comparison; Incomparable.

  _Ce peintre est hors concours_ = That artist is no longer a
  competitor (having already received the highest award).


Hôte

  *_Qui compte sans son hôte compte deux fois_ = He who reckons
  without his host must reckon again.


Huile

  _Sentir l’huile_ = To smell of the lamp (of poetry, etc.).

  _Il tirerait de l’huile d’un mur_ = He would skin a flint, get
  blood from a stone. (See _Cheveux_ and _Œuf_.)

    [Aquam a pumice postulare.--PLAUTUS.]

  _De l’huile de bras_ = Elbow grease.


Huis

  _A huis clos_ = With closed doors; in camera.



I.


Image

  _Cette petite fille est sage comme une image_ = That little girl
  is very quiet, is as good as gold.


Importance

  _Faire l’homme d’importance_ = To play the consequential; To give
  oneself airs; To be pompous.


Importer

  _Qu’importe?_ = No matter! It is of no consequence.

  _Que m’importe?_ = What is that to me?

  _Peu importe_ = It does not much matter.

  _Venez n’importe quand_ = Come at any time, no matter when,
  whenever you please.


Impossible

  *_A l’impossible nul n’est tenu_ = There is no doing
  impossibilities; No living man all things can.


Index

  _Les grévistes mirent cette boutique à l’index_ = The strikers
  boycotted that shop.

    [The _Index Expurgatorius_ is a list of books compiled for the
    Pope which Roman Catholics are forbidden to read.]


Injure

  _Ils se sont dit mille injures_ = They abused one another like
  pickpockets.

  _Vous lui faites injure_ = You wrong him.


Inscrire

  _Je m’inscris en faux contre cette assertion_ = I emphatically
  deny the truth of that assertion.


Insu

  _Il sortit à mon insu_ = He went out without my knowing it.


Intelligence

  _Vivre en bonne intelligence avec quelqu’un_ = To live on good
  terms with some one.


Intention

  *_L’intention est réputée pour le fait_ = The will is taken for
  the deed.

  _J’ai mis ce livre de côté à voire intention_ = I put that book
  on one side especially for you (to read, to see).



J.


Jamais

  _Au grand jamais_ = Never, no never.


Jambe

  _Il court à toutes jambes_ = He is running as fast as his legs
  will carry him.

    [Compare: _à toute bride_, _à toute vapeur_, _à toute vitesse_.]

  _Il a pris ses jambes à son cou_ = He took to his heels.

  _Il a joué des jambes_ = He took to flight.

  _Il a des jambes de quinze ans_ = He still walks well.

  _Cela ne lui rend pas la jambe mieux faite!_ (ironic.) = And a
  lot of good that will do him!

  _Cela vous ferait une belle jambe_ (ironic.) = A fine lot of good
  that will do you.

  _Il a les jambes en manche de veste_ (fam.) = He is bow-legged.

  _Il le fera par dessous la jambe_ = He will do it with the
  greatest ease (_or_, carelessly).

  _Il a des fourmis dans les jambes_ = He is fidgety, restless.


Jaune

  _Jaune comme un coing_ = As yellow as a guinea.


Jean

  _Être gros Jean comme devant_ = To be no better off than one was
  before, in spite of all one’s efforts.
    [RABELAIS, _Pantagruel_, iv. second prologue, and LA FONTAINE,
    _Fables_, vii. 10.]


Jeter

  _Il jette son argent par les fenêtres_ = He plays ducks and
  drakes with his money.

  _C’est jeter de l’huile sur le feu_ = It is adding fuel to the
  fire (flames).


Jeu

  *_Jeu qui trop dure ne vaut rien_ (Charles d’Orléans) = Too much
  of a good thing is bad.

  _C’est vieux jeu_ = That is quite old-fashioned.

  _Ne me mettez pas en jeu_ = Do not mix me up in it.

  _Cela passe le jeu_ = That is beyond a joke.

  *_Jeu de mains, jeu de vilains_ = 1. Horse-play is not
  gentlemanly. 2. Rough play often ends in tears.

  _Il fait bonne mine à mauvais jeu_ = He puts a good face on the
  matter; He makes the best of a bad job.

  *_A beau jeu beau retour_ = One good turn deserves another.

  _Nous sommes à deux de jeu_ = We are even; We are a match for
  each other; Two can play at that game.

  _Je vous donne beau jeu_ = (lit.) I give you good cards; (fig.) I
  give you a good opportunity; I play into your hands.

  _Jouer gros jeu_ = (lit.) To play for high stakes; (fig.) To risk
  very much in an attempt.

  _Cela n’est pas du jeu_ = 1. That is not fair, not cricket; You
  are not playing the game. 2. That was not agreed upon.


Jeune

  *_Qui jeune n’apprend, rien ne saura_ = An old dog will learn no
  tricks. (See _Jeunesse_.)


Jeunesse

  *_Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait_ = If only the young
  had experience and the old strength; If things were to be done
  twice, all would be wise.

  _Ce que poulain prend en jeunesse, il le continue en vieillesse_ =

      “’Tis education forms the common mind.
         Just as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined.”
                                  [POPE, _Moral Essays_, i. 149.]

  Youth and white paper take any impression.

    [Also: _Vieil arbre mal aisé à redresser_. Compare the English,
    “Old dogs are hard to train.” (See _Jeune_.)

    “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he
    will not depart from it.”--PROVERBS xxii. 6.]

  _Il faut que jeunesse se passe_ = Boys will be boys.


Joie

  _Un rabat-joie_ = A mar-joy; A wet blanket.


Jouer

  _Il joua de son reste_ = He played his last card; He was on his
  last legs.

    [Carefully distinguish this from _Jouir de son reste_ = To make
    the most of one’s remaining time.]

  _Il joue au plus sûr_ = He plays a safe game.

  _Jouer de malheur_ = To have a run of ill-luck.

  _Jouer serré_ = To act cautiously; To leave nothing to chance.


Jour

  _Ces gens vivent au jour le jour_ = Those men live from day to
  day, from hand to mouth.

  *_À chaque jour suffit sa peine_ = Sufficient unto the day is the
  evil thereof.

  _Je suis à jour_ = I am up to date; I am not behind in my work.

  *_Tôt ou tard la vérité se fait jour_ = Sooner or later the truth
  will come out.

  _C’est le jour et la nuit_ = They are as different as chalk and
  cheese.

  _Il n’est si long jour qui ne vienne à vêpres_ =

      “Be the day weary, be the day long,
      At length it ringeth to evensong.”

    [From a poem by Stephen Hawes, a poet of the reign of Henry VII.

    Compare:

                                “Come what come may,
      Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
                                                 _Macbeth_, i. 3.

    And:

      Come day, go day,
      God brings Sunday.]

  _A bon jour, bonne œuvre_ = The better the day, the better the
  deed.

  *_Ce n’est pas tous les jours fête_ = 1. Christmas comes but once
  a year. 2. One cannot always have “a high old time,” but must
  work as well. 3. Life is not all beer and skittles.

  _D’aujourd’hui en huit_ = This day week.

  _Il y a aujourd’hui huit jours_ = This day last week.

  _En plein jour_ = In broad daylight.

  _Il y a quinze ans jour pour jour_ = It was fifteen years ago to
  the very day.

  _Prendre jour_ = To agree upon a day for an appointment.


Juge

  *_De fou juge briève (brève) sentence_ = A fool’s bolt is soon
  shot.


Juger

  _Juger sur l’étiquette du sac_ = To judge by appearances, by the
  exterior.

  _Au juger_ = At a guess.


Jurer

  _Le vert jure avec le jaune_ = Green does not match with yellow;
  Green clashes with yellow.

  _Jurer comme un templier (charretier, païen)_ = To swear like a
  trooper.


Juste

  _Au plus juste prix_ = At the lowest price.

  _Comme de juste_ = Rightly enough.

    [Littré condemns this expression as ungrammatical, giving the
    correct form as: _comme il est juste_. It is, however, almost
    universally used.]


Justice

  _Passer à pleines voiles à travers les mailles de la justice_ =
  To drive a coach-and-four through an Act of Parliament.

    [Also: _Il est facile de donner une entorse à la loi._]

  _La justice ne connaît personne_ = Justice is no respecter of
  persons.



L.


Là

  _Je jette là mon soufflet avec dépit_ = I fling aside my bellows
  in disgust.
    [É. SOUVESTRE, _Le Philosophe sous les toits_.]


Laine

  _Nous sommes allés chercher de la laine et nous sommes revenus
  tondus_ = We went out to shear and returned shorn; The biter bit.


Laisser

  _Cela laisse à désirer_ = There is room for improvement; It is
  not quite the thing.

  _Je ne laisse pas d’être inquiet_ = In spite of all that, I am
  anxious.

    [Here we have the old meaning of laisser (= laxare) to leave off.
    Hence, I do not leave off being anxious.]

  _C’est à prendre ou à laisser_ = You must take it or leave it;
  It’s a case of Hobson’s choice.

  _Il se laissa faire_ = He offered no resistance.


Langage

  *“_Je vis de bonne soupe et non de beau langage_” = “Fair words
  butter no parsnips.”

    [The French is found in MOLIÈRE, _Les Femmes Savantes_, ii. 7,
    and the English equivalent in WYCHERLEY, _Plain Dealer_, v. 3.

    Also: _C’est un bel instrument que la langue._]


Langue

  _Ils tiraient la langue_ = (lit.) They put their tongues out;
  (fig.) They showed signs of distress.

  _Il a la langue trop longue_ = He cannot hold his tongue.

  _Il a la langue bien pendue_ = He has the gift of the gab.

  _Jeter sa langue aux chiens_ = To give up guessing (conundrums,
  etc.). (See _Chat_.)

  _La langue lui a fourché_ = He made a slip of the tongue.


Lanterne

  _Il veut nous faire prendre des vessies pour des lanternes_ = He
  would have us believe that the moon is made of green cheese.


Large

  _Prendre le large_ = To run for the offing (nav.); To run away.

  _Au large_ = In the open sea. (See _Plein_.)


Larron

  _Ils s’entendent comme larrons en foire_ = They are as thick as
  thieves.

  *_L’occasion fait le larron_ = Opportunity makes the thief; Keep
  yourself from opportunities and God will keep you from sins.

      [“How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
      Makes ill deeds done.”
                                SHAKESPEARE, _King John_, iv. 2.]


Latin

  _Latin de cuisine_ = Dog Latin.

  _J’y perds mon latin_ = I cannot make it out; I am nonplussed; I
  can make neither head nor tail of it.

  _Être au bout de son latin_ (or, _rouleau_) = To be at one’s
  wits’ end; Not to know what to do, or say, next.


Lettre

  _Je lui ai dit la chose en toutes lettres_ = I told him the
  matter plainly.

  _Ne prenez pas ce que je dis au pied de la lettre_ = Do not take
  what I say literally.


Lever

  _J’en lèverais la main_ = I would swear to it; I would take my
  oath to it.

    [The oath in courts of justice is taken in many countries with
    the right hand raised, palm outwards. In England we kiss a Bible.]

  _Le président leva la séance_ = The chairman dissolved the
  meeting; The Speaker left the chair.

  *_À qui se lève matin Dieu prête la main_ = It is the early bird
  that catches the worm.


Lèvre

  _J’avais le mot sur le bord des lèvres_ (or, _au bout de la
  langue_) = I had the word at the tip of my tongue.


Liard

  _Il n’a pas un rouge liard_ = He has not a brass farthing. (See
  _Radis_.)


Lièvre

  _C’est là que gît le lièvre_ = That is the main point; There’s
  the rub.

  *_Il ne faut pas courir deux lièvres à la fois_ = You must not
  have too many irons in the fire.

  _Il a une mémoire de lièvre_ = He has a memory like a sieve.

    [Also: _Il est comme les lièvres, il perd la mémoire en courant._]

  _Il veut prendre les lièvres au son du tambour_ = He makes a
  great noise about what should be kept secret; He divulged a plan
  which to succeed had to be kept secret.


Ligne

  _C’est un homme hors ligne_ = He is a first-rate man. (See
  _Hors_.)

  _Il est en première ligne_ = He is in the front rank.


Linotte

  _Il a une tête de linotte_ = He is a hare-brained fellow.


Livre

  _Traduire à livre ouvert_ = To translate at sight.


Loin

  _Revenir de loin_ = 1. To come back from a distant place. 2. To
  recover from a very severe illness.

  _De loin en loin_ = At long intervals.


Long

  *_Tout s’use à la longue_ = Everything wears out in time.

    [_Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse._]

  _Il se promenait de long en large_ = He was walking up and down,
  to and fro.

  _Il en sait trop long_ = He knows too much.

  _Il m’a raconté la chose tout au long_ = He told me every detail
  of the affair.

  _Il était étendu tout de son long_ = He was lying at full length.


Longer

  _Longer la côte_ = To hug the shore.


Longueur

  _Ce procès traîne en longueur_ = That lawsuit is dragging on
  slowly.


Louer

  *_Qui se loue s’emboue_ = Self-praise is no recommendation.


Loup

  _Il marche à pas de loup_ = He walks stealthily.

  _Il est connu comme le loup blanc_ = He is known to every one.

  *_Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue_ (or, _il sort du
  bois_) = Speak of angels and you hear their wings; Talk of the
  devil, he is sure to appear.

  *_Le loup mourra dans sa peau_ = A bad thing never dies; A bad
  man will die a bad man.

    [Lupus pilum mutat non mentem. Erasmus (Adagia 989) gives the
    Greek origin of this saying, ὁ λύκος τὴν τρίχα οὐ τὴν γνώμην
    ἀλλάττει, but he quotes no author.]

  _Tenir le loup par la queue_ = To have hold of the sow by the
  wrong ear.

  _On fait toujours le loup plus gros qu’il n’est_ = A tale never
  loses in the telling.

  *_Il faut hurler avec les loups_ = When we are at Rome we must
  do as Rome does; You must do as others do; He who kennels with
  wolves must howl.

    [“Evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. xv. 33). Paul
    quoted this iambic line form Menander’s “Thais,” “φθείρουσιν ἤθη
    χρῆσθ᾽ ὁμιλίαι κακαί.”

    The proverb about Rome is said to have originated with St.
    Ambrose, who, when he was asked by St. Augustine whether he
    should fast on Saturday or not when he was at Rome, although he
    was not accustomed to do so when at home, replied: “When I am at
    home I do not fast on Saturday; but when I am at Rome I do, and
    I think you should follow the custom of every city you visit,
    if you would avoid scandal.” From this reply originated the
    hexameter: Cum Romæ fueris Romano vive more = When you shall be
    at Rome, live after the Roman fashion.]

  _Tenir le loup par les oreilles_ = To be in a critical situation;
  To have caught a Tartar.

    [“Auribus lupum teneo.”--TERENCE, _Phormio_, iii. 2, 21.]

  _Il fait un froid de loup_ = It is terribly cold.

  *_Les loups ne se mangent pas entre eux_ = Dog does not eat dog;
  There is honour among thieves. (See _Corsaire_.)

  _Renfermer le loup dans la bergerie_ = To set the fox to keep the
  geese.

  _Ils se sont mis dans la gueule du loup_ = They rushed into the
  lion’s mouth.

  _C’est un vieux loup de mer_ = He is an old sea dog.


Lundi

      _Faire la Saint-Lundi_ }
      _Fêter Saint Lundi_    } = To do no work on Monday.
      _Faire le Lundi_       }


Lune

  _Faire un trou à la lune_ = “To shoot the moon”; To flee from
  one’s creditors. (See _Cloche_.)

  _Vouloir prendre la lune avec les dents_ = To attempt
  impossibilities.

      [“_Prendre la lune aux dents serait moins difficile._”
                                 LA FONTAINE, _Le Roi Candaule_.]



M.


Mâcher

  _Je ne lui ai pas mâché la chose_ = I did not mince matters with
  him.

  _Je lui ai donné sa besogne toute mâchée_ = I gave him his work
  all ready cut out; I made his work as easy as possible for him.


Madame

  _Elle fait la Madame_ = She gives herself airs (of little girls).


Mai

  _Mi-mai, queue d’hiver_ = The middle of May has usually three
  cold days (called _Les saints de glace_, May 11, 12, and 13).


Maigre

  _Faire maigre_ = To abstain from meat.

  _Faire maigre chère_ = To have poor fare.

  _Maigre comme un clou_ = As thin as a lath.


Maille

  _Il n’a ni sou ni maille_ = He has not got a rap, a brass
  farthing.

  _Avoir maille à partir avec quelqu’un_ = To have a bone to pick
  (a crow to pluck) with some one.

    [_Maille_ (= mite) was the smallest coin in France, and therefore
    could not be divided. Hence the saying means to have a quarrel
    with some one. Notice the old meaning of _partir_ in this idiom =
    to divide (Lat. _partiri_).]

  _Maille à maille se fait l’haubergeon_ = Many a little makes a
  mickle. (See _Goutte_ and _Petit_.)


Main

  _Donnez-moi une poignée de main_ = Shake hands with me.

  _Donnez-moi un coup de main_ = Give me a helping hand.

  _Vous n’y allez pas de main morte_ = You hit with a vengeance;
  You don’t do things by halves.

  _Avoir un poil dans la main_ = To be very lazy (so that hair
  grows on the palm of the hand).

  _Avoir la main heureuse_ = To be lucky at cards (or, at other
  things).

  _Avoir la main rompue à quelque chose_ = To be well versed at
  something.

  _Je le connais de longue main_ = I have known him for a long time.

  _Il disparut en un tour de main_ = He disappeared in an instant,
  in a twinkling.

  _Il a une chambre grande comme la main_ = He has a room not big
  enough to swing a cat in.

  _En venir aux mains_ = To come to blows.

  _Bas les mains_ = Hands off.

  _Les deux armées en sont aux mains_ = The two armies are in close
  combat, have come to close quarters.

  _Je me perds la main_ = I am getting rusty.

  _Je tirais au pistolet pour me faire la main_ = I practised
  pistol-shooting to get my hand in.

  _Il y a mis la dernière main_ = He put the finishing touch to it.

  _Il a fait cela haut la main_ = He did it with the greatest ease.

  _Mettre la main à la pâte_ = To put one’s shoulder to the wheel;
  To set to (a special piece of) work oneself.

  _Les voleurs firent main basse sur tous mes effets_ = The thieves
  laid hands on all my things.

  _Pour cela je vous baise les mains_ = As for that I will not do
  it; “No, thank you!”

  _J’en mettrais la main au feu_ = I would swear to it; I would
  stake my life on it; I would take my dying oath about it.

    [A reference to trial by ordeal.]


Mais

  _Je n’en peux mais!_ = I cannot help it!

    [_Mais_ is here an adverb, and shows its derivation from the
    Latin _magis_. The phrase literally means: “I can do no more.”]


Maison

  _Faire maison neuve_ (or, _nette_) = To change all one’s servants.

  _Il fait des demandes par dessus les maisons_ = He makes most
  unreasonable demands.


Maître

  *_Tel maître, tel valet_ = Like master, like man.

    [Or: _Tel couteau, tel fourreau._

    German: _Wie der Herr, so der Knecht._]

  _C’est une maîtresse femme_ = She is a superior woman.

    [One who manages her business or subordinates capably, makes her
    servants obey her and do their work well, and is respected by
    them.]


Mal

  *_À qui mal veut, mal arrive_ = Harm watch, harm catch; Curses,
  like chickens, come home to roost.

    [This proverb is said to be of Turkish origin. The Spanish
    equivalent is: “Who sows thorns, let him not walk barefoot.”
    Comp. _Psalms_ cix. 17.]

  _J’ai mal au cœur_ = I feel sick.

  _Vous prenez tout en mal_ = You put a wrong construction on
  everything.

  _Elle s’est trouvée mal_ = She fainted.

  _Elle est au plus mal_ = She is past recovery.

  _Sa sœur aînée n’est pas mal_ = Her elder sister is not
  bad-looking.

  *_Aux grands maux les grands remèdes_ = Desperate diseases
  require desperate remedies.


Malheur

  *_À quelque chose malheur est bon_ = It is an ill wind that blows
  no one any good.

    [“À quelque chose sert le malheur.”
                                    MONTAIGNE, _Essais_, ii. 17.]

  _Pour surcroît_ (or, _comble_) _de malheur il tomba malade_ = To
  crown his misfortunes he fell ill.

  *_Un malheur ne vient jamais seul_ = Misfortunes never come
  singly; It never rains but it pours.

    [Ital. _Benedetto è quel male, che vien solo_ = Blessed is that
    misfortune which comes alone.]

  _Il n’est qu’heur et malheur_ = That’s the way of the world.


Manant

  _C’est un manant_ = He is a coarse, ill-educated boor.

    [From _manens_ = one remaining fixed to the soil, a villein,
    serf.]


Manche (_m._)

  _Il branle dans le manche_ (or, _au manche_) = He is no longer
  firmly established in his post; He is irresolute.

  *_Jeter le manche après la cognée_ = To throw the rope after the
  bucket; To give up in despair.


Manche (_f._)

  _Je ne me ferai pas tirer par la manche_ = I shall not require
  much pressing.

  _C’est une autre paire de manches_ = That is quite another thing;
  That is a horse of another colour, another pair of shoes.

  _J’ai gagné la première manche_ = I won the first game (out of
  two or more).

  _Je l’ai dans ma manche_ = I have him at my disposal.


Manger

  _Il mange comme quatre_ = He eats like an ogre.

  _Il a mangé son pain blanc le premier_ = He had the happiest part
  of his life first. (See _Pain_.)

  _Manger son blé en herbe_ = To anticipate one’s revenue.

  _Il a mangé de la vache enragée_ = He has suffered many
  privations.

  _Il est très inquiet, il en perd le boire et le manger_ = He is
  very anxious, he has lost his appetite.


Manière

  _Je l’ai rossé de la belle manière_ (fam.) = I gave him a sound
  thrashing.


Manquer

  _Vous me manquez_ = I miss you.

  _Je vous manque_ = You miss me.

  _Il a manqué d’être pris_ = He was nearly caught.

  _C’est un avocat manqué_ = He is a would-be barrister; He is a
  failure as a barrister.

  _C’est un garçon manqué_ = She is a tomboy.

  _Ce serait manquer d’usage_ = That would be a breach of good
  manners.

  _Il ne manquait plus que cela!_ = That crowns all! That is the
  last straw!


Marchand

  _C’est un marchand de soupe_ = He is a regular Squeers.

    [This is said of a private schoolmaster who, far from regarding
    his profession as an honourable one, follows it solely with a
    view to profit, by having few and inferior assistants and by
    feeding his pupils cheaply and badly (thus making a profit on the
    _soup_). He looks upon teaching as the least important part of
    his work. Of course, this race of men is now entirely extinct.]


Marché

  _Par dessus le marché_ = Into the bargain; Over and above.

  _Il m’a mis le marché à la main_ = He told me I could take it or
  leave it; He made me decide one way or the other.

  _Est-ce marché fait?_ = Is it a bargain?

  _Vous en êtes quitte à bon marché_ = You came off cheaply.

  _Vous aurez bon marché de lui_ = You will easily get the better
  of him.

  _Je fais bon marché de cela_ = I hold that very cheap.

  _On n’a jamais bon marché d’une mauvaise marchandise_ = A bad
  thing is dear at any price; The best is the cheapest in the end.


Marée

  *_Ce qui vient de flot s’en retourne de marée_ = Fortune is as
  quick in going as in coming. (See _Flûte_.)


Mariée

  _Il se plaint que la mariée est trop belle_ = He complains that
  he has got too good a bargain.


Marmite

  _Faire bouillir la marmite_ = To keep the pot boiling.


Marotte

  _Chacun a sa marotte_ = Every one has his hobby.

    [Marotte is a kind of sceptre or rattle with a head on the end,
    furnished with bells, which jesters carry.]


Mars

      *_Mars venteux et Avril pluvieux
      Font le Mai gai et gracieux_ =
          March winds and April showers
          Make way for May flowers.


Marteau

  *_Mieux vaut être marteau qu’enclume_ = Better be striker than
  struck.

  _Être entre l’enclume et le marteau_ = To be in a dilemma; To be
  between the devil and the deep sea.

  _Graisser le marteau_ = To tip the porter.

    [There is the same idea in “Palm oil.”]


Martel

  _Il s’est mis martel en tête_ = He made himself very uneasy.


Massacrer

  _Il est d’une humeur massacrante_ = He is as cross as two sticks.


Matière

  _Il est bien enfoncé dans la matière_ = He is very coarse, very
  prosaic.

  _La table des matières_ = The table of contents (of a book).


Matin

  _Il partira un de ces quatre matins_ = He will start one of these
  fine days.


Maure

  _Traiter quelqu’un de Turc à Maure_ = To treat a person brutally.

    [As the Turks treated the Moors when they conquered the north of
    Africa. See MOLIÈRE, _Précieuses Ridicules_, 10.]

  *_À laver la tête d’un Maure_ (or, _d’un âne_, or, _d’un nègre_)
  _on y perd sa lessive_ = To endeavour to teach a fool is a waste
  of time.


Mèche

  _Il a éventé_ (or, _vendu_) _la mèche_ = He has let the cat out
  of the bag; He has blown the gaff.

  _Il n’y a pas mèche_ (pop.) = “It’s no go”; There is no doing it.


Médaille

  _C’est le revers de la médaille_ = That is the dark side of the
  picture.


Médard

      _S’il pleut le jour de St. Médard,
      Il pleut quarante jours plus tard.
      S’il pleut le jour de St. Gervais,
      Il pleut quarante jours après_ =
          “St Swithin’s day, gif ye do rain
          For forty days will it remain.”

      [Le jour de St. Médard = June 8.
      Le jour de St. Gervais = June 19.
      St. Swithin’s Day = July 15.]


Médecin

      _Voilà trois médecins qui ne vous trompent pas:
      Gaîté, doux exercice et modeste repas_ =
          The best physicians are Dr. Diet,
          Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merriman.


Méfiance

  *_La méfiance est mère de la sûreté_ = Safe bind, safe find.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iii. 18.]


Même

  _Il buvait à même la bouteille_ = He was drinking out of the
  bottle itself.

    [This is an inversion for _à la bouteille même_. _Boire à même_
    is not usually used of cups or glasses, but of bottles, jugs,
    streams, etc. For it implies that the containing vessel itself
    is being used to drink out of, and not any smaller vessel. Thus
    _boire à même le verre_ would suggest that a spoon or smaller
    receptacle was not used.]

  _Il est à même de vous comprendre_ = He is able to understand you.

  _Cela revient au même_ = That comes to the same thing.

  _C’est cela même_ = That is the very thing.

  _Faites de même_ = Do the same.


Ménage

  _Ils font bon ménage_ = They live happily together.

  _Elle fait le ménage_ = She is doing her housework.


Ménager

  *_Qui veut voyager loin ménage sa monture_ = Who wishes to go far
  spares his horse; He who wishes to live long avoids excess.
    [RACINE, _Plaideurs_, i. 1.]


Mentir

  *_A beau mentir gui vient de loin_ = A traveller may lie with
  impunity; Travellers tell fine tales.

  _Quasi et presque empêchent les gens de mentir_ = Almost and very
  nigh save many a lie.


Méprendre

  _Québec, c’est Saint-Malo à s’y méprendre_ (Max O’Rell) = You
  could easily mistake Quebec for St. Malo.


Mer

  *_Ce n’est pas la mer à boire_ = It is not an impossibility; It
  is not so very difficult after all.

  *_Porter de l’eau à la mer_ = To carry coals to Newcastle.


Mérite

  _Remplir son mérite_ = To act up to one’s reputation.


Merle

  *_On ne prend pas les vieux merles à la pipée_ = Old birds are
  not to be caught with chaff.


Merveille

  _Il se porte à merveille_ = He is in splendid health.


Messe

  *_Près du moûtier, à messe le dernier_ = The nearer the church,
  the farther from God.


Métier

  _Il nous a servi un plat de son métier_ (or, _de sa façon_) = He
  played us one of his tricks.

  *“_À chacun son métier et les vaches seront bien gardées_”
  (FLORIAN, _Fables_, i. 12) = Let the cobbler stick to his last.

    [“Ne sutor ultra crepidam” (judicet).]


Mettre

  _Mettez cent francs_ = Make it £4.

  _Il se mettrait en quatre pour ses amis_ = He would do anything
  for his friends.

  _Il se met bien_ = He dresses well.

  _On veut nous mettre dedans_ (fam.) = They want to entrap us, to
  take us in.


Midi

  _Chercher midi à quatorze heures_ = To make (_or_, seek)
  difficulties where there are none; To look for grapes on thorns.

    [This expression has its origin in the old custom, still in
    use in some parts of Italy, of reckoning the hours of the day
    consecutively from 1 to 24, beginning at sunset. Hence, noon
    may vary from the 16th to the 20th hour, but is never the 14th.
    Voltaire’s epigram for a sun-dial is very well known, but may
    bear repetition:--

      “Vous qui vivez dans ces demeures,
      Êtes-vous bien? tenez-vous y,
      Et n’allez pas chercher midi
          À quatorze heures.”]

  _Chacun connaît midi à sa porte_ = Each one knows his own
  business best.


Mien

  _J’y ai mis du mien, mettez-y du vôtre_ = I have given way a bit,
  meet me half-way; I have done my share at it, now it’s your turn.


Mieux

  *_Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien_ = Leave well alone.

  _Ils criaient à qui mieux mieux_ = Each was trying to shout
  louder than the other; Each tried to drown the others’ voices.

  _Je ne demande pas mieux_ = Nothing would give me greater
  pleasure.

  _Elle est mieux que sa sœur_ = She is prettier than her sister.

  _Faute de mieux_ = For want of something better.

  _Tant mieux_ = So much the better.

  _Il est au mieux avec son médecin_ = He is on the best terms with
  his doctor.

  _On ne peut mieux_ = As well as possible; It could not be better.

  _Vous arrivez on ne peut mieux_ = You could not have come at a
  more opportune moment.


Milieu

  _Le juste milieu_ = The golden mean.

  _Au beau milieu_ = In the very midst.

  _Vertu gît au milieu_ = Do not rush into extremes.

    [In medio tutissimus ibis = _Allez par le milieu et vous ne
    tomberez pas._ Compare the English: When slovenly girls get tidy,
    they polish the bottoms of saucepans.]


Mine

  _Faire bonne mine à mauvais jeu_ = To put a good face on the
  matter; To make the best of a bad job.

  _If fait mine de ne pas comprendre_ = He pretends not to
  understand.

  _Il nous a fait mauvaise_ (or, _grise_) _mine_ = He looked black
  (sour) at us; He did not receive us well.

  _Cet homme a très mauvaise mine_ = 1. That man looks a regular
  ruffian. 2. That man looks very ill.

  _Il ne paye pas de mine_ = His appearance is against him.

  _Ne jugez pas sur la mine_ = Do not judge by appearances.

      [“_Garde-toi, tant que tu vivras,
      De juger des gens sur la mine._”
                                   LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, vi. 5.]

  _Elle fait la mine_ = She is sulking.


Mode

  _Elle est ma tante à la mode de Bretagne_ = She is my father’s
  (_or_, mother’s) first cousin; She is my first cousin once
  removed.

  _Elle est ma nièce à la mode de Bretagne_ = She is the daughter
  of my first cousin.

    [These phrases are used of any very distant relationship.]


Moindre

  _C’est là son moindre défaut_ = That is not a great weakness of
  hers (_or_, his); That is the last thing you can reproach her
  (_or_, him) with.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, i. 1.]


Moineau

  _Deux moineaux sur même épi ne sont pas longtemps amis_ = Two of
  a trade seldom agree.

      [“Καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει και τέκτονι τέκτων
      Καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῶ.”
                                    HESIOD, _Opera et dies_, 25.]

  _Il tire sa poudre aux moineaux_ = He wastes his trouble for
  nothing.


Mois

  _Tous les 36 du mois_ = Once in a blue moon.


Monde

  _C’est vieux comme le monde_ = It is as old as the hills.

  _Vous dites des choses de l’autre monde_ = You say most
  out-of-the-way things.

  _Il y a un monde fou_ = There is a terrible crowd. (See _Fou_.)

  _Vous moquez-vous du monde de parler ainsi?_ = Are you making fun
  of people (are you serious) in speaking thus? Do you take people
  for a pack of fools?

  _Si vous obtenez cinq francs, c’est le bout du monde_ = If you
  get five francs, it is the utmost; You will get five francs at
  the very outside.

  _Si elle a trente ans c’est tout le bout du monde_ = She may be
  thirty at the very outside.

  _On ne peut contenter tout le monde et son père_ = One cannot
  satisfy everybody, all the world and his wife.

      [“Parbleu, dit le meunier, est bien fou du cerveau
      Qui prétend contenter tout le monde et son père.”
                                  LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, iii. 1.]


Monnaie

  _Il lui a rendu la monnaie de sa pièce_ = He paid him back in his
  own coin.


Mont

  _Par monts et par vaux_ = Up hill and down dale.


Montée

  _À grande montée grande descente_ = The higher the rise, the
  greater the fall; He who climbs too high is near a fall.

      [“Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself.”
                                    SHAKESPEARE, _Macbeth_, i. 7.

    Also: _La Roche Tarpéienne est près du Capitole._]


Montrer

  _Montrer le soleil avec un flambeau_ = To paint the lily; To hold
  a farthing rushlight to the sun.


Mordre

  _Se mordre les doigts_ = To repent what one has done.

  _Se mordre la langue_ = To repent what one has said.


Mort

  _Il est mort de sa belle mort_ = He died a natural death.

  _Il est à l’article de la mort_ = He is at the point of death, at
  death’s door.

  _Quand on compte sur les souliers d’un mort on risque de marcher
  pieds nus_ = It’s an ill thing to wait for dead men’s shoes; He
  pulls with a long rope that waits for another’s death.

    [Also: _Qui s’attend à l’écuelle d’autrui risque fort de mal
    dîner._]

  _Avoir la mort dans l’âme_ = To be grieved to death; To be
  overwhelmed with grief.


Morveux

  *_Qui se sent morveux se mouche_ (pop.) = If the cap fits, wear
  it. (See _Galeux_.)


Mot

  _Ils en sont venus aux gros mots_ = They came to high words.

  *_Qui ne dit mot consent_ = Silence gives consent.

  _Il a toujours le mot pour rire_ = He is ever ready with a joke;
  He is full of fun.

  _Il a 40,000 francs de rente au bas mot_ = He has £1600 a year at
  the very least.

  *_À bon entendeur demi-mot suffit_ (or, _salut_) = A word to the
  wise is enough; _Verbum sap._

  _Il entend à demi-mot_ = He can take a hint.

  _Ils se sont donné le mot_ = They have passed the word round;
  They have agreed before-hand what to say.

  _Tranchons le mot_ = In plain English; Not to mince matters; To
  put it plainly.

  _C’est mon dernier mot_ = That is the last concession I can make;
  I will not take less.

  _Il sait le fin mot de tout cela_ = He understands the upshot of
  all this.

  _Ne soufflez pas mot!_ = Do not breathe a word!

  _En deux mots_ = To cut a long story short.

  _Des mots longs d’une toise_ = Words as long as your arm.
    [RACINE, _Plaideurs_, i. 1.]

  _Je ne mâche pas mes mots_ = I don’t mince matters; I call a
  spade a spade.


Mouche

  _Les grosses mouches passent à travers la toile de la justice,
  mais les petites y sont prises_ = One man may steal a horse,
  while another dare not look over the hedge; Justice will whip a
  beggar, but bow to a lord; One does the scath, another has the
  harm; The crow gets pardoned, and the dove has the blame.

      [“_Où la guêpe a passé, le moucheron demeure._”
                                   LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, ii. 16.

      “Quidquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi.”
                                               HOR., _Ep._, i. 2.

    Italian: Un fa il peccato, l’altro la penitenza.]

  *_Vous faites d’une mouche un éléphant_ = You make a mountain out
  of a molehill.

      [“Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.”
                                          HORACE, _Ars Poetica_.]

  _Quelle mouche vous pique?_ = What irritates you? What whim have
  you got into your head?

  _Il a pris la mouche_ = He is in a huff; He got offended.

  *_On prend plus de mouches avec du miel qu’avec du vinaigre_ =
  More is done by kindness than by harshness.

  _C’est une fine mouche_ = He is a sly dog, a deep one.

  _C’est la mouche du coche_ = He is a regular busybody; The worst
  wheel makes the most noise. (See _Coche_ and _Bruit_.)

  _Faire mouche_ = To hit the bull’s eye.


Moudre

  _Il viendra moudre à notre moulin_ = He will be in want of us
  some day.


Moulin

  _C’est un vrai moulin à paroles_ = She is a regular chatterbox;
  He is a regular windbag.


Moutarde

  _Il m’a fait monter la moutarde au nez_ = He irritated me; He
  made me lose my temper.

  _C’est de la moutarde après dîner_ = It comes too late to be of
  any use; It is a day after the fair.

    [“Depugnato proelio venire.”--PLAUTUS, _Menaechmi_, v. 6, 30.

    “Κατόπιν τῆς ἑορτῆς ἥκεις” = You have come after the
    feast.--PLATO, _Gorgias_.]


Moutardier

  _Il se croit le premier moutardier du pape_ = He thinks no small
  beer of himself.


Mouton

  *_Revenons à nos moutons_ = But to return to our subject.

    [From an old farce of the fifteenth century, _Maistre Pierre
    Pathelin_, verse 1191, attributed without foundation to Pierre
    Blanchet. M. F. Génin in his edition (1854) gives 1460 as the
    date, and Antoine de la Sale as the author. It was adapted
    in 1706 by Brueys and Palaprat, under the title of _L’Avocat
    Patelin_. See also RÉGNIER, _Sat._, ii.]


Moyen

  _Il n’y a pas moyen_ = It cannot be done.

  _Il fait valoir ses moyens_ = 1. He makes the best of his
  talents. 2. He boasts of his talents.

  _Cet enfant a peu de moyens_ = That child is not clever.


Mur

  _Je l’ai mis au pied du mur_ = I drove him into a corner; I made
  him decide one way or the other.


Muraille

  *_Muraille blanche, papier de fou_ = Fools write their names on
  walls.

    [Late Latin: Stultorum calami, carbones mœnia chartae.]


Musique

  _Il est réglé comme un papier de musique_ = He is as regular as
  clockwork.



N.


Nage

  _Je suis tout en nage_ = I am in a thorough perspiration; I have
  not a dry thread on me.


Navette

  _Faire la navette_ = To go to and fro between two places several
  times.


Nèfle

  _Avoir quelque chose pour des nèfles_ (fam.) = To buy something
  for a mere song.


Nerf

  _Vous me donnez sur les nerfs_ = You get on my nerves; You rile
  me (fam.).


Net

  _Mettez cela au net_ = Make a fair copy of that.

  _Il a les mains nettes_ (fig.) = He is honest; His hands are
  clean.

  _Refuser net_ = To refuse point-blank.


Nez

  _Il a un pied de nez_ (fam.) = He pulls a long face, looks
  foolish.

    [Also: _Il fait un nez._]

  _Il a fait un pied de nez_ (fam.) = He put his fingers to his
  nose; “He cut a snook.”

  _Ce coup l’a fait saigner du nez_ = That blow made his nose bleed.

  _Il a saigné du nez_ = (lit.) His nose bled; (fig.) His heart
  failed him.

  _A vue de nez_ = By rule of thumb.

  _Il veut toujours fourrer son nez partout_ (fam.) = He wants to
  have his finger in every pie. (See _Fourrer_.)

  _On voulait lui tirer les vers du nez_ = They wished to pump him.

  _Vous vous y casserez le nez_ = 1. You will fall on your face. 2.
  You will knock up against something. 3. You will fail in that.

  _Porter le nez au vent_ = To stare about aimlessly.

  _Il me regarda sous le nez_ = He stared me in the face.

  _Il me l’a jeté au nez_ = He cast it in my teeth.

  _Il a le nez fin_ = 1. He has a good nose. 2. He is far-sighted,
  sagacious.

  _Qui coupe son nez dégarnit son visage_ = It is an ill bird that
  fouls its own nest; He who cuts off his nose spites his own face.

    [Also: _S’arracher le nez pour faire dépit à son visage._]

  _Il me ferma la porte au nez_ = He shut the door in my face.

  _Il lui en pend autant au nez_ = He may expect as much (something
  unpleasant); He will fare no better.


Nid

  _On n’a plus trouvé que le nid_ = They found the birds flown.


Nitouche

  _Elle fait la sainte Nitouche_ = She plays the innocent; She
  looks as if butter would not melt in her mouth; She looks very
  demure.

    [_Sainte Nitouche_ is derived from _sainte n’y touche_, shortened
    from _une sainte qui n’y touche pas_. See _Toucher_.]


Noce

  _Je n’ai jamais été à pareille noce_ (or, _fête_) = I never had
  such a time of it.

  _Il a fait la noce toute la semaine_ = He has had a high old time
  of it all the week; He has been on the spree all the week.

    [Literally, to enjoy oneself as if one were _a guest at a
    wedding_, where there is plenty of merriment, food, and drink.]

  _Je ne suis pas à la noce_ = I am not enjoying myself at all.


Noël

  *_Tant crie l’on Noël qu’il vient_ (Villon) = Long looked for
  comes at last; That is coming--like Christmas.

  _Quand Noël est vert, les Pâques seront blanches_ = When the
  winter is mild, the spring will be wintry.


Noir

  _Voir tout en noir_ = To look on the black side of things; To
  have the blues.

    [Opposite to: _voir tout en rose_, or, _voir tout couleur de
    rose_.]

  _Broyer du noir_ = To have the blues; To feel very sad.


Nom

  _Nom d’un petit bonhomme!_ (fam.) = By Jingo!

  _Voilà un nom à coucher dehors (avec un billet de logement
  dans la poche)_ = That’s a name too ugly for words; That’s an
  outlandish name if you like.


Nombre

  _Tout fait nombre_ = Every little helps.


Normand

  _C’est répondre en Normand_ = That is an evasive answer.


Nourrice

  _Elle dit qu’elle a vingt ans._--_Et les mois de nourrice!_ (fam.)
  = She says she is twenty.--And the rest!


Nouvelle

  _Goûtez-moi ce vin; vous m’en direz des nouvelles_ (fam.) = You
  just taste this wine, you don’t get wine like that every day;
  What do you think of that for wine, my boy?


Nue

  _Tomber des nues_ = To be astounded.


Nuire

  *_Ce qui nuit à l’un sert à l’autre_ = What is one man’s meat is
  another man’s poison.


Nuit

  *_La nuit porte conseil_ = Time will show a plan; Sleep upon it;
  Seek advice of your pillow.



O.


Œil

  _Se fourrer le doigt dans l’œil_ (pop.) = To deceive oneself
  blindly.

    [Sometimes _jusqu’au coude_ is added.]

  _Il a les yeux au beurre noir_ (pop.) = He has a couple of black
  eyes; He has his eyes in mourning.

    [Also: _Il à les yeux pochés._]

  _Je ne vois pas cela d’un bon œil_ = I do not look favourably
  upon that.

  _Cela saute aux yeux_ = That is evident, obvious; It is as clear
  as noonday.

  _Je l’ai regardé entre les deux yeux_ = I looked him straight in
  the face; I stared at him.

  _Entrer à l’œil dans un théâtre_ (fam.) = To get into a theatre
  on the nod (_i.e._ gratis).

  _Avoir le compas dans l’œil_ = To have a good eye for distances.

  _Elle a des yeux à la perdition de son âme_ = Her eyes are so
  lovely that they will be her ruin.

  _Vous ne voyez point votre chapeau? Mais il vous crève les yeux!_
  = You do not see your hat? Why, it stares you in the face! (it’s
  just under your nose).

  _La lumière me tire les yeux_ = The light hurts my eyes.

  _Il ne le fera pas pour vos beaux yeux_ = He will not do it for
  you for nothing.

  _Nous convînmes de cela entre quatre yeux_ = We agreed to that
  between ourselves.

  _Je m’en bats l’œil_ (pop.) = I don’t care a straw for it.

  _Il a les yeux battus_ = He has a tired look about his eyes.

  _Il a les yeux cernés_ = He has dark circles round his eyes.

  _Des yeux à fleur de tête_ = Goggle eyes. (See _Fleur_.)

  _Ouvrez l’œil, et le bon!_ (fam.) = Look out!

  _Cela lui a tapé dans l’œil_ (pop.) = That took his fancy; He was
  much struck by that.


Œuf

  *_Donner un œuf pour avoir un bœuf_ = To give a sprat to catch a
  herring (_or_, mackerel).

    [Also: _Supporter peu pour avoir tout_.]

  *_Faire d’un œuf un bœuf_ = To make a mountain out of a molehill.

  _Il tondrait sur un œuf_ = He would skin a flint. (See _Huile_
  and _Cheveux_.)


Œuvre

  *_La fin couronne l’œuvre_ = The end crowns all; All’s well that
  ends well.

  _Mettez la main à l’œuvre_ = Put your shoulder to the wheel.

  *_À l’œuvre on connaît l’artisan_ = A carpenter is known by his
  chips; The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, i. 21, _Les frelons et la mouche à miel_.]


Oindre

      *_Oignez vilain, il vous poindra:
      Poignez vilain, il vous oindra._

    [An old saying used by the French nobles during the middle
    ages, and found in a collection of proverbs of the thirteenth
    century.--_Rab._, i, 21. The Duc de Bourbon, in speaking before
    the États-Généraux in 1484, said: “Je connais le caractère des
    vilains. S’ils ne sont opprimés, il faut qu’ils oppriment.”

      Comp. “Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
        And it stings you for your pains;
      Grasp it like a man of mettle,
        And it soft as silk remains.”
         --AARON HILL, _Verses written on a window in Scotland_.]


Oiseau

  _Il a battu les buissons, un autre a pris l’oiseau_ = He did the
  work and another had the profit.

    [Donatus in his “Life of Virgil” quotes the famous line: “Sic vos
    non vobis nidificatis aves.” Hesiod says of drones: “ἀλλότριον
    κάματον σφετέρην ἑς γαστερ᾽ ἀμῶνται = Into their own bellies they
    scrape together the labour of others.” The Talmud says: “One says
    grace and another eats”; the New Testament: “One soweth, another
    reapeth.” Henry V. is reported to have said: “Shall I beat the
    bush and another take the bird?” when it was proposed to him to
    give up the Duke of Orleans to the Burgundians.]

  *_À tout oiseau son nid est beau_ = Home is home, be it ever so
  homely. (See _Chez_.)

  “_Aux petits des oiseaux il donne leur pâture_” = He that sends
  mouths sends meat.
    [RACINE, _Athalie_, ii. 7.]

  _À vue d’oiseau_ = A bird’s-eye view.

  _À vol d’oiseau_ = As the crow flies.


Oisiveté

  *“_L’oisiveté est la mère de tous les vices_” = “For Satan finds
  some mischief still for idle hands to do.”--WATTS, _Divine
  Songs_, xx. (See _Fille_.)

    [COLLÉ, _La Partie de Chasse de Henri IV._, iii. 1. Also:
    _Négligence mène déchéance_ = Idle men tempt the devil.]


On

  On _est un sot_ = “They-say-so” is half a liar.

    [Note that there is no liaison after _On_ here.]


Ongle

  _Il a de l’esprit jusqu’au bout des ongles_ = He is witty to the
  tips of his fingers; He is extremely witty.

  _Il a bec et ongles_ = He will fight with beak and claw, tooth
  and nail.


Onguent

  *_Dans les petites boîtes les bons onguents_ = Small parcels hold
  fine wares. (See _Aune_.)


Opiner

  _Il opine du bonnet_ = He agrees with the previous speakers
  without saying a word.

    [From the custom of judges who agreed with the decision of a
    brother judge, taking off their caps and saying nothing. It is
    also said of a subordinate who always agrees with his superior.]


Oreille

  _Il se fera tirer l’oreille_ = He will require pressing.

  _Il se retira l’oreille basse_ = He went away crestfallen.

  _J’ai les oreilles rebattues de cela_ = I am tired of hearing
  that.

  _Il dort sur les deux oreilles_ = (lit.) He sleeps soundly;
  (fig.) His mind is quite easy.

  _Il n’écoute que d’une oreille_ = He pays very little attention
  to what is being said.

  _Ne venez pas ainsi me corner aux oreilles_ = Do not come and din
  it into my ears in that way.

  _Il fait la sourde oreille_ = He turns a deaf ear; He pretends
  not to hear.

  _Je n’entends pas de cette oreille-là_ = I will not listen to
  that.

  _Par dessus les oreilles_ = Over head and ears.

  _Autant lui en pend à l’oreille_ = He may expect the same
  (something unpleasant). (Compare _Nez_.)

  _Les oreilles ont dû vous corner (tinter)_ = Your ears must
  have burned.

  _Je lui frotterai les oreilles_ = I will twist his tail for him.


Orfèvre

  *“_Vous êtes orfèvre, Monsieur Josse!_” = That is a bit of
  special pleading; That is not disinterested advice; There’s
  nothing like leather!

    [MOLIÈRE, _L’Amour Médecin_, i. 1. This quotation refers to
    Sganarelle’s daughter who suffers from an incurable lowness of
    spirits. All his neighbours give him advice as to how to cure
    her; among them, Monsieur Josse, a jeweller, suggests that a fine
    necklace of diamonds or rubies would undoubtedly cure her. The
    father, distracted though he be, is not so far gone as not to see
    through this remark, and he replies in the words that have since
    become proverbial.]


Orgueil

  *_Il n’est orgueil que de sot enrichi_ = Set a beggar on
  horseback, he’ll ride to the devil.


Orme

  *_Attendez-moi sous l’orme_ = You may wait for me till doomsday.


Ortie

  _Rabelais jeta le froc aux orties_ = Rabelais was an unfrocked
  priest.


Ôter

  _Ôte-toi de là que je m’y mette_ = You get out and let me get in.

    [Origin unknown; probably le Vicomte de Ségur first used it.
    Comp. Sancho Panza, “Imitando al juego de los muchachos que dicen
    ‘Salta tu y dámela tu’ doy un salto del gobierno.”]


Oublier

  _Oublions le passé_ = Let bygones be bygones.


Ours

  _C’est un ours mal léché_ = He is an ill-licked cub; He is an
  ill-bred [_or_, ill-shapen] fellow.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, xi. 7.]

  _C’est le pavé de l’ours_ = Save me from my friends.

      [“Rien n’est si dangereux qu’un ignorant ami
      Mieux vaudrait un sage ennemi.”
                                 LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, viii. 10.

    An old gardener, feeling lonely, had adopted a bear as a
    companion. One day, when his master was asleep, he sees a fly on
    his face; he tries to drive it away, but it declines to move, so
    he takes up a huge paving-stone and kills the fly--and his master
    too.]


Ouvrier

  *_Mauvais ouvrier n’a jamais bons outils_ = A bad workman always
  blames his tools.


Ouvrir

  _Il traduit à livre ouvert_ = He translates at sight.



P.


Paille

  _Tout y va, la paille et le blé_ = He spends all he has.

  _Il mourra sur la paille_ = He will die in the gutter.

  _Il est sur la paille_ = He is exceedingly poor.

  _Tirons à la courte paille_ = Let us draw lots.

  *_Cela enlève la paille_ = “That takes the cake.”

    [The French is hardly as popular an expression as the English,
    which might be rendered in French by _décrocher la timbale_.
    Quitard derives _paille_ from _paîle_, a kind of rich cloth given
    as a prize in athletic contests. Littré imagines it originated
    with amber, which has the property of raising light objects, such
    as straw. Madame de Sévigné writes (13th Jan. 1672): “Racine a
    fait une comédie qui s’appelle Bajazet et qui enlève la paille.”
    The English expression is said to come from the custom of
    negroes, when giving a ball, to provide a cake to be given to the
    best-dressed couple. The competitors walk round and are judged by
    the other guests. Hence the term cake-walk.]


Pain

  _Cet homme est bon comme le pain_ = That man is goodness itself.

  _Il a mangé son pain blanc le premier_ = He had the best of his
  life first; His happiest days are over.

    [In many parts of the Continent white bread is not the matter of
    course that it is in England; brown or black bread is the usual
    fare of the poorer classes.]

  *_Tel grain, tel pain_ = What you sow, you must mow.

  _On lui a fait passer le goût du pain_ (fam.) = They killed him.

  _C’est pain bénit_ = It serves you (him, her, them) right.

  _Il a du pain sur la planche_ = He has saved money; He has enough
  to live upon; He has put something by for a rainy day; There is
  plenty of work for him to do.

  *_De tout s’avise à qui pain faut (manque)_ = Necessity is the
  mother of invention.

  *_Pain tant qu’il dure, vin à mesure_ = Eat at pleasure, drink by
  measure.

  *_Il ne vaut pas le pain qu’il mange_ = He is not worth his salt.

  _Il sait son pain manger_ = He knows on which side his bread is
  buttered.

  *_C’est un long jour qu’un jour sans pain_ = ’Tis a long lane
  that has no turning.

  *_Pain dérobé réveille appétit_ = Stolen joys are sweet.

      [“_Pain qu’on dérobe et qu’on mange en cachette,
        Vaut mieux que pain qu’on cuit et qu’on achète._”
                                   LA FONTAINE, _Les Troqueurs_.]

  _Je ne mange pas de ce pain-là_ = I don’t go in for that sort of
  thing.


Pair

  _Hors de pair_ = Beyond all comparison; Above the level of others.

  _Traiter quelqu’un de pair à compagnon_ = To be
  hail-fellow-well-met with any one; To treat any one on an equal
  footing.


Paire

  *_Les deux font la paire_ (fam.) = They are well matched;
  _Arcades ambo_.


Paître

  *_Je l’ai envoyé paître_ (fam.) = I sent him about his business.


Paix

  _Paix et peu_ = Anything for a quiet life.


Panier

  *_Adieu paniers, vendanges sont faites_ = You come too late, it
  is all over.

    [The chorus of an old glee sung by the grape-pickers when their
    labours were finished. Comp. RABELAIS, _Gargantua_, xxvii.]

  _Vous me donnez le dessus du panier_ = You give me the best, the
  pick.

    [_Le dessous du panier_ = the refuse.]

  _C’est un panier percé_ = He is a spendthrift.


Panneau

  _Donner dans le panneau_ = To fall into the trap.


Panse

  _Il n’a pas fait une panse d’a aujourd’hui_ = He has not done a
  stroke all day.

    [_Panse d’a_ = the round part of an _a_.]


Papier

  _Il n’est pas dans mes petits papiers_ = He is not in my good
  books.

                    [“Oh! pourvu que je sois
    Dans les petits papiers du _Mercure François_.”
                           ROSTAND, _Cyrano de Bergerac_, ii. 8.]


Paquet

  _Je lui ai donné son paquet_ = I gave him the sack.

  _Faire un paquet_ = To make a parcel.

  _Faire son paquet_ = To pack up and go.


Par

  _De par le roi_ = By the king’s command.

      [“De par le roi, défense à Dieu
        De faire miracle en ce lieu.”

    A cynical couplet that arose when Louis XV. prohibited
    pilgrimages to the tomb of François de Pâris, behind the Church
    of St. Médard in Paris, because of the Convulsionnaires.]


Paraître

  _Sans qu’il y paraisse, c’est un homme fort instruit_ = Without
  making any show he is a very well-informed man.

  _A ce qu’il me paraît_ = As far as I can judge, see.

  _Le livre vient de paraître_ = The book is just out, just
  published.

  _Il n’y paraît plus_ = There is no trace of it.

  _Il n’y paraît pas_ = One would not have thought it.


Pareil

  _J’ai le pareil_ = I have one like it.

  _Je vous rendrai la pareille_ = 1. I will pay you out. 2. I will
  do the same for you.

  _On n’a jamais vu chose pareille_ = One never heard of such a
  thing.


Paresseux

  *_Ce sont les paresseux qui font le plus de chemin_ = Lazy people
  take the most pains.

  _Parier Il y a cent_ (or, _gros_) _à parier qu’ils ne reviendront
  pas_ = The odds are that they will not come back.


Paris

  _Il prend Paris pour Corbeil, le Pirée pour un homme_ = “He does
  not know a hawk from a handsaw.”

    [_Hamlet_, ii. 2, where “handsaw” is a corruption of hernshaw =
    heron. This was an old proverb, corrupted before Shakespeare’s
    day.

    “Pour grain ne prenant paille ou Paris pour Corbeil.”--RÉGNIER,
    _Sat._ xiv.]

  _Le Tout-Paris de ce temps-là_ = The fashionable world of Paris
  of that day.


Parler

  _Nous parlions de la pluie et du beau temps_ = We were not
  talking of anything important or confidential; We were talking of
  indifferent matters.

      _Parler de bouche_     } = Lip worship does not
      _Au cœur ne touche_    }     reach the heart.

  _C’est à vous à parler_ = It is your turn to speak.

  _C’est à vous de parler_ = It is your duty to speak.

  _Qu’il vienne, il trouvera à qui parler_ = Let him come, he will
  find his match.

  _Trop gratter cuit, trop parler nuit_ = Least said, soonest
  mended; Speech is silvern, silence is golden.

    [Italian: Chi parla semina, chi tace raccoglie = Who speaks sows,
    who keeps silence reaps.

      _Qui d’autruy parler voudra
      Regarde soi et il taira._]

  *_Jamais beau parler n’écorcha la langue_ = Fair words never did
  harm; Civility costs nothing.

  _Il a son franc parler_ = He is free-spoken.


Parole

  *_Vous avez la parole_ = It is your turn to speak; You are
  allowed to speak (_i.e._ you have caught the Speaker’s eye). See
  _Avoir_.

  _Je lui coupai la parole_ = I interrupted him.

  *_Un homme d’honneur n’a que sa parole_ = An honest man’s word is
  as good as his bond.

  _Être de parole_ = To be as good as one’s word.

  _Manquer de parole_ (or, _manquer à sa parole_) = To break one’s
  word.

  _Tenir parole_ = To keep one’s word.


Part

  _En bonne ou mauvaise part_ = In a good or bad sense.

  _Nous le savons de bonne part_ = We know it on good authority.


Partager

  _Il est bien partagé_ = The Fates have been kind to him.


Parti

  _Il a pris son parti_ = 1. He has made up his mind. 2. He has
  resigned himself to it.

  _De parti pris_ = Deliberately.

  _C’est un parti pris_ = His mind is made up; It is a foregone
  conclusion.

  _C’est un parti pris chez lui de toujours contredire_ = He will
  always contradict.

  _A parti pris point de conseil_ = Advice is useless when a man’s
  mind is made up.

  _Il tire parti de tout_ = He makes a profit out of everything.

  _Il sait tirer parti de la vie_ = He knows how to make the best
  of life.

  _Il a épousé un bon parti_ = He made a good match.

  _Il vous fera un mauvais parti_ = He will try and pick a quarrel
  with you so as to ill-use you, to do you harm.


Partie

  _Il m’a pris à partie_ = He took me to task; (legally) He
  summoned me.

    [_Partie_ is literally a man who pleads against any one in a
    lawsuit. Compare:

    “Va, je suis ta partie et non pas ton bourreau.”
                                          CORNEILLE, _Cid_, 839.]

  _C’était une partie nulle_ = It was a drawn game.


Pas

  _Marcher à pas de géant_ = To put on one’s seven-league boots.

  _Se tirer d’un mauvais pas_ = To get out of an awkward fix
  (scrape).

  *_Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte_ = In everything the
  beginning is the most difficult part; The first step downward
  makes the others easier.

    [“_Il n’y a que le premier obstacle qui coûte à
    vaincre._”--BOSSUET, _Pensées chrétiennes_, 9.]

  _Il prend le pas sur moi_ = He takes precedence of me.

  _J’y vais de ce pas_ = I am going there directly.

  _Je le mettrai au pas_ = I will put him on his good behaviour.

  _Marquer le pas_ = (lit.) To mark time; (fig.) To wait for a post
  to which one has a right.

  _Marchez au pas_ = Drive slowly; Walk in step.


Passe

  _Il est en passe de devenir ministre_ = He is in a fair way (he
  stands a good chance) to become a Cabinet Minister.


Passer

  _Il faut bien que j’en passe par là_ = I must submit to that; I
  must put up with it.

  _Nous ne pouvons nous passer de cela_ = We cannot do without that.

  *_Passons au déluge_ = We know all about that, let us come to the
  point; Don’t let us go over all that again, we will take it for
  granted.

    [RACINE, _Plaideurs_, iii. 3; where L’Intimé, the lawyer, wishes
    to relate the history of the world from the creation, and Dandin,
    the judge, begs him to skip all until the flood.]

  _Cette couleur passera_ = That colour will fade.

  *_Passe-moi la casse (rhubarbe), je te passerai le séné_ = Claw
  me and I’ll claw thee; One hand washes the other, and both wash
  the face.

  _Passez-moi ce mot-là_ = Excuse the expression.

  _J’en passe ... et des meilleurs_ = Some of the best I pass over.
    [VICTOR HUGO, _Hernani_, iii. 6.]

  _On ne passe pas_ = No thoroughfare.

    [_Rue barrée_ = Road stopped.]


Patte

  _Vous faites des pattes de mouche_ = You have a small, ill-formed
  handwriting.

  _Il marche à quatre pattes_ = He walks on all-fours.


Pauvre

  _Aux pauvres la besace_ = The back is made for the burden.

  _L’homme pauvre est toujours en pays étranger_ = The poor are
  never welcomed; All bite the bitten dog.


Pauvreté

  *_Pauvreté n’est pas vice_ = Poverty is no crime.


Pavé

  _Les pavés le disent_ = It is in every one’s mouth.

  _Il est sur le pavé_ = He is out of work.

  _Prendre le haut du pavé_ = To take the wall.


Payer

  _Payer de sa personne_ = To bravely expose oneself to danger; To
  risk one’s skin.

  _Être payé pour savoir_ = To know a thing to one’s cost.

  _Payer d’audace_ = To put on a bold face; To brazen a thing out.

  _Payer les violons_ = To pay the piper.

  _Je ne me paye pas de mauvaises raisons_ = I will only be
  satisfied with good reasons.

  _Vous vous payez de mots_ = You are the dupe of words; You are
  taken in by empty words.

  _Il me la payera_ = I will make him smart for it.

  _Qui paye ses dettes s’enrichit_ = Debt is the worst kind of
  poverty.

  _Payer son écot_ = To pay one’s share (scot).

  _Il veut se payer ma tête_ = He wishes to have the laugh of me.


Pays

  *_Pays ruiné vaut mieux que pays perdu_ = Half a loaf is better
  than no bread.

  _Je lui ferai voir du pays_ = I will lead him a pretty dance.


Peau

  *_Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué_ =
  Do not count your chickens before they are hatched; First catch
  your hare.

      [“_Il m’a dit qu’il ne faut jamais
        Vendre la peau de l’ours qu’on ne l’ait mis par terre._”
                                   LA FONTAINE, _Fables_, v. 20.]

  _Il crève dans sa peau_ (fam.) = (lit.) He is extremely fat;
  (fig.) He is bursting with pride, spite.

  _Faire peau neuve_ = To turn over a new leaf.


Péché

  *_Péché avoué est à demi pardonné_ = A fault confessed is half
  redressed.

  _Elle est laide comme les sept péchés capitaux_ = She is as ugly
  as sin.


Pécher

  _On est puni par où l’on a péché_ =

      “The Gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
      Make instruments to scourge us.”
                                             [_King Lear_, v. 3.]


Peine

  _Cela ne vaut pas la peine_ = It is not worth the trouble; It is
  not worth while.

  _Mourir à la peine_ = 1. To die in harness. 2. To work oneself to
  death.


Peinture

  _Je ne peux pas le voir même en peinture_ = I hate the very sight
  of that man.


Pelé

  _Il y avait quatre pelés et un tondu_ = There were only a few
  people and those of no importance; Only the tag, rag, and bobtail
  were there.


Pelle

  *_La pelle se moque du fourgon_ = It is the pot calling the
  kettle black.

    [Another English variant is: “The kiln calls the oven: Burnt
    house.” The Italians say: “La padella dice al pajuolo, ‘Fatti
    ni la che tu me tigni’” = The pan says to the pot, “Keep off or
    you’ll smutch me.” The Germans: “Ein Esel schimpft den andern
    Langohr” = One ass nicknames another Longears.]

  _Remuer l’argent à la pelle_ = To have plenty of money.


Pelote

  _Il a fait sa pelote_ = He has feathered his nest.


Pendant

  _Cet homme n’a pas son pendant_ (or, _pareil_) = That man has not
  his match.


Pendre

  _Il a dit pis que pendre de vous_ = He said everything that was
  bad of you; According to him, hanging is too good for you.


Penser

  _À ce que je pense_ = To my mind.

  _Sans penser à mal_ = Without meaning any mischief.

  _Rien que d’y penser j’en ai le frisson_ = The bare thought of it
  makes me shudder.

  _Cela donne furieusement à penser_ = That is very suggestive.

  _Sans arrière-pensée_ = Without reserve; With no after-thought.


Perdre

  *_Un de perdu, deux de retrouvés_ = When one door shuts, another
  opens.

  _Je m’y perds_ = I am getting bewildered; I cannot make head or
  tail of it.

  _Il perd la carte_ = He is getting confused.

  _C’est du bien perdu_ = It is casting pearls before swine.

  *_Qui perd pèche_ = He who loses sins; Nothing succeeds like
  success.


Perdrix

  *_Toujours des perdrix_ = The best things pall in time.


Perle

  _Nous ne sommes pas ici pour enfiler des perles_ = We are not
  here to trifle our time away.


Pérou

  _Ce n’est pas le Pérou_ (fam.) = It’s no great catch.


Personne

  _C’est la bonté en personne_ = He (_or_, She) is kindness itself.


Perte

  _À perte de vue_ = As far as the eye can reach.

  _Je suis en perte_ = I am out of pocket.

  _J’ai fait cela en pure perte_ = What I have done is completely
  useless; All I have done is to no purpose.


Pesant

  _Il vaut son pesant d’or_ = He is worth his weight in gold.


Petit

  _Elles sont aux petits soins pour leur vieille mère_ = They are
  all attention to their old mother.

  *_Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières_ = Many a little
  makes a mickle.

  *_Petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid_ = Little strokes fell
  great oaks. (See _Maille_ and _Ruisseau_.)

      [Also: _Grain à grain amasse la fourmi son pain.
      Peu à peu la vieille file sa quenouille._

    Latin: Adde parvum parvo tandem fit magnus acervus.

    Italian: A passo a passo se va lontana.

    Little and often fills the purse.]

  _En petit_ = On a small scale.

  *_Petit mercier, petit panier_ = A small pack becomes a small
  pedlar.

      [“Little boats should keep the shore,
        Larger ships may venture more.”

    Latin: Pauper agat caute.]

  *_Petite cervelle, prompte colère_ = A little pot is soon hot.


Pétrin

  _Je suis dans le pétrin_ (fam.) = I am in a mess, fix.

  _Les finances sont en ce moment dans un pétrin impossible_ = The
  finances are in horrible disorder just now.


Peu

  _Si peu que rien_ = Next to nothing.

  _Imaginez un peu!_ = Just fancy!

  _Pour peu que cela vous ennuie_ = However little it annoys you.

  _Tant soit peu meilleur_ = Be it ever so little better; A shade
  better.

  _À peu de chose près_ = Not far off.


Peur

  _Elle était mise à faire peur_ = She looked a fright.

  _Il a eu plus de peur que de mal_ = He was more frightened than
  hurt.


Phrase

  _Faire des phrases_ = To speak affectedly.


Pie

  *_Il a trouvé la pie au nid_ = He has found a mare’s nest.

  _Elle jase comme une pie borgne_ = She chatters like a magpie.


Pièce

  _J’ai fait cela de toutes pièces_ = I have done that entirely
  (_i.e._ every part of it).

  _Je lui ai donné la pièce_ = I gave him a trifle, tip.

  _C’est la pièce de résistance_ = It is the principal dish (of a
  meal).


Pied

  _Il a bon pied, bon œil_ = He is hale and hearty.

  _Sur le pied où en sont les choses_ = Considering how matters
  stand.

  _Il ne sait sur quel pied danser_ = He does not know which way to
  turn.

  _Partir du bon pied_ = To put one’s best foot foremost.

  _Je ferai des pieds et des mains pour vous être utile_ = I will
  do my utmost (strain every nerve) to serve you.

  _Armé de pied en cap_ = Armed from head to foot, cap-à-pie.

  _Le pied m’a manqué_ = My foot slipped.

  _Mettre (quelqu’un) à pied_ = (fam.) To dismiss (a
  functionary); To deprive a cabman of his licence.

  _Il a trouvé chaussure à son pied_ = He has found just what he
  wanted; He has found his match.

  _Lâcher pied_ = 1. To lose ground. 2. To scamper away.

  _Lever le pied_ = To decamp (of a dishonest banker, etc.).

  _Vous m’avez tiré une épine du pied_ = (fig.) You have got me out
  of a difficulty. (See _Épine_.)

  _J’ai fait mon travail d’arraché pied_ = I did my work straight
  off, without stopping.

  _De plain pied_ = On the same level (of rooms on the same floor,
  or on a level with the ground).

  _Il a le pied marin_ = He has got his sea-legs; He is a good
  sailor.

  _Sauter à pieds joints sur quelqu’un_ = (fig.) To ride rough-shod
  over any one.

  _Il ne se mouche pas du pied_ (pop.) = 1. He is a man of
  importance; He gives himself airs. 2. He is no fool.

    [A favourite trick of a tumbler in olden times was to take one
    of his feet in his hands and pass it quickly under his nose.
    Hence the expression would be equivalent to: he is no tumbler or
    common fellow. “N’est pas un homme, non, qui se mouche du pied.”
    MOLIÈRE, _Tartufe_, iv. 5.]

  _Aller du pied_ (or, _Courir_) _comme un chat maigre_ = To be a
  good walker.

  _Il sèche sur pied_ = He is pining away.

  _La mort l’a pris au pied levé_ = Death took him without a
  moment’s notice.

    [Literally, just at the moment he was starting to go out.]


Pierre

  *_Faire d’une pierre deux coups_ = To kill two birds with one
  stone.

  *_Pierre qui roule n’amasse pas mousse_ = A rolling stone gathers
  no moss.

    [The Greek form was: λίθος κυλινδόμενος τὸ φῦκος οὐ ποιεῖ.]

  _Cela ferait rire un tas de pierres_ = That would make a cat
  laugh.


Piété

  _Sa montre est au mont de piété_ = His watch is at the
  pawnbroker’s. (See _Accrocher_.)


Pignon

  _Avoir pignon sur rue_ = To have a house of one’s own.


Pile

  _Jouer à pile ou face_ = To play pitch and toss, heads or tails.

  _Il n’a ni croix ni pile_ = He has not a rap.

    [“Sans croix ne pile.”--LA FONTAINE, _Contes_, ii. “Whacum had
    neither cross nor pile.”--BUTLER, _Hudibras_, ii. 3. _Pile_ is
    literally the reverse of a coin.]


Pilier

  _C’est un pilier d’estaminet_ (or, _de café_) = He is a
  public-house lounger, a pub-loafer.


Pilule

  _Dorer la pilule_ = To gild the pill.


Pipe

  _Casser sa pipe_ (pop.) = To kick the bucket; To hop the twig; To
  die.


Piquer

  _Piquer la curiosité de quelqu’un_ = To rouse some one’s
  curiosity.

  _Il se pique d’un rien_ = He takes offence at the slightest thing.

  _Il s’est piqué d’honneur_ = He made it a point of honour; He was
  put upon his mettle.

  _Piquer des deux_ = (lit.) To spur a horse with both heels; To
  gallop off at full speed; (fig.) To run very fast.

  _Piquer une tête_ (fam.) = To take a header.

  _Voilà un discours qui n’est pas piqué des vers_ = That’s a fine
  speech if you like [lit. not worm-eaten.]

  _Se piquer au jeu_ = (lit.) To continue obstinately to play
  although losing; (fig.) To go on in an enterprise in spite of all
  obstacles.


Place

  *_Qui va à la chasse perd sa place_ = If you leave your place,
  you lose it.


Plaider

  “_Accordez-vous si votre affaire est bonne, Si votre cause est
  mauvaise, plaidez._” [J. B. ROUSSEAU, _Épigrammes_, ii. 19] = If
  you’ve a good case, try and compromise; If you’ve a bad one, take
  it into court.


Plaie

  _Il ne demande que plaie et bosse_ = He seeks quarrels only to
  draw profit from them.

  _Il ne cherche que plaie et bosse_ = He is always hankering after
  a black eye.


Plaisanterie

  _Une bonne plaisanterie mérite les honneurs du bis_ = A good tale
  is none the worse for being told twice.


Plan

  _Reléguer (mettre) au second plan_ = To put into the background.


Planche

  _Faire la planche_ = 1. To show others the way; 2. To float on
  one’s back.

  _C’est sa planche de salut_ = It is his last hope, his
  sheet-anchor.


Plancher

  _Le plancher des vaches_ (fam.) = Dry land; _Terra firma_.

  _Débarrasse-moi le plancher_ (fam.) = Get out of my way.


Planter

  _Vous m’avez planté là_ = You left me without any warning; You
  left me in the lurch.


Plat

  _Il nous a servi un plat de son métier_ (or, _de sa façon_) = He
  played us one of his tricks.

  _On mit les petits plats dans les grands pour le bien recevoir_
  (fam.) = They spared neither trouble nor money to receive him
  well; They received him with much fuss.

  _Il a mis les pieds dans le plat_ (fam.) = He put his foot in it.


Plâtre

  _Ce mari bat sa femme comme plâtre_ = That husband beats his wife
  like a dog.

  _Essuyer les plâtres_ = To live in a newly-built house (and
  therefore damp). (See _Essuyer_.)


Plein

  _Battre son plein_ = To be in full swing.

  _Plein comme un œuf_ (fam.) = Chock-full.

  _En pleine rue_ = In the open street.

  _En pleine mer_ = On the high seas.


Pleurer

  _La niaise! pleurer à chaudes larmes pour une vétille_ = The
  silly girl! to cry her eyes out for a trifle.


Pleuvoir

  _Pleuvoir des hallebardes_ = To rain cats, dogs, and pitchforks.


Pli

  _Cela ne fera pas un pli_ = There will not be the slightest
  difficulty.

  _Si vous n’y prenez (pas) garde, il prendra un mauvais pli_ = If
  you are not careful he will get into bad habits.


Pluie

  *_Après la pluie le beau temps_ = Every cloud has a silver lining.

  _Nous parlions de la pluie et du beau temps_ = We were talking of
  indifferent matters.

  _Il fait la pluie et le beau temps dans cette maison_ = His will
  is law in that house; He is the boss of that show (fam.).


Plus

  *_Plus on a, plus on veut avoir_ = Much would have more.


Poche

  _Il connaît Paris comme sa poche_ = He knows Paris perfectly; He
  knows all the ins and outs of Paris; His knowledge of Paris is
  extensive and peculiar.


Poil

  _Un brave à trois poils_ = The bravest of the brave; A hero of
  the first water.

    [This expression is derived from three-piled velvet. See MOLIÈRE,
    _Les Précieuses Ridicules_, 12.]

  _Monter à poil_ = To ride barebacked.


Point

  *_Un point à temps en épargne cent_ = A stitch in time saves nine.

    [Spanish: Quien no adoba gotera adoba casa entera = Who repairs
    not his gutter repairs his whole house.]

  _Cela vient à point_ = That comes opportunely.

  _La viande est cuite à point_ = The meat is done to a turn.

  _Vous venez à point nommé_ = You come in the nick of time, at the
  necessary moment, just when you are wanted.

  _Mettez les points sur les i_ = Be precise, clear (in speaking or
  writing); Cross your t’s and dot your i’s.

  _Il vous rendrait des points_ = He is more than a match for you;
  He could give you points.

  _Il vous rendra des points_ = He will give you odds (at a game).

  _Il y a un point noir à l’horizon_ = There are breakers ahead.


Poire

  *_Coupons la poire en deux_ = Let us split the difference.

  _Elle faisait trop sa poire_ (pop.) = She needed pressing; She
  played the prude (_or_, disdainful).

    [“Il était trop homme pour faire sa poire.”]

  _Nous en causerons entre la poire et le fromage_ = We will talk
  it over at dessert.

  _Garder une poire pour la soif_ = To lay up something for a rainy
  day.


Poisson

  _On lui a fait un poisson d’avril_ = They made him an April fool.

  _Je suis comme un poisson sur la paille_ = I am like a fish out
  of water.


Polichinelle

  _C’est le secret de Polichinelle_ = It is an open secret; Every
  one knows it.

  _Il a avalé la pratique de Polichinelle_ = He is very hoarse.

    [_La pratique de Polichinelle_ is the squeaker that a
    Punch-and-Judy man puts in his mouth during a performance.]


Politesse

  *_Force politesse, trop de finesse_ = Full of courtesy, full of
  craft.


Pont

  _Il se porte comme le Pont Neuf_ = He is in splendid health.

  _C’est vieux comme le Pont Neuf_ = Queen Anne is dead; It is as
  old as the hills.

    [The Pont Neuf was finished in 1604 during the reign of Henry
    IV., and is now the oldest bridge in Paris. The statue of Henry
    IV. in the middle of the bridge was erected originally in 1635,
    but the present one dates only from 1818.

    Another expression is:

    _Henri Quatre est sur le Pont Neuf_ = That’s stale news.]


Pontoise

  _Il a l’air de revenir de Pontoise_ = He looks down in the mouth;
  He answers in a silly fashion.

    [The origin of this expression is said to be that in 1720 and in
    1753 the Parlement was exiled to Pontoise, about twenty miles
    north of Paris, for its rebellion to the King. Perhaps from the
    fact that when they returned they were besieged with questions,
    to which they gave confused answers, the saying arose and was
    applied to anyone that had a simple, idiotic appearance.]


Porte

  _Ils ont mis la clef sous la porte_ = They absconded.

  _Il faut qu’une porte soit ouverte ou fermée_ = You must decide
  one way or the other.

    [The title of one of Alfred de Musset’s Proverbes.]

  _On l’a mis à la porte_ = They turned him out.

  _Il a été mis à la porte par les oreilles et les deux épaules_ =
  He was turned out ignominiously, neck and crop.

  _On a condamné la porte_ = The door is nailed up, blocked up.


Portée

  _À sa portée_ (or, _à portée de sa main_) = Within his reach.

  _À (la) portée de la voix_ = Within call.

  _À (une) portée de fusil_ = Within gunshot.


Porter

  _C’est elle qui porte la culotte_ = She is mistress in this house
  (not her husband); The grey mare is the better horse.

  _On le porte aux nues_ = They praise him to the skies.

  _Ses plaisanteries portent coup_ = His jokes hit the mark.


Poseur

  _C’est un poseur_ = He is a prig (lit. attitudiniser).

    [There are several varieties of prigs, _e.g._--

      _un savantasse_ = a learned prig.
      _un collet monté_ = a stiff-and-starched prig.
      _un cafard_ = a Pecksniff.
      _un fat_ = a conceited ass.
      _un freluquet_ = a whipper-snapper.
                         See _Journal of Education_, March 1896.]


Possession

  *_En fait de meubles possession vaut titre_ = Possession is nine
  points of the law.


Possible

  _Pas possible!_ = You don’t say so! “Well, I never!”


Pot

  _Il découvrit bientôt le pot aux roses_ = He soon found out the
  secret.

  *_Un pot fêlé dure longtemps_ = A creaking door hangs long:
  Ailing folk live longest.

  *_Il n’y a si méchant pot qui ne trouve son couvercle_ = Every
  Jack must have his Jill.

    [Also: _À un boiteux, femme qui cloche_.]

  _Il a reçu un pot-de-vin_ = He received a bribe, an illicit
  commission.

    [A _pot-de-vin_ is a gratuity given to B by A because B obtained
    for A an order from C. It implies the idea of a bribe, for if
    everything had been fair A would not have obtained his order from
    C, either because his terms were too high or his wares not good
    enough.]

  _Payer les pots cassés_ = To stand the racket; To pay the damage;
  To face the music.

  _Tourner autour du pot_ = To beat about the bush.

  _C’est le pot de terre contre le pot de fer_ = It is a most
  unequal combat.


Potasser

  _Je vais potasser (piocher) un brin_ (students’ slang) = I’m
  going to swot (mug up) a bit.


Potin

  _Faire du potin (chambard, boucan)_ (pop.) = To kick up a
  row, a shindy.


Pouce

  _Manger sur le pouce_ = To take a snack.

  _Mettre les pouces_ = To give in, to knuckle under.

  _Lire du pouce_ (or, _doigt_) = To skip in reading (_i.e._ to do
  more work with the thumb than the brain).


Poudre

  *_Il n’a pas inventé la poudre_ = He will never set the Thames on
  fire.


Poule

  _C’est une poule mouillée_ = He is a milk-sop.


Pourpoint

  _Mettre un homme en pourpoint_ = To pull a man’s cloak off; To
  ruin a man.

  _Se mettre en pourpoint_ = To be ready to fight; To roll up one’s
  sleeves.

  _Tirer un coup_ (_de pistolet_, etc.) _à brûle-pourpoint_ = To fire
  point-blank.

  _Un argument à brûle-pourpoint_ = A convincing argument.

  _Donner à quelqu’un un pourpoint de pierre_ = To give any one a
  stone doublet; To imprison any one.


Pouvoir

  _Je n’y puis rien_ = I cannot help it; I can do nothing in the
  matter.

  _Si faire se peut_ = If possible.

  _Je n’en puis plus_ = I am done up, exhausted.

  _Je n’en puis mais_ = I cannot help it; It is no fault of mine.
  (See _Mais_.)

  _Cela se peut_ = That may be.

  _Cela ne se peut pas_ = It cannot possibly be; It cannot be done.

  _On fait comme on peut_ = We must do the best we can; We have
  done the best we could.

  _Il est toujours on ne peut plus aimable_ = He is always as nice
  as can be.


Prêcher

  _Il prêche dans le désert_ = (lit.) He preaches to empty benches;
  (fig.) All his talking will not convince any one.

  _Chacun prêche pour son saint_ = Every one has an eye to his own
  interest.


Premier

  _Nous sommes au premier_ = We are on the first floor.

  _Nous sommes en première_ = We are in a first-class railway
  carriage.

  _Le premier venu_ = (fig.) No matter who (_or_, whom); The man in
  the street.

  *_Les premiers vont devant_ = First come, first served.

    [“Whoso first cometh to the mill, first grint.”--CHAUCER.]


Prendre

  _Il prend sur son sommeil pour étudier_ = He works far into the
  night.

  _C’est autant de pris sur l’ennemi_ = So much saved out of the
  fire; So much to the good.

  _Bien lui en prit d’avoir fermé sa porte_ = It was lucky for him
  that he shut his door.

  _Il prend le chemin de l’hôpital_ = He is on the highway to ruin.

  _Je m’en prends à vous_ = I lay the blame at your door.

  _Je vous y prends_ = I catch you at it.

  _Ça ne prend pas_ (fam.) = “That’s no go.”

  _Je sors d’en prendre_ (fam.) = I had rather be excused; You will
  not catch me again so soon.

  _Qu’est-ce qui vous prend?_ = What is the matter with you?

    [This is said to persons doing something suddenly without any
    apparent reason, or suddenly becoming bad-tempered, etc., not to
    invalids.]

  _Je vais vous montrer comment il faut s’y prendre_ = I am going
  to show you how to set about it.

  *_Ce qui est bon à prendre est bon à garder_ = What is worth
  taking is worth keeping; “Findings, keepings.”

  _Prenez-vous-en à vous-même_ = You have yourself to thank for it.

  _À tout prendre_ = On the whole; Everything considered.


Près

  _À cela près il est bon enfant_ = Except for that he is a good
  fellow.


Presse

  _Il n’y a pas presse_ = There is no hurry!

  *_Plus on se presse, moins on arrive_ = The more haste, the less
  speed.

  _Fendre la presse_ = To make one’s way through the crowd.


Pretentaine

  _Courir la pretentaine_ = To gad about.


Prêter

  _Il prête de l’argent à la petite semaine_ = He lends money for a
  short time at a high rate of interest.

  _Un prêté pour un rendu_ = A Roland for an Oliver.

  _Prêter le flanc à ..._ = To lay oneself open to...

  _Prêter serment_ = To take the oath.

  _Ce drap prête_ = This stuff gives, stretches.


Primer

  _Elle prime par sa laideur_ = She takes the cake for ugliness.


Princesse

  _Aux frais de la Princesse_ = At another’s expense (chiefly of
  the State Government).


Prise

  _Ils étaient aux prises_ = They had closed; They were at close
  quarters.

  _Je les ai mis aux prises_ = I have set them one against the
  other.

  _Je leur ai donné prise sur moi_ = I gave them a handle on me.

  _Lâcher prise_ = To let go one’s hold.


Procès

  _Sans autre forme de procès_ = Without any more ado.


Promener

  _Je l’ai envoyé promener_ (or, _paître_) = I sent him about his
  business.

  _Va te promener!_ (fam.) = Go to Jericho! Get along with you!

    [Compare: “Βάλλ᾽ εἰς μακαρίαν” = Go to Glory.--PLATO, _Hipp.
    Major_, 293A--a euphemism for Βάλλ᾽ εἰς ἅδον.]


Promettre

  *_Chose promise, chose due_ = Promises should be kept.

  _Promettre et tenir sont deux_ = It is one thing to promise,
  another to perform.


Propos

  _Il est venu fort à propos_ = He came very opportunely.

  _À propos, viendrez-vous ce soir?_ = By the way, shall you come
  this evening?

  _L’à-propos fait le mérite_ = Seasonableness gives everything its
  price.

  _À propos de bottes_ = With reference to nothing in particular;
  With no reference to the subject in hand.

  _Il le dit à tout propos_ = He says it on every occasion, at
  every turn.

  _Il l’a fait de propos délibéré_ = He did it of set purpose; He
  had made up his mind to do it.

  _Il l’a fait fort mal à propos_ = He did it very unseasonably,
  just at the wrong time.


Propre

  _C’est du propre_ (ironic.) = A fine thing indeed.

  _Il n’a rien en propre_ = He has nothing of his own.

  _Un propre-à-rien_ = A good-for-naught.

  _Propre à tout et bon à rien_ = Jack of all trades and master of
  none.

  _Propre comme un sou neuf_ = As clean as a whistle; As neat as a
  new pin.


Prune

  _Je ne le ferai pas pour des prunes_ (fam.) = I shall not do it
  for nothing.

    [Also: _Je ne le ferai pas pour le roi de Prusse._ This latter
    saying is said to have originated with Voltaire, who, after
    having been exceedingly intimate with Frederick the Great, King
    of Prussia, finally quarrelled with him. Both this King and his
    father, Frederick William I., were known to be exacting and
    miserly.]


Puce

  _Je lui ai mis la puce à l’oreille_ = I made him feel uneasy (by
  rousing his suspicions, etc.); I sent him away with a flea in his
  ear.


Puits

  _Cet homme est un puits de science_ = He is a man of deep
  learning.



Q.


Quand

  _Je le ferai quand même_ = I shall do it just the same; I shall
  do it whatever it may cost.


Quant

  _Se tenir sur son quant-à-soi_ = To stand on one’s dignity.


Quart

  _Le quart d’heure de Rabelais_ = The moment of payment. (See
  _Heure_.)

  _Passer un mauvais quart d’heure_ = To have a bad time of it.


Quatorze

  _Avoir quinte et quatorze_ = To have the game in one’s own hand.

    [This phrase refers to terms used in the game of piquet. _Quinte_
    is to have five cards of the same colour, which counts fifteen.
    _Quatorze_ is to have four cards of the same value (_i.e._ four
    knaves, aces, etc.), and counts fourteen.]


Quatre

  _Il se mettrait en quatre pour un ami_ = He would go through fire
  and water for a friend.

  _Faire le diable à quatre_ = To kick up a terrible noise; To
  exert oneself to the utmost.

    [This expression originated in the time of the miracle plays,
    when four performers represented _la grande diablerie_, and less
    than four _la petite diablerie_.]

  _Entre quatre-z-yeux_ (fam.) = Between ourselves.

  _On le tenait à quatre_ = It needed four men to hold him down.

  _Il se tenait à quatre pour ne pas lui dire des injures_ = It was
  as much as he could do not to abuse him.

  _Travailler comme quatre_ = To work like a nigger.


Que

  *_Ce que c’est que la vie!_ = What a strange thing life is! What
  poor mortals we are! (See _Ce_.)

  _Ses louanges ne laissent pas que de me faire plaisir_ = I cannot
  help feeling pleased at his kind words.


Quelconque

  _La pièce n’est que quelconque_ = The piece (_i.e._ the play) is
  quite an ordinary one.


Quenouille

  _C’est une famille où l’esprit est tombé en quenouille_ = In that
  family only the women are clever; In that family the brains are
  on the distaff side.


Querelle

  _N’épousez pas sa querelle_ = Do not take up his quarrel.

  _Ils veulent vider leur querelle_ = They want to fight it out.


Quérir

  _Il serait bon à aller quérir la mort_ = He is very slow.


Question

  _Mettre en question_ = To call in question; To doubt.

  _Mettre à la question_ = To put to the torture.

  _Qu’il n’en soit plus question_ = Do not bother me about it any
  more; Let bygones be bygones. (See _Oublier_.)


Queue

  _J’ai fait queue au théâtre pendant une heure_ = I waited outside
  the theatre for an hour (before I could get in).

  _On fait queue au théâtre_ = There is a crowd at the door of the
  theatre (waiting for admittance).

  _À la queue gît le venin_ = The sting is in the tail.

  _Aller à la queue leu-leu_ = To go in Indian file.

    [_Leu_ was the old French form of _loup_, so the phrase means to
    walk as wolves do, one after the other.]

  _Tenir la queue de la poêle_ = To be the leading spirit in an
  affair.


Qui

  _Pour qui connaît_ = To any one who knows.

  _Ils s’échappèrent qui par la porte, qui par les fenêtres_ = Some
  escaped through the door, others through the windows.

  *_Qui s’excuse s’accuse_ = A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

  _C’est à qui le fera_ = They all wish to do it; They vie with one
  another to do it. (See _Mieux_.)


Quia

  _Être réduit à quia_ = To be reduced to “because....”; To be
  nonplussed.


Quitte

  _Me voilà quitte envers lui_ = I owe him nothing now.

  _Vous en êtes quitte à bon marché_ = You come off cheap.

  _J’en ai été quitte pour la peur_ = I escaped with a good fright.

  _J’irai, quitte à être grondé_ = I shall go, even if I am
  scolded; I shall go, and chance the scolding.


Quoi

  _J’ai de quoi payer_ = I have enough to pay.

  _Il n’y a pas là de quoi pleurer_ = It is not worth crying about.

  _Il n’y a pas de quoi rire_ = It is no laughing matter.

  _Il n’y a pas de quoi_ (fam.) = Pray don’t mention it; There is
  no necessity to apologise. (See _Avoir_.)

  _De quoi vous mêlez-vous?_ = What business is that of yours?

  _Un je ne sais quoi_ = A “something” (I know not what).

    [_Elle avait je ne sais quoi de charmant_ = She had a vague,
    indescribable charm.]

  _C’est un filou, quoi!_ (pop.) = In a word, he’s a scamp.



R.


Rabais

  _Vente au rabais_ = Sale at reduced prices; “Selling off.”


Rabattre

  _Rabattre le caquet à quelqu’un_ (pop.) = To take a person down a
  peg; To stop his jaw; To cut his cackle.


Radis

  _Il n’a pas un radis_ (fam.) = He has not a brass farthing. (See
  _Liard_.)


Raillerie

  _Cela passe la raillerie_ = That is beyond a joke. (See
  _Entendre_.)


Raison

  _Il n’entend pas raison là-dessus_ = He will not listen to reason
  on that point.

  _Se faire raison à soi-même_ = To take the law into one’s own
  hands.

  _Comme de raison_ = Rightly enough; As might be expected.

  _Plus que de raison_ = More than is reasonable.

  _Raison de plus_ = All the more reason.

  _Avoir des raisons avec quelqu’un_ = To have words with any one;
  To quarrel with any one.

  _Il faut se faire une raison_ = We must be guided by reason; We
  must look at things from a reasonable point of view.

    [_E.g._ not go on worrying after a great loss.]

  _Donner raison à quelqu’un_ = To say any one is right; To give
  satisfaction to any one (either legally or by a duel).


Rancart

  _On l’a mis au rancart_ = He has been put on the shelf.

    [Also: _Il est sous la remise._]


Rang

  *_Tel qui brille au second rang s’éclipse au premier_ = A good
  subordinate often makes a bad leader.


Ranger

  _Il s’est rangé_ = He has settled down (after sowing his wild
  oats).


Rare

  _Vous devenez bien rare_ = You are quite a stranger.


Raseur

  _C’est un raseur_ (fam.) = He is a bore.

    [_Une bassinoire_ = a passive bore.]


Rat

  _Il est gueux comme un rat d’église_ = He is as poor as a church
  mouse.


Rate

  _Il ne se foule pas la rate_ (pop.) = He does not overwork
  himself; He takes things easily.

    [Also: _Il ne se foule pas le poignet._]

  _Cela lui désopilera la rate_ = That will cheer him up.


Râtelier

  _Il mange à plus d’un râtelier_ = He has more than one string to
  his bow; He gains money from different sources.


Rattraper

  *_Bien fin qui me rattrapera_ = Once bit, twice shy; They won’t
  catch me doing that again.


Rebours

  _Il prend les choses à rebours_ = He misconstrues everything.


Rebrousse

  _À rebrousse poil_ = Against the grain; (To rub) the wrong way.


Reconnaître

  _Je vous reconnais bien là_ = That is just like you.

  _Je ne m’y reconnais plus_ = I don’t know where I am, what I am
  about; I am quite at sea.


Reculer

  _Il a reculé pour mieux sauter_ = 1. He waited for something
  better. 2. (ironic.) He avoided a small evil to fall into a
  greater.

    [Compare: _Mieux reculer que mal assaillir._]

  _Marcher à reculons_ = To walk backwards.


Redire

  _Il trouve toujours à redire_ = He is always finding fault.

  _Il n’y a rien à redire à cela_ = There is no fault to be found
  with that; That is quite all right.


Réflexion

  _Réflexion faite_ = After due reflection; On second thoughts.


Refrain

  _C’est le refrain de la ballade_ = It is the old story over again.

    [“C’est toujours le refrain qu’ils font à leur
    ballade.”--RÉGNIER, _Sat._ i.]


Refus

  _Cela n’est pas de refus_ (fam.) = That is very acceptable; I
  won’t say no to that.


Refuser

  *_Qui refuse muse_ =

      “He who will not when he may,
      When he will he shall have nay.”


Regarder

  _N’y regardez pas de si près_ = Do not be so particular.

  _Cela ne me regarde pas_ = That is not my business; That does not
  concern me.

  _J’y regarderai à deux fois_ = I shall think twice before doing
  it.


Régler

  _Il est réglé comme un papier de musique_ = He is as regular as
  clockwork.


Rein

  _Nous poursuivîmes l’ennemi l’épée dans les reins_ = We followed
  the enemy close at his heels.

  _Il s’est donné un tour de reins_ = He sprained his back.

  _Il a les reins solides_ = (lit.) He is strong; (fig.) He has a
  long purse.


Réjouir

  _C’est un gros réjoui_ = He is a big jolly fellow.


Remède

  *_À chose faite point de remède_ = What is done cannot be undone.

    [“Factum est illud: fieri infectum non potest.”--PLAUTUS.]


Remontrer

  _Gros Jean qui en remontre à son curé_ = Hodge tries to teach the
  Parson how to preach; He teaches his grandmother to suck eggs.


Remporter

  _Il a remporté la victoire_ = He carried the day.


Renard

      *_Renard qui dort la matinée
        N’a pas la gueule emplumée_ =

  ’Tis the early bird that catches the worm.


Renchérir

  _Il renchérit sur tout ce qu’il entend dire_ = He caps every
  story he hears told.


Rencontrer

  _Les beaux esprits se rencontrent_ = Great wits jump together.

    [When two persons happen to say the same thing at the same time.]


Renfort

  _Pour renfort de potage_ = Into the bargain; In addition.
    [MOLIÈRE, _Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme_, iii. 3.]


Rengaine

  _C’est toujours la même rengaine_ (fam.) = It is always the same
  old story.


Renommée

  *_Bonne renommée vaut mieux que ceinture dorée_ = A good name is
  better than riches. (See _Ceinture_.)


Répandre

  _C’est un homme très répandu_ = He is a man who goes into society
  a great deal.


Repentir

  *_Le repentir vient ordinairement trop tard_ = Do a thing in
  haste and repent at leisure.


Répondre

  _Je vous en réponds!_ = I will be bound it is; I should think so,
  indeed! You take my word for it.


Reprise

  _J’ai appelé mon domestique à plusieurs reprises_ = I called my
  servant several times.


Reprocher

  _Il me reproche les morceaux_ = He grudges me the very food I eat.


Résoudre

  _Je ne puis m’y résoudre_ = I cannot make up my mind to do it.


Ressort

  _Ce n’est pas de mon ressort_ = That is not within my province,
  “not in my line.”

  _Il a fait jouer tous les ressorts_ = He used all the means in
  his power.

  _Ce tribunal juge en dernier ressort_ = This court tries without
  appeal; There is no appeal from the findings of this court.


Reste

  _Je ne veux pas être en reste avec vous_ = I do not want to do
  less for you than you have done for me.

  _J’en ai de reste_ = I have more than enough.

  _Il n’a pas demandé son reste!_ = He soon took himself off, I can
  tell you! He soon shut up, I can tell you!


Retour

  _Il est perdu sans retour_ = He is past all hope.

  _Il demeure à l’étranger sans esprit de retour_ = He is living
  abroad without thinking of returning.

  _Il me paie de retour_ = He loves (_or_, hates) me as much as I
  love (_or_ hate) him.

    [_E.g._ “Vous dites que vous aimez votre mère, mais elle vous
    paie bien de retour.”]


Retourner

  _Je sais de quoi il retourne_ = I know how matters stand.


Retraite

  _Battre la retraite_ = To beat tattoo (_or_, the retreat.)

  _Battre en retraite_ = To retreat.


Retrouver

  _Je le retrouverai bien_ = He will not escape me.


Revendre

  _Avoir d’une chose à revendre_ = To have more than enough of a
  thing.


Revenir

  *_Revenons à nos moutons_ = But to return to our subject. (See
  _Mouton_.)

  _Vous en revenez toujours là_ = You are always harping on that
  string.

  _Je n’en reviens pas_ = I cannot get over it (astonishment).

    [Or, pop., “j’en suis baba.”]

  _N’y revenez pas_ = (lit.) Do not come here again; (fig.) Do not
  do that again.

  _Cela revient à dire_ = That amounts to saying.

  _Cela revient au même_ = That is just the same thing.

  _Je reviens de loin_ = (lit.) I come from a long distance; (fig.)
  I am recovering from a long illness.

  _Son nom ne me revient pas_ = I do not recollect his name.

  _Sa figure me revient_ = I like his face.

  _Je suis bien revenu sur le compte de votre frère_ = I have lost
  all the illusions I had of your brother.


Rêver

  _Cet homme rêve tout éveillé_ = That man dreams with his eyes
  open.


Revers

  *_Toute médaille a son revers_ = There is a dark side to every
  picture.


Revoir

  _À revoir_ = To be revised.

  _Au revoir!_ = Till we meet again.


Richesse

  _La richesse rend honnête_ = Rich men have no faults.

    [The bishop’s pun may be repeated: “Get on, get honour, get
    honest.”

    “Quand on est couronnée, on a toujours le nez bien
    fait.”--PERRAULT, _Les Souhaits ridicules_.]


Rien

  “Dans le siècle où nous sommes,
  On ne donne rien pour rien”

  = At the present day people give nothing for nothing, and
  precious little for sixpence.
    [MOLIÈRE, _École des Femmes_, iii. 2. _Rien_ here shows its
    derivation from _rem_ (a thing). It was not always used with
    _ne_.]

  _Ne faites semblant de rien_ = Look as if nothing were the matter.

  _Comme si de rien n’était_ = As if nothing were the matter.

  *_Qui ne risque rien n’a rien_ = Nothing venture, nothing win.

  [“Qui ne s’aventure perd cheval et mule.”]

  *_Qui ne demande rien n’a rien_ = Lose nothing for want of
  asking; If you do not ask, you will not get.

  _Il ne sait rien de rien_ = 1. He knows absolutely nothing. 2. He
  is quite in the dark.

  _En un rien de temps_ = In a trice.

  _En moins de rien_ = In less than no time.

  _Pas plus gros que rien_ = Next to nothing.

  _Il n’est rien moins que courageux_ = He is anything but
  courageous.

  _Pour rien au monde_ = Not for the life of me.


Rincer

  _Se rincer la dalle_ (pop.) = To wet one’s whistle.


Rire

  *_Rira bien qui rira le dernier_ = They have most to laugh at who
  laugh last; Let them laugh that win.

  *_Tel qui rit vendredi dimanche pleurera_ = Sorrow treads on the
  heels of mirth; Laugh to-day and cry to-morrow.

  *_Marchand qui perd ne peut rire_ = Let those laugh who win.

  _Il a toujours le mot pour rire_ = He is ever ready with a joke;
  He is full of fun.

  _Il m’a ri au nez_ = He laughed in my face.

  _Rire aux éclats_ = To roar with laughter.

  _Je me tordais de rire_ (fam.) = I was splitting my sides with
  laughter.

  _Il riait à gorge déployée_ = He was roaring with laughter.

  _Rire dans sa barbe_ (or, _sous cape_) = To laugh in one’s
  sleeve. (See _Cape_.)

  _Rire du bout des dents_ = To force a laugh.

  _Rire jaune_ = To laugh on the wrong side of one’s mouth.

  _Rire aux anges_ = 1. To laugh immoderately; 2. To laugh to
  oneself.

  _C’est un pince-sans-rire_ = He is a dry joker.


Risée

  _Il est la risée de tout le monde_ = He is the laughing-stock of
  every one.


Roche

  _C’est un homme de la vieille roche_ = He belongs to the good old
  stock; He is a man of the old school.

  _Clair comme de l’eau de roche_ = As clear as crystal.


Roi

  _C’est la cour du roi Pétaud_ = This is bedlam let loose; Dover
  Court--all speakers, no hearers.

    [Le roi Pétaud (Lat. _peto_ = I ask) was the chief that beggars
    used to choose for themselves. As he had no more authority than
    his subjects, the name is given to a house where every one is
    master. Comp. MOLIÈRE, _Tartufe_, i. 1.--

      “On n’y respecte rien, chacun y parle haut,
      Et c’est tout justement la cour du roi Pétaud.”

    A variant is: “C’est une vraie pétaudière.”]

  _Le roi n’est pas son cousin_ = He is very haughty (so that he
  would not acknowledge the king as his cousin).


Rompre

  _Applaudir un acteur à tout rompre_ = To applaud an actor so as
  to bring the house down (to lift the roof).


Rondement

  _Il y va rondement_ = He acts frankly and quickly.

  _Il mènera cette affaire rondement_ = He will not dally about
  that matter.


Rose

  _Il n’est point de rose sans épines_ = Every rose has its thorn;
  No rose without a thorn.


Rôti

  _Il ne faut pas s’endormir sur le rôti_ = We must keep our wits
  about us; We must not neglect our work; We must not be too slow
  over it; We must not rest on our laurels.

    [Literally, to go to sleep whilst cooking the meat.]


Roue

  _Il fait la roue_ = He shows off.


Rouge

  _Se fâcher tout rouge_ = To get into a passion.

  _Voir rouge_ = To be seized with a sudden thirst for blood.


Roulette

  _Cela marche comme sur des roulettes_ = That is getting on
  swimmingly.


Royaliste

  _Être plus royaliste que le roi (plus catholique que le pape)_
  = To out-Herod Herod.


Royauté

  “_La royauté, place noyée de lumière où toute tache paraît une
  fange sordide_” =
    “In that fierce light which beats upon a throne
    And blackens every blot.”
      [TENNYSON, _Idylls of the King_, Dedication.]


Rubis

  _Faire_ (or, _payer_) _rubis sur l’ongle_ = To pay to the last
  farthing.

    [This expression means literally to drain a tumbler so completely
    that there just remains in it one drop of wine, which being put
    on the nail looks like a ruby.

      “Je sirote mon vin, quel qu’il soit, vieux, nouveau;
      Je fais rubis sur l’ongle, et n’y mets jamais d’eau.”
                           REGNARD, _Folies Amoureuses_, iii. 4.]


Ruisseau

  *_Les petits ruisseaux font les grandes rivières_ = Many a little
  makes a mickle.



S.


Sac

  *_Autant pèche celui qui tient le sac que celui qui met dedans_ =
  The receiver is as bad as the thief.

    [_Wer die Letter hält ist so schuldig wie der Dieb._]

  _Tu sais que je n’ai plus le sac_ = You know I have no more
  money.

  _Un homme de sac et de corde_ = A regular ruffian.

  _Prendre quelqu’un la main dans le sac_ = To catch any one in the
  very act.

  _Il m’a laissé voir le fond du sac_ = I guessed his intentions in
  spite of him.

  _Juger sur l’étiquette du sac_ = To judge by appearances.

  *_Dans les petits sacs sont les fines épices_ = Little fellows
  are often great wits; Small parcels hold fine wares. (See _Aune_
  and _Onguent_.)


Saint

  _Tout le saint-frusquin_ (fam.) = The whole jolly lot (referring
  to money or clothes).

  _Toute la sainte journée_ = The whole blessed (_or_, livelong)
  day.


Salut

  *_À bon entendeur salut_ = A word to the wise is enough. _Verb.
  sap._ (See _Avis_.)


Sang

  _Cela fait faire du mauvais sang_ = That causes one to worry.

  _Suer sang et eau_ (fam.) = To strain every nerve.

  *_Bon sang ne peut mentir_ = Good breeding always shows itself;
  Like father, like son.


Sapin

  _Sa toux sent le sapin_ = He has a churchyard cough.

    [_Sapin_ = deal, of which coffins are made.]


Sauce

  _On ne sait à quelle sauce le mettre_ = There is no knowing what
  to do with him.

  *_Trop de cuisiniers gâtent la sauce_ = Too many cooks spoil the
  broth.

    [Although this may be but a translation of the English proverb,
    it is of constant use in France.]


Saut

  _Il fait tout par sauts et par bonds_ = He does everything by
  fits and starts.


Sauter

  _Il s’est fait sauter la tête_ (or, _la cervelle_, more fam. _le
  caisson_) = He blew his brains out.

  _Faire sauter la banque_ = To break the bank (gambling).


Sauver

  *_Sauve qui peut_ = Every one for himself; Run for your lives.

  _Je me sauve_ = I must be off.


Savoir

  _Je ne sais comment cela est arrivé_ = I am at a loss to explain
  how it happened.

  _Pas que je sache_ = Not to my knowledge.

  _Je suis tout je ne sais comment_ = I am out of sorts.

  _C’est à savoir_ = That remains to be seen.

  _Il en sait plus d’une_ (fam.) = He knows more than one trick; He
  knows a trick or two.

  _Il a beaucoup de savoir faire_ = He has his wits about him; He
  knows how to manage people.

  _Il a du savoir vivre_ = He knows how to behave; He is well bred.

  _Un je ne sais quoi_ = A “something” (I know not what).

  *_De savoir vient avoir_ = Knowledge is power.

  *_Qui plus sait plus se tait_ = A still tongue shows a wise head.

  *_Qui rien ne sait, de rien ne doute_ = Who knows nothing, doubts
  nothing; Ignorance is bliss.


Savon

  _Je lui donnerai un savon_ (fam.) = I will blow him up.

    [German: _Ich werde ihm den Kopf waschen._]


Scène

  _Je lui ai fait une scène_ = 1. I had a row with him. 2. I
  reproached (_or_, abused) him violently.


Scie

  _Quelle scie!_ (fam.) = What a bother!


Séance

  _Séance tenante_ = Forthwith; There and then.


Sec

  _C’est un grand sec_ = He is a tall, spare man.

  _Sec comme un pendu_ = As thin as a lath.

  _Boire sec_ = To drink hard.

  _Il est à sec_ (pop.) = He is hard up, broke, in low water.


Sécher

  _Sécher sur pied_ = To pine away.


Secours

  _Crier au secours_ = To cry for help.


Secret

  *_Secret de deux, secret de Dieu,
    Secret de trois, secret de tous_ = No secret but between two.


Seigneur

  *_À tout seigneur tout honneur_ = Honour to whom honour is due.


Sel

  _Mettre du sel sous la queue d’un oiseau_ = To put salt on a
  bird’s tail.


Sellette

  _Mettre sur la sellette_ = To cross-question; To haul over the
  coals (fam.).

    [_La sellette_ was the small wooden seat on which a culprit sat
    during his trial.]


Semaine

  _Cet officier est de semaine_ = He is officer of the week.

  _Il dépensa toute sa semaine_ = He spent all his week’s wages
  (_or_, pocket-money).

  _Je le ferai la semaine des trois (quatre) jeudis_ = I shall do
  it in a week of Sundays (_i.e._ never).

    [Also: _Je le ferai quand les poules auront des dents._]

  _Prêter à la petite semaine_ = To lend money at high interest for
  a short time.


Semblable

  _A-t-on jamais vu rien de semblable?_ = Did you ever see such a
  thing?

  _Rien de semblable_ = Nothing of the sort.


Sembler

  _Comme bon vous semble_ = Just as you please.

  _Si bon vous semble_ = If you think fit.


Semelle

  _Lever la semelle devant quelqu’un_ = To show any one a clean
  pair of heels.


Sens

  _Cela tombe sous le sens_ = That is self-evident, obvious.

  _Sens dessus dessous_ = Upside down; Topsy-turvy.

  _Sens devant derrière_ = Wrong side first.

  _À contresens_ = Contrary to the meaning; In the wrong way.


Sentir

  _Cela ne sent pas bon_ = (fig.) I don’t like the look of that.

  _Je ne me sens pas de joie_ = I am beside myself with joy.


Service

  _Qu’y a-t-il pour votre service?_ = What can I do for you?


Servir

  _Madame est servie_ = Dinner is served.

  *_À quoi sert de vous mettre en colère?_ = What is the use of
  getting angry?


Seul

  _Cela va tout seul_ = That is no trouble; That works of its own
  accord.


Si

  _Il n’y a pas de si qui fasse_ = There is no excuse for it.

  _Avec un si on mettrait Paris dans une bouteille_ = Such
  suppositions are idle; If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

  _Il n’est pas riche._--_Oh! que si_ = He is not rich.--Isn’t he,
  though!


Sien

  *_Chacun le sien n’est pas trop_ = Let each have his own, then
  all is fair.

  _Il fait des siennes_ = He is up to his old tricks again.

  _Il en sera du sien_ = He will be a loser by it.

  _On n’est jamais trahi que par les siens_ = It is always one’s
  friends (_or_, confederates) who betray one.


Singe

  _Le singe est toujours singe, fût-il vêtu de pourpre_ =

      An ape’s an ape, a varlet’s a varlet,
      Though they be clad in silk or scarlet.

  _Il l’a payé en monnaie de singe_ = He paid him with promises; He
  jeered at him instead of paying him.

    [This expression originated in the ordinance of St. Louis
    regulating the payment of the tolls at the gates of Paris.
    Showmen were exempted from payment on causing their apes to skip
    and dance in front of the toll-keeper. Comp. ESTIENNE BOILEAU,
    _Establissements des métiers de Paris_, Chapitre del péage de
    Petit Pont:--“Li singes au marchant doibt quatre deniers, se il
    por vendre le porte: se li singes est a homme qui l’aist acheté
    por son déduit, si est quites, et se li singes est au joueur,
    jouer en doibt devant le péagier, et por son jeu doibt estre
    quites de toute la chose qu’il achète à son usage et aussitôt le
    jongleur sont quite por un ver de chanson.”]


Soif

  *_On ne saurait faire boire un âne s’il n’a soif_ = One man can
  take a horse to the water, but twenty cannot make him drink.


Solide

  _Il songe au solide_ = He has an eye to the main chance.


Soleil

  _Montrer le soleil avec un flambeau_ = To hold a farthing
  rushlight to the sun; To paint the lily.


Somme (_m._)

  _Je n’ai fait qu’un somme_ = I never woke all night.


Somme (_f._)

  _Somme toute_ = After all; Taking everything into consideration;
  To conclude.

  _En somme_ = On the whole; In the main.


Songe

  “_Puisqu’en vous il est faux que songes sont mensonges_” = Since
  with you, it is untrue that dreams go by contraries.
    [MOLIÈRE, _Étourdi_, iv. 3.]

  *_Mal d’autrui n’est que songe_ = Other people’s woes do not
  affect us much.

  _C’est un songe-creux_ = He is full of idle fancies (or, day
  dreams); He is a wool-gatherer.


Sonner

  _Elle a quarante ans bien sonnés_ = She is over forty.

  _Il est trois heures sonnées_ = It has struck three.

  _Payer en bonnes espèces sonnantes (et trébuchantes)_ = To pay
  in hard cash.


Sornette

  _Il nous berce de sornettes_ = He puts us off with silly tales.


Sort

  _Le sort en est jeté_ = The die is cast; _Alea jacta est._

  _Elle lui a jeté un sort_ = She cast a spell over him; He is
  infatuated with her.

  _Tirer au sort_ = To draw lots (for the army, etc.).


Sorte

  _Je lui ai parlé de la bonne sorte_ = I gave it him soundly; I
  gave him a piece of my mind.


Sortie

  _Il a fait une sortie_ = He flew into a passion.


Sot

  _C’est un sot en trois lettres_ = He is a thorough fool.

  _Quelque sot le ferait_ = One would be a fool to do that.

  *_A sotte question point de réponse_ = Answer a fool according to
  his folly; A silly question needs no answer.

  _Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire_ = Even a fool
  will always find admirers.
    [BOILEAU, _Art Poétique_, 1.]

  _Il n’y a pas de sots métiers, il n’y a que de sottes gens_ =
  People may be petty, but work never is.


Sou

  _Il a fait de cent sous quatre livres, et de quatre livres rien_
  = He has brought his noble to ninepence, and his ninepence to
  nothing.

    [_Livre_ here has nothing to do with our English pound sterling.
    It is practically the equivalent of the modern franc. Hence the
    proverb means: He reduced 100 sous to 80 sous.]

  _Une affaire de deux sous_ = A twopenny-halfpenny affair.

  _Cela vaut mille francs comme un sou_ = It is worth £40 if it is
  worth a penny.


Souche

  _C’est une vraie souche_ = He is a regular log.

  _Faire souche_ = To found a family.


Soufflet

  _Donner un soufflet à Vaugelas_ = To murder the King’s English;
  To offend Lindley Murray.

    [Vaugelas (1585-1650) was a celebrated writer on French grammar,
    one of the first members of the Académie Française, and one of
    the chief contributors to its Dictionary. Comp. MOLIÈRE, _Les
    Femmes Savantes_, ii. 7: “Elle y met Vaugelas en pièces tous les
    jours.” _Donner un soufflet à Ronsard_ was also used, and, in
    the Middle Ages, _Casser la tête de Priscien_, from the famous
    grammarian of the fourth century.]


Souhait

  *_Si souhaits fussent vrais_, } = { If wishes were horses,
   _Pastoureaux rois seraient_. }   { Beggars would ride.

    [Compare _Si_.]


Souhaiter

  _Je t’en souhaite!_ (pop.) = I wish you may get it.

  _Souhaiter la bonne année à quelqu’un_ = To wish some one a happy
  new year.


Soûl

  *_A merle soûl cerises sont amères_ = Plenty makes dainty.

  _Parler tout son soûl_ (pop.) = To speak to one’s heart’s content.


Soulier

  _Être dans ses petits souliers_ = To be uneasy in one’s mind; To
  be on pins and needles.


Soumettre

  _Il faut se soumettre ou se démettre_ = One must knuckle under or
  clear out.

    [Gambetta said this to Marshal MacMahon during the crisis of 16th
    May 1875.]


Soupe

  _S’emporter comme une soupe au lait_ = To fly into a passion
  without warning; To be of a very hasty temper.

  _Trempé comme une soupe_ = Wet to the skin; Dripping wet.

  _C’est un marchand de soupe._ (See _Marchand_.)


Sourd

  _Sourd comme un pot_ = As deaf as a post.

  *_Vous faites la sourde oreille_ = None so deaf as those who will
  not hear.

  _Frapper comme un sourd_ = To beat unmercifully.

  _Il court un bruit sourd_ = A rumour is being whispered.

  _Ils ont recours à des menées sourdes_ = They have recourse to
  underhand dealings.


Sourdine

  _Il fait ses coups à la sourdine_ = He acts secretly, in an
  underhand manner.


Sourire

  _Cela me sourit assez_ = I rather like this.


Souris

  *_Souris qui n’a qu’un trou est bientôt prise_ = It is good to
  have more than one string to one’s bow.

  *_On entendrait trotter une souris_ (or, _voler une mouche_) =
  One could hear a pin drop.

  _Elle est éveillée comme une petite souris_ (or, _comme une potée
  de souris_) = She is as brisk as a bee.


Souvenir

  _Autant que je puisse m’en souvenir_ = To the best of my
  recollection.

  _C’est du plus loin qu’il me souvienne_ = 1. I can barely
  remember it. 2. It is as far back as I can recollect.


Souvent

  _Plus souvent!_ (fam.) = Not if I know it! Twice!


Sucre

  _Casser du sucre sur la tête de quelqu’un_ (pop.) = To speak ill
  of any one in his absence.


Suite

  _Cette maladie peut avoir des suites_ = That illness may have
  serious consequences.

  _Il n’a pas d’esprit de suite_ = He is not consistent; He keeps
  at nothing long.

  _Suite_ (of a serial story or article) = Continuation; Continued.

    [Also:

      _Suite et fin_ = Conclusion.
      _À suivre_ = To be continued.

    _La suite au prochain numéro_ = To be continued in our next.]


Sujet

  _Être sujet à l’heure_ = To be tied to time.

  _Être sujet à caution_ = Not to be relied upon. (See _Caution_.)

  _C’est un mauvais sujet_ = He is a scamp, “a bad lot.”

    [This is used in speaking of tiresome children, of flighty young
    men, and of real rogues.]

  _Petit mauvais sujet!_ = Little rascal! (to children).


Supplice

  _Être au supplice_ = To be on thorns.


Sûr

  _Pour sûr!_ (fam.) = I should think so, indeed!



T.


Table

  _Tenir table ouverte_ = To keep open house.

  _Faire table rase_ = To make a clean sweep and begin again; To
  start everything afresh.

  _Jouer cartes sur table_ = To act frankly, above board.


Tâche

  _Prendre à tâche_ = To make it one’s business.

  _Travailler à la tâche_ = To work by the piece.


Taillable

  _Vilains taillables et corvéables à merci_ = Serfs taxable and
  workable at their lord’s will and pleasure.


Taille

  _Il est de taille à se défendre_ = He is big enough to defend
  himself.

  “_Ils nous ont fait une France à leur taille_” (BÉRANGER) = They
  have brought France down to their level.

  _Se tenant par la taille_ = With their arms round each other’s
  waists.

  _Frapper d’estoc et de taille_ = 1. To cut and thrust. 2. To hit
  right and left; To lay about one.


Talon

  _Il a l’esprit aux talons_ = He shines at the wrong end; He is
  not witty.

  _La bande se dispersa, les talons aux épaules_ = The gang took to
  their heels.

  _J’ai l’estomac dans les talons_ = I am very hungry.


Tambour

  _On l’a mené tambour battant_ = They led him with a high hand;
  They played the martinet with him.

  _Il sortirent tambour battant, mèche allumée_ = They went out
  with all the honours of war.


Tant

  _Tous tant que nous sommes_ = Every one of us.

  _Être tant à tant_ = To be even (in a game).

  _Si cela vous ennuie tant soit peu, ne le faites pas_ = If that
  is the least trouble, do not do it.

  _Elle n’est pas jolie, tant s’en faut_ = She is not pretty, far
  from it; She is anything but good-looking.

  _Vous m’en direz tant_ = That alters the case; Ah! now I
  understand. (See _Dire_.)

  _Est-ce qu’elle est belle?--Elle est comme il y en a tant_ = Is
  she beautiful?--Nothing to stare at; Nothing out of the common.

  _Vous l’avez fait tant bien que mal_ = You did it in a casual
  (off-hand) way.

  _Je l’ai fait tant bien que mal_ = I did it as well as I could,
  though I know it is not well done.

  _Si tant est que_ .... = If it be true that....


Tapis

  _Être sur le tapis_ = To be the subject of general conversation;
  To be broached.

  _Amuser le tapis_ (or, _la galerie_) = To amuse people by talking
  the time away.


Tapisserie

  _Faire tapisserie_ (fam.) = To be a wall-flower at a ball.


Tard

  *_Mieux vaut tard que jamais_ = Better late than never.

    [This is first found in Dionysius of Halicarnassus (ix. 11): “It
    is better beginning late doing our duties than never.”]


Tarder

  _Il me tarde de parler_ = I am anxious to speak.

  _Il ne tardera pas à venir_ = It will not be long before he comes.


Tarte

  _C’est sa tarte à la crème_ = It is his one constant objection.
    [MOLIÈRE, _École des Femmes_, i. 1.]


Tel

  *_Tel maître, tel valet_ = Like master, like man; Like well, like
  bucket.

    [“Selon le clerc est deu le maistre.”--VILLON, _Grand Testament_,
    568.]

  *_Telle vie, telle fin_ = Men die as they live.

  _Je vous le rends tel quel_ = I return it to you just as it was
  lent to me.

  _Je la prendrai telle quelle_ = I will take it just as it is.

  _Ce sont des gens tels quels_ (fam.) = They are “no great
  shakes,” just ordinary people, humdrum people.

  _Tel est pris qui croyait prendre_ = It is a case of the biter
  bit.

  _Monsieur un tel_ = Mr. So-and-so.


Temps

  _Il se donne du bon temps_ = He does not work too hard; He enjoys
  himself; He has a good time of it.

  _Il prend le temps comme il vient_ = He takes things easily.

  _Cela a fait son temps_ = That has had its day.

  *_Du temps que Berthe filait_ = When the world was young; When
  Adam delved and Eve span.

  _Si le temps le permet_ = Wind and weather permitting.

  _Le temps est à la pluie_ = It looks like rain.

  _Le temps perdu ne se répare_ (or, _rattrape_) _pas_ = Time
  wasted is gone indeed.

  *_Qui a temps a vie_ = While there is life, there is hope; _Dum
  spiro spero._

  _Par le temps qui court_ = Nowadays; As times go.

  *_Autres temps, autres mœurs_ = Manners change with the times.

  _Au temps!_ = As you were! (military command).

    [This is sometimes incorrectly written “Autant,” but military
    movements were formerly divided into _temps_. When the
    drill-sergeant makes a mistake in giving the word of command, he
    says, “Au temps pour moi” = “My mistake, as you were!”]


Tendre

  _Il vaut mieux tendre la main que le cou_ = It is better to beg
  than to steal.

  _L’arc toujours tendu se gâte_ = All work and no play makes Jack
  a dull boy.

    [“Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo.”--HORACE, _Carm_, II. x. 20.]


Tendresse

  _Tendresse maternelle_    } = { A mother’s truth
  _Toujours se renouvelle._ }   { Keeps constant youth.

    [Archbishop Trench quotes the French and German forms as rhyming
    equally well in both languages; the English, he confesses, is not
    such a good translation. The German is:

      Mutter treu’
      Wird täglich neu.]


Tenir

  _Il ne tint à rien qu’ils ne se battissent_ = They were within an
  ace of fighting.

  _Quand on est bien, on ne s’y peut tenir_ = The love of change
  makes us give up even a comfortable position.

  _Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras_ = A bird in the hand is
  worth two in the bush.

    [Also: _Un bon aujourd’hui vaut mieux que deux demain._]

  _Il tient de son père_ = He takes after his father.

  _Il tient à ce livre_ = He treasures that book.

  _Je ne tiens plus à rien_ = I no longer care for anything.

  _Il ne tiendra pas à moi qu’il ne réussisse_ = It will not be my
  fault if he does not succeed.

  _Je le tiens de bonne source_ = I have it on good authority.

  _Tenir le loup par les oreilles_ = To be in a critical situation,
  dilemma.

  _On le tient à quatre_ = It needs four men to hold him down.

  _Je me suis tenu à quatre pour ne pas lui dire ses vérités_ = It
  was almost more than I could do not to tell him what I thought of
  him.

  _Il n’y a pas d’amitié qui tienne_ = Friendship has nothing to do
  with the question; It must be done in spite of friendship.

  _Qu’à cela ne tienne_ = Do not let that be any objection; Never
  mind that.

  _Je n’y tiens pas_ = I am not particular about it; I am not keen
  on it.

  _Je n’y tiens plus_ = I cannot stand it any longer.

  _Je n’y ai pas tenu_ = I could not contain myself.

  _Je ne sais à quoi m’en tenir_ = I do not know what to believe.

  _Tenir comme teigne_ (pop.) = To stick like wax.

  _À quoi cela tient-il?_ = What is that owing to?

  _Il ne tient qu’à lui de commencer_ = It rests entirely with him
  to begin; He can begin when he likes.

  _Cela lui tient au cœur_ = He is anxious about it.

  _Il n’a pas cédé, il a tenu bon_ = He did not give away, he stuck
  to it.

  _Tenez-vous-le pour dit_ = Take it for granted; Bear that in mind.

  _Il en tient_ = 1. He is smitten. 2. He is caught.

  _Tenez-vous-en là_ = Stop there, go no further in the matter; Be
  satisfied with what you have already obtained.

  _Tiens! c’est vous?_ = Hullo! is that you?

  _Tiens, tiens!_ = Indeed, you don’t say so!


Terme

  *_Il y a terme à tout_ = There is an end to everything.

    [A German proverb says: “Everything has an end--a sausage two.”]

  *_Qui a terme ne doit rien_ = No one is obliged to pay before a
  debt is due.

  _Le terme vaut l’argent_ = Time is money.

  _Ménagez un peu vos termes_ = Moderate your expressions a little;
  Be a little careful in what you say.


Terrain

  _En mathématiques il est sur son terrain_ = He is quite in his
  element at mathematics.

  _Tâter le terrain_ = To feel one’s way (fig.).


Terroir

  _Il sent le terroir_ = He is racy of the soil; He savours of his
  country.


Tête

  _Il a la tête près du bonnet_ = He is hasty, hot-headed.

  *_Ce sont deux têtes dans un bonnet_ = They are hand and glove
  together.

  _Cet homme y va tête baissée_ = That man rushes blindly into it;
  That man sets to work energetically.

  _C’est un homme de tête_ = He has a head on his shoulders; He is
  a man of resource.

  _Il s’est monté la tête_ = He got excited over fancied or
  exaggerated wrongs.

  _C’est une tête carrée_ = He is an obstinate fellow.

  _J’en ai par-dessus la tête_ = 1. I am sick and tired of it. 2. I
  am head over ears in it.

  _Je lui laverai la tête_ (pop.) = I will give it to him; I will
  give him a sound drubbing.

  _Il ne sait où donner de la tête_ = He does not know which way to
  turn.

    [_Donner_ here has the meaning of _heurter_, _frapper de la
    tête_.]

  _Donner de la tête contre le mur_ = To hit one’s head against a
  stone wall.

  _La tête me tourne_ = I feel giddy; my head swims.

  _Il a mauvaise tête_ = He is a wrong-headed fellow.

  _Il fait à sa tête_ = He will have his own way.

  _Cet homme a mauvaise tête et bon cœur_ = That man is
  quick-tempered, but kind-hearted.

  _Vous lui avez tenu tête_ = You did not give in to him.

  _Cet homme a de la tête_ = That man has his head screwed on the
  right way.


Tiers

  _Il ne faut pas dire vos affaires au tiers et au quart_ = You
  must not tell your business to all the world, to everybody.

  _Le tiers et le quart_ = Tom, Dick, and Harry.


Timbre

  _Il a le timbre fêlé_ (fam.) = He is cracked; He has a screw
  loose.


Tirer

  _Il se fera tirer l’oreille_ = He will require pressing.

  _Il tire le diable par la queue_ = He leads a struggling
  existence.

  _Vous ne me tirerez pas les vers du nez_ = You will not pump me
  (_i.e._ make me tell secrets).

  _Cet homme se tirerait d’un puits_ = That man would get out of
  any difficulty, is full of resource.

  _Je me ferais tirer à quatre avant de parler_ = Wild horses would
  not make me speak.

  _Il tire (touche) à sa fin_ = He is on his last legs.

  _Je saurai en tirer parti_ = I shall be able to turn it to
  account.

  *_Tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée_ = Ring down the curtain,
  the play is over.

    [Words reported to have been said by Rabelais just before his
    death.]


Titre

  _On m’a donné cela à titre gratuit_ (or, _gracieux_) = They gave
  me that for nothing.

  _Cet or n’est pas au titre légal_ = This gold is not up to the
  standard.

  _À ce titre (compte) j’y perds_ = At that rate I am a loser.


Toit

  _Crier par-dessus les toits_ = To proclaim from the housetops.


Tomber

  _Je tombe d’accord avec vous sur ce point_ = I am at one with you
  on that head.

  _Je tombe des nues_ = I am astounded.

  _Cet homme-là est bien tombé_ = That man has fallen on his feet;
  That man has applied to the right person (_or_, ironic), to the
  wrong person.

  _L’enfant tombe par terre, mais le fruit tombe à terre_ = A child
  falls on the ground, while fruit falls to the earth.

    [_Par terre_ = from one’s own height; _à terre_ = from any
    height.]


Tordre

  _Je me tordais de rire_ (fam.) = I was splitting my sides (_or_,
  convulsed) with laughter.


Tort

  _Vous vous êtes mis dans votre tort_ = You put yourself in the
  wrong.

  _À tort ou à raison_ = Rightly or wrongly.

  _À tort et à travers_ = At random, thoughtlessly.


Tôt

  *_Le plus tôt sera le mieux_ = The sooner, the better.


Toucher

  _Elle a l’air de ne pas y toucher_ = She looks as if butter would
  not melt in her mouth; She is very sarcastic without appearing to
  mean anything. (Comp. _Nitouche_.)

  _C’est un touche-à-tout_ = He is a Jack of all trades; He meddles
  with everything.

  _Cela touche à la folie_ = That is but one remove from madness;
  That borders on lunacy.

  _Touchez-là_ = Here’s my hand on it.


Tour

  _Faire ses quinze_ (or, _trente-six_) _tours_ = To do a hundred
  useless things.

  *_À chacun son tour_ = Every dog has his day; Now it is _my_ turn.

  _Elle est faite au tour_ (or, _moule_) = She has a splendid
  figure.

  _Il fit cela en un tour de main_ = He did that in a moment.

  _Un tour de faveur_ = Permission to go (_or_, do anything) before
  one’s turn.


Trac

  _Avoir le trac_ (fam.) = To be funky.


Train

  _Mettre une affaire en train_ = To put a thing in hand.

  _Pas dans le train_ = Not up-to-date; Of an older school.

  _Il le mène bon train dans cette affaire_ = He drives him hard in
  that matter.

  _Il nous a menés bon train_ = He brought us along at a great rate.

  _Allez toujours votre train_ = Go on as usual.

  _Il est en train d’écrire_ = He is in the act of writing; He is
  just writing.

  _Je ne suis pas en train ce matin_ = I do not feel myself this
  morning.

  _Il est en train_ (pop.) = He is slightly intoxicated.

  _Faire du train_ (pop.) = To kick up a dust.

  _Il mène grand train_ = He lives like a lord.

  _À fond de train_ = At full speed.


Trait

  _Ce que vous dites n’a pas trait à la question_ = What you say
  has nothing to do with the question.

  _Ce sont là de vos traits_ = That is just like you.

  _Avaler d’un trait_ = To drink off at one gulp, at a draught.


Traite

  _Tout d’une traite_ = At a stretch, without stopping.


Traiter

  _Il m’a traité de fat_ = He called me a fop.

  _Il m’a traité en roi_ = He treated me like a lord.


Traître

  _Il n’a pas dit un traître mot_ = He never spoke a single word.


Tramontane

  _Perdre la tramontane_ = Not to know which way to turn; To lose
  one’s head.

    [Literally, to lose one’s bearings. Tramontane is derived from
    the Italian _tramontana_, and originally meant the pole-star,
    which was the star seen from the Mediterranean across the
    mountains (the Alps). Compare _s’orienter_. See _Boule_.]


Trancher

  _Cet homme n’est pas très honnête, tranchons le mot, c’est un
  coquin_ = That man is not very honourable, in plain English, he
  is a rascal. (See _Mot_.)

  _Trancher la question, la difficulté_ = To cut the Gordian knot;
  To solve the difficulty.

  _Trancher du grand seigneur_ = To try and play the lord.

  _Trancher dans le vif_ = (lit.) To cut to the quick; (fig.) To
  set to work in earnest.


Travers

  _Il a l’esprit de travers_ = He has an awkward temper; He does
  not see things as they are; He is cross-grained.

  _Il me regarda de travers_ = He looked black (askance) at me.

  _Il prend tout de travers_ = He takes everything amiss.


Tréfonds

  _J’en sais le fonds et le tréfonds_ = I know the ins and outs of
  it, the long and the short of it.

    [Also: _Je connais les tenants et aboutissants de l’affaire._]


Tremper

  _Nous fûmes trempés jusqu’aux os_ = We were wet to the skin.


Trente

  _Être sur son trente-et-un_ (fam.) = To be dressed up to the
  nines.


Tricherie

  *_Tricherie revient à son maître_ = Curses, like chickens, come
  home to roost.


Trier

  _Les soldats de la Garde étaient tous triés sur le volet_ = The
  soldiers of the Guard were all picked men.

    [_Volet_ is a gardener’s board on which he sorts seeds.]


Triste

  _C’est un triste sire_ = He is a despicable, dishonourable fellow.


Tromper

  _Il n’y a pas à s’y tromper_ = There is no mistake about it.


Trop

  _Je ne sais trop_ = I don’t exactly know.

  *_Qui dit trop ne dit rien_ = He who wants to prove too much
  proves nothing.


Trou

  _Faire un trou à la lune_ (fam.) = To shoot the moon; To fly from
  one’s creditors.


Troubler

  _C’est un trouble-fête_ = He is a mar-joy, a wet blanket.


Trousse

  _Le voleur fuyait, mais nous étions à ses trousses_ = The thief
  made off, but we were at his heels.


Trouver

  _Cela se trouve bien_ = That is lucky.


Tu

  _Être à tu et à toi_ = To be on very familiar terms with.


Tuer

  _Crier à tue-tête_ = To shout at the top of one’s voice.



U.


Un

  _Ne faire ni une ni deux_ = To make no bones about it; To make up
  one’s mind quickly.

  _C’est tout un_ = It is all the same.


Union

  _L’union fait la force_ = United we stand, divided we fall.


Usine

  _Ce ne sont que des usines à bachot_ (pop.) = They are mere
  cramming shops.

    [_Bachot_ = _baccalauréat_ = matriculation. The French equivalent
    for our B.A. is rather _licencié-ès-lettres_, although the
    examinations in the two countries are so different that any
    comparison is very difficult.]



V.


Vache

  _Parler français comme une vache espagnole_ = To talk horribly
  bad French. (See _Français_.)

  “_Un homme qui n’a jamais mangé de la vache enragée n’est jamais
  qu’une poule mouillée_” (Mme. DE GIRARDIN) = A man who has never
  roughed it is always a milksop.

  _C’est le grand chemin des vaches_ = That is the beaten track.

  _Le plancher des vaches_ (fam.) = Terra firma.


Vaincre

  *“_À vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire_” = Where there
  is no danger, there is no glory.
    [CORNEILLE, _Cid_, ii. 2. Compare: “Scit eum sine gloria vinci
    qui sine periculo vincitur.”--SENECA, _De Providentia_, iii.]


Valet

  _Il n’y a pas de grand homme pour son valet de chambre_ = No man
  is a hero to his valet.

  _On ne prend pas de valet pour se servir soi-même_ = What! keep a
  dog and bark thyself!


Valeur

                          “_Aux âmes bien nées
      La valeur n’attend pas le nombre des années._”
                                         CORNEILLE, _Cid_, ii. 2.

  = Really brave men show their valour when quite young.


Valoir

  _Cela vaut fait_ = That is as good as done.

  _Vaut bien que mal_ = _Vaille que vaille_ = At all events; For
  better, for worse.

  _Il se fait trop valoir_ = He brags too much.


Veine

  _Je suis en veine de le faire_ = I am just in the humour to do it.

  _J’ai de la veine_ (pop.) = I am in luck.


Velours

  _Faire patte de velours_ = To speak smoothly; To draw in one’s
  claws.

  *_Habit de velours, ventre de son_ = Silks and satins put out the
  kitchen fire.

    [Compare:

      “Dress drains our cellar dry,
      And keeps our larder lean.”
                                         COWPER, _Task_, ii. 614.

    An old French dicton says:

      “Ne sois paon en ton parer,
      Ny perroquet en ton parler,
      Ny cicogne en ton manger,
      Ny oye aussi en ton marcher.”]


Vendre

  *_Chose qui plaît est à moitié vendue_ = Good wares make quick
  market; Please the eye and fill the purse.

    [“Chose qui plaist est à demy vendue.”--CHARLES D’ORLÉANS,
    _Rondeau_ 194.]


Venir

  *_Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre_ = Everything comes to
  the man who waits.

    [The older form of the proverb omitted _à_; for _qui_ = _si on_.]

  _C’est un beau venir y voir_ = A pretty sight indeed!

  _Où voulez-vous en venir?_ = What are you driving at? What is
  your drift?

  _Il se vante d’en venir à bout_ = He says he is sure to succeed.


Vent

  _Il fait un vent à décorner_ (or, _écorner_) _un bœuf_ = There is
  a wind enough to blow one’s head off.

  _Autant en emporte le vent_ = That is but so much breath spent in
  vain; It is not of the slightest consequence.

  *_Vent au visage rend un homme sage_ = Adversity makes a man
  wise, not rich.

  _Celui qui sème le vent récolte la tempête_ = He who sows the
  wind reaps the whirlwind; Those who live in glass houses should
  not throw stones.


Ventre

  *_Ventre affamé prend tout en gré_ =

      “They that have no other meat,
      Bread and butter are glad to eat.”

  *_Ventre affamé n’a point d’oreilles_ = A hungry man will not
  listen to reason; A hungry man is an angry man.

  _Cela lui remet du cœur au ventre_ (fam.) = That gives him
  courage again.

  _Savoir ce que quelqu’un a dans le ventre_ (fam.) = To know what
  a person is worth, what he thinks; To know the stuff a man is
  made of.

  _Il n’a pas trois mois dans le ventre_ (fam.) = He cannot live
  three months.

  _Le cheval courait ventre à terre_ = The horse was running as
  hard as he could tear.

  _Il était à plat ventre_ = He was flat on his face.


Ver

  _Nu comme un ver_ = Stark naked; As naked as when one was born.


Vérité

  *_On dit souvent la vérité en riant_ = There is many a true word
  spoken in jest.

  _Toute vérité n’est pas bonne à dire_ = All truths are not to be
  spoken at all times.

  _La vérité comme l’huile vient au-dessus_ = Truth will out; It
  takes a good many shovelfuls of earth to bury the Truth.

    [The Spaniards say: La verdad es hija de Dios = Truth is the
    daughter of God.]

  _C’est une vérité de Monsieur de la Palisse_ = It is an evident
  truth.

    [M. de la Palisse is the hero of a lengthy poem, one of the
    verses of which runs as follows:

      “M. de la Palisse est mort
        Mort de maladie
      Un quart d’heure avant sa mort
        Il était encore en vie.”]


Verrier

  _Il court comme un verrier déchargé_ = He runs like a
  lamplighter. (See _Chat_.)

    [Glaziers, when carrying glass, have to walk carefully and
    slowly. When they have got rid of their load they make up for
    lost time.]


Vers

  “_Les plus beaux vers sont ceux qu’on ne peut pas
  écrire._”--(LAMARTINE, _Voyage en Orient_) =
    “Ah! the best prayers that faith may ever think
    Are untranslatable by pen and ink.”
                                                Bishop ALEXANDER.


Vert

  _Vous ne le prendrez pas sans vert_ = You will not catch him
  napping.

    [An old game that used to be played in May was for two people to
    undertake to be able always to show a green twig: failure to do
    so lost the game.]

  _Une verte vieillesse_ = A hale old age.

  _Ils sont trop verts_ = The grapes are sour.
    [LA FONTAINE, _Le Renard et les Raisins_, iii. 11.]

  _Mettre un cheval au vert_ = To send a horse to grass.


Vessie

  _Il veut nous faire prendre des vessies pour des lanternes_ = He
  wishes us to believe the moon is made of green cheese.

      [“Me voulez vous faire entendant
      De vecies que ce sont lanternes?”
                                 _Maistre Pierre Pathelin_, 800.]


Vie

  _Faire vie qui dure_ = To live temperately; To husband one’s
  resources.

  _Avoir la vie dure_ = 1. To have a hard time. 2. To have nine
  lives.


Vieux

  _Vieux comme les rues, comme le monde_ = As old as the hills.

  _C’est un homme de la vieille roche_ = He is a man of the old
  school; he belongs to the good old stock.

  _Un vieux de la vieille_ = A veteran of the old Imperial Guard;
  One of the old brigade.

  _Vieil ami et vieux vin sont vraiment deux bons vieux, mais vieux
  écus sont encore mieux_ = Old friends and old wine are good, but
  old gold is better than both.

    [“Alonzo of Arragon was wont to say in commendation of Age, that
    Age appeared to be best in four things: Old wood best to burn,
    old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to
    read.”--BACON, _Apophthegms_, 101.]


Vif

  _Trancher_ (or, _couper_) _dans le vif_ = (lit.) To cut to the
  quick; (fig.) To set to work in earnest.

  _Ce reproche l’a piqué au vif_ = That reproach stung him to the
  quick.

  _Il est vif comme la poudre_ = 1. He is quick-tempered. 2. He is
  bustling, quick at work.

  _De vive voix_ = By word of mouth; Orally.

  _Ce sont des descriptions prises sur le vif_ = Those descriptions
  are life-like.

  _Les paysans dans ce tableau sont pris sur le vif_ = The peasants
  in that picture are life-like.


Vigne

  _Il est dans les vignes du Seigneur_ = He is in his cups.


Vin

  _Du vin à faire danser les chèvres_ = Sour wine not fit to drink.

  *_À bon vin point d’enseigne_ = Good wine needs no bush.

    [It was a Roman custom to hang out a branch of ivy at the doors
    of taverns in honour of Bacchus. Branches of green stuff may
    still be seen at the doors of wineshops along the Loire and in
    Burgundy. Kelly traces the word “bosky” (_i.e._ drunk) to this
    bush.]

  _Être entre deux vins_ = To be half seas over (pop.).

  *_Le vin entre, la raison sort_ = When ale is in, wit is out.

  _On ne connaît pas le vin aux cercles_ = You can’t judge cigars
  by the picture on the box.

  _Tremper son vin_ = To water one’s wine.

    [_Tremper_ = _tempérer_, not to wet, but to moderate.]

  _Vous mouillez trop votre vin_ = You are drowning the miller.


Violent

  _Cela est un peu violent_ = That is too bad.


Violon

  _Payer les violons_ = To pay the piper.


Visière

  _Je lui ai rompu en visière_ = I attacked (_or_, contradicted)
  him openly.

    [“Je n’y puis plus tenir, j’enrage; et mon dessein
    Est de rompre en visière à tout le genre humain.”
                                 MOLIÈRE, _Le Misanthrope_, i. 1.

    Literally the phrase means: to break one’s lance against the
    visor of one’s enemy.]


Vite

  _Plus vite que ça_ (fam.) = Look sharp about it.


Vivre

  _Je n’ai pas trouvé âme qui vive_ = I did not find a soul.

  *_Qui vivra verra_ = He who lives longest will see most; Time
  will show (tell).

  _Monsieur vit de ses rentes_ = The gentleman is independent
  (_i.e._ has an income of his own).

  _Apprendre à vivre_ = To learn manners.

  _Je lui apprendrai à vivre_ = I will teach him better manners (as
  a threat).

  _Comme c’est vécu!_ = How true to life!


Voie

  _Ils en sont venus aux voies de fait_ = They came to blows.

  _Il est toujours par voies et par chemins_ = He is always on the
  move, rambling.

  _Les affaires sont en voie de hausse_ = Things are looking up.

  _Être sur la voie_ = To be on the scent.

  _Je suis en voie de le finir_ = I am in a fair way to finish it.


Voilà

  _Comme le voilà sale!_ = Just see how dirty he is!

  _Ne voilà-t-il pas qu’il est revenu_ = Who should come back but
  he?

  _Voilà comme vous êtes_ = That is just like you.

  _Voilà comme je suis_ = You must take me as I am; That’s my way.


Voir

  _On n’y voit goutte_ = One can see nothing.

  _J’y vois trouble_ = I see dimly; My sight is dim.

  _Vous n’avez rien à y voir_ = That is no business of yours.

  _Au vu et au su de tout le village_ = Openly, before the whole
  village.

  _Je vous vois venir_ = I see what you are driving at.

  _J’ai voulu voir par moi-même_ = I wish to see with my own eyes.

  _Il nous en a fait voir de toutes les couleurs_ = He told us all
  sorts of tales; He worried us beyond all bearing.


Voix

  _Je n’ai pas voix au chapitre_ = (lit.) I have no right to speak;
  (fig.) My opinion is not listened to.


Volée

  _Il a obtenu cela entre bond et volée_ = He obtained that at a
  lucky moment.

  _À toute volée_ = At random; At full swing.

  _Il est de la haute volée_ = He is a tip-top swell, of the first
  water, of the upper ten.


Voler (to fly)

  _On pouvait entendre voler une mouche_ = One could hear a pin
  drop.


Voler (to steal)

  *_Il ne l’a pas volé_ = He richly deserves it.


Voleur

  *_Quand les voleurs se battent, les larcins se découvrent_ = When
  thieves fall out, honest men get their own.


Volonté

  *_La bonne volonté est reputée pour le fait_ = The will is as
  good as (is taken for) the deed.


Vôtre

  _Je serai des vôtres_ = I shall be one of your party; I shall be
  on your side.

  _Vous avez fait des vôtres_ = You have committed follies
  yourself; You have played pranks too.


Vouer

  _Je ne sais à quel saint me vouer_ = I do not know which way to
  turn.


Vouloir

  *_Vouloir c’est pouvoir_ = Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    [Also: _La volonté rend tout possible._

    “Impossible est un mot que je ne dis jamais.”--COLLIN
    D’HARLEVILLE, _Malice pour Malice_, i. 8.

    Napoléon I., in a letter to Lemarois, 9th July 1813, wrote: “Ce
    n’est pas possible, m’écrivez vous, cela n’est pas Français.”

    “Mirabeau disait un jour à son secrétaire: ‘Impossible! ne me
    dites jamais ce bête de mot.’”--DUMONT, _Vie de Mirabeau_, quoted
    in Carlyle’s _French Revolution_, vol. ii. p. 118.]

  _Que voulez-vous?_ = 1. What do you want? What can I do for you?
  2. What was to be done? 3. What can you expect?

  _Vous l’avez voulu!_ = It is your own fault; You would have it.

      [“Vous l’avez voulu, George Dandin!”
                                 MOLIÈRE, _George Dandin_, i. 9.]

  _On ne peut lui en vouloir_ = One cannot be angry with him, blame
  him.

  _En veux-tu? en voilà!_ = As much as ever you like.

  _Il y en avait à bouche que veux-tu_ = There was an abundant
  supply of it; There was plenty for every one.

  _Il sait ce que parler veut dire_ = He understands the hidden
  meaning; He takes the hint.

  _Je le veux bien_ = With pleasure! I have no objection.


Vrai

  *“_Le vrai peut quelquefois n’être pas vraisemblable_” = Truth is
  stranger than fiction.
  [BOILEAU, _Art Poétique_, iii. 48.]



Z.


Zèle

  _Surtout, messieurs, pas de zèle!_ = Above all, gentlemen, don’t
  be too anxious! Don’t try to hurry things on.

    [Words attributed to Talleyrand on receiving the staff of the
    Ministère des Affaires Étrangères.]



          “_Trop gratter cuit,
            Trop parler nuit,
        Trop manger n’est pas sage.
             A barbon gris
             Jeune souris:
        L’Amour est de tout âge.
      Enfants de Paris, quel temps fait-il?
         Il pleut là-bas, il neige ici
               Pendant la nuit
               Tous chats sont gris.
         Pour faire route sûre
               Si l’amour va
               Cahin-caha
         Ménage ta monture._”

                                       CHARLES COLLÉ (1709-1783).



INDEX


INDEX OF ENGLISH PROVERBS

  A

  Absents always wrong, 2

  Ace, within an, 220

  Adam delved and Eve span, when, 123, 219

  Adversity makes man wise, 229

  Against the grain, 201

  Akimbo, to put one’s arms, 17

  Ale is in, wit is out, 232

  All is not gold that glitters, 49

  All men are not alike, 114

  All’s well that ends well, 124, 172

  All work and no play, 220

  Almost and very nigh, 160

  Ambush, 8

  Among the blind, one-eyed is king, 44

  And the rest! 170

  Answer a fool according to his folly, 214

  Appearances, for the sake of, 17

  Appetite, good, 18

  April fool, 191

  Arm in arm, 47

  As you make your bed, 41, 81

  At first sight, 2

  Average, on an, 15, 129

  Awkward fix, to get out of an, 180


  B

  Background, to put in, 188

  Back made for burden, 181

  Bad day, bad night, 75

  Bad thing never dies, 152

  Bag and baggage, 106

  Band-box, come out of a, 110

  Bark worse than bite, 69

  Bay, to be at, 2

  Beak and claw, 173

  Beat about the bush, to, 24, 33, 65, 193

  Beat black and blue, 84, 99

  Beat hollow, to, 86

  Bedlam let loose, 207

  Bee in one’s bonnet, 19

  Beer, no small, of oneself, 167

  Beggars cannot be choosers, 106

  Beginning not everything, 74

  Behind the scenes, 55

  Bell the cat, to, 22, 137

  Best cheapest in the end, 158

  Best of friends must part, 75

  Be the day short, 147

  Better dry bread at home, 38

  Better late than never, 218

  Better the day, better the deed, 42, 148

  Between devil and deep sea, 107

  Between ourselves, 198

  Between two stools, 63

  B from a bull’s foot, not to know, 1

  Bigwig, 43

  Billingsgate, 140

  Bird fouls its own nest, an ill, 169

  Bird in hand, 220

  Birds flown, to find the, 51, 169

  Birds of a feather, 22, 140

  Bird that catches the worm, 150, 203

  Bird told me so, a little, 99

  Bit by bit, 9

  Biter bit, the, 139, 149

  Black eyes, a couple of, 170

  Blood from a stone, to get, 67

  Blow brains out, 50, 58, 209

  Blues, to have the, 169

  Boat, to be in same, 108

  Bone to pick, to have a, 154

  Bore, 201

  Born to be hanged, never drowned, 94

  Borrowing sorrowing, 21

  Bow to circumstances, 32, 50

  Boycott, to, 144

  Boys will be boys, 147

  Brand new, 33

  Bread is buttered, which side, 176

  Bred in the bone, what is, 54, 63

  Broken reed, 19

  Broom sweeps clean, a new, 30, 96

  Bull by the horns, to seize the, 22

  Burn candle at both ends, 60

  Burnt child dreads the fire, 63

  Business, to mind one’s own, 5

  Business is business, 7

  Butter would not melt in mouth, 169

  Bygones be bygones, to let, 174, 198


  C

  Cake and eat it, to have one’s, 101, 112

  Cake, to take the, 19, 104, 175

  Candles away, all cats grey, 64

  Cap a story, 203

  Cap fits, wear it, if the, 134, 165

  Carpenter known by chips, 172

  Carry coals to Newcastle, 102

  Cart before horse, to put the, 62

  Cast in the teeth, to, 168

  Castles in the air, 64

  Cat after kind, 69

  Cat and dog life, to lead a, 3

  Catch it, to, 6, 28

  Cat may look at a king, 69

  Cat on hot bricks, 64

  Cat’s away, mice will play, 64

  Caught a Tartar, to have, 152

  Chaff, to catch with, 17

  Chalk and cheese, 147

  Chalk it up, 66

  Change not a clout, 28

  Charity begins at home, 62

  Chatterbox, a regular, 36, 166

  Cheats never prosper, 4

  Chip of the old block, 63, 124

  Christmas comes but once a year, 121, 148

  Civility costs nothing, 104, 179

  Claw me, and I’ll claw thee, 181

  Clean as a whistle, 196

  Clean sweep, 217

  Clear as noonday, 71

  Clear as crystal, 207

  Clockwork, like, 54

  Cloud and a silver lining, 189

  Clover, to be in, 78

  Coach-and-four through Act of Parliament, 148

  Coat does not make gentleman, 139

  Cobbler stick to last, let, 161

  Cock and bull story, 78

  Cock of the walk, 78

  Cold shoulder, 33

  Come off cheap, 199

  Come to blows, 233

  Come to the point, 117, 181

  Coming--like Christmas, 169

  Comparisons are odious, 72

  Confession good for soul, 26

  Cost what it may, 86

  Count chickens before hatched, 70, 76, 182

  Cram, 43

  Cramming-shop, 227

  Creaking door hangs long, 47, 192

  Cream of the army, 125

  Crown his misfortune, to, 74, 156

  Crumb and crust, 10

  Cry out before hurt, 16

  Cry over spilt milk, 115

  Curses come home to roost, 20, 155

  Cut coat according to cloth, 45

  Cut ground under feet, 141

  Cut long story short, 165


  D

  Daggers drawn, at, 86

  Dance attendance to, 88, 138

  Dark as pitch, 130

  Dark side of picture, 159, 205

  Daub yourself with honey, 48

  Day after the fair, 167

  Dead man, he is a, 6

  Dead men’s shoes, 165

  Dead men tell no tales, 37

  Deaf as a post, as, 215

  Death’s door, at, 22, 99

  Devil and deep sea, between, 107, 158

  Devil not so black as painted, 96

  Devil’s own luck, 79

  Devil was sick, 96

  Diamond cut diamond, 63, 92, 125

  Die in the gutter, 175

  Die is cast, 213

  Dine with Duke Humphrey, 73

  Dirt cheap, 3

  Discretion better part of valour, 43

  Disgorge ill-gotten gains, 136

  Distance lends enchantment, 99

  Do a thing yourself, 5

  Dog at a wedding, 69

  Dog bad name and hang, 68

  Dog better than dead lion, a living, 90

  Dog does not eat dog, 80, 153

  Dog has his day, every, 224

  Dog in manger, 69

  Dog’s-ear a book, 80

  Dog will learn no tricks, an old, 146

  Done cannot be undone, 117

  Doomsday, to wait till, 174

  Door with creaking hinge, 120

  Down in the mouth, 191

  Down to the ground, 4

  Do your duty, 95

  Dover Court, 207

  Draught, to be in a, 11

  Draught, to drink at a, 225

  Draw in one’s horns, to, 78

  Dreams go by contraries, 213

  Drink at one gulp, 225

  Drink cup to dregs, 41

  Drink like a fish, 40

  Drop in the ocean, 136

  Drop too much, to have a, 82

  Dropping water wears away a stone, 103

  Drowning man catches at a straw, 3

  Drown the miller, 232

  Ducks and drakes, to play, 145

  Dull as ditchwater, 44, 133


  E

  Early to bed and early to rise, 23

  Easier said than done, 39

  East, west, home best, 68

  Edged tools, to play with, 122

  Edge off one’s appetite, to take, 111

  Eel, as slippery as an, 16

  Elbow one’s way, 66

  Elbow-room, 81

  End crowns all, 124, 172

  End justifies the means, 42

  End to everything, 46, 221

  English, in plain, 221

  Englishman’s house his castle, 61

  Enough is as good as a feast, 78

  Errors excepted, 75

  Even money, 76

  Ever drunk ever dry, 40

  Everybody’s business, 16

  Every dog has his day, 58

  Every inch a republican, 88

  Every Jack must have his Jill, 192

  Every little helps, 170

  Every man for himself, 58, 210

  Everything comes man who waits, 23

  Extempore, to speak, 2

  Extremes meet, 113

  Eye to main chance, 213


  F

  Face the music, 193

  Face is her fortune, 27

  Faint heart never won fair lady, 143

  Fair and softly goes far, 12

  Fair words butter no parsnips, 149

  Fair words never did harm, 179

  Fall between two stools, to, 59

  Familiarity breeds contempt, 3

  Far fetched, 13

  Fault confessed, half redressed, 182

  Feather one’s nest, to, 44, 126

  Findings keepings, 195

  Fine clothes do not fill stomach, 52

  Fine feathers make fine birds, 35

  Finishing stroke, 83

  Finger in every pie, 168

  First catch your hare, 182

  First come, first served, 95, 194

  First in the field, 95

  Fish, flesh, nor fowl, 58

  Fish in troubled waters, 102

  Fish out of water, like a, 191

  Fish to fry, other, 63

  Fit to a T, 134

  Fits and starts, to work by, 33, 43, 209

  Fix, to be in a, 101, 185

  Flash in the pan, 122

  Flesh and blood, in, 58

  Flesh creep, to make one’s, 58

  Fool’s bolt is soon shot, a, 148

  Fools have the best luck, 129

  Foot foremost, to put one’s best, 186

  Foot in it, to put one’s, 189

  Forewarned, forearmed, 26

  Fortune knocks once, 129

  Fox to keep the geese, to set, 153

  Free and easy, 3, 135

  French leave, to take, 123

  Friend at court, 14

  Friend in need is a friend indeed, 13, 37

  Frying-pan into the fire, to fall from, 47, 64, 122

  Fuel to the fire, to add, 146

  Funky, to be, 224


  G

  Game not worth candle, 60

  Gentlemanly, 11

  Get blood from a stone, 144

  Get out of bed the wrong side, 43

  Gift-horse in the mouth, to look at, 49, 66

  Gift of the gab, 149

  Gild the pill, 187

  Give any one the slip, 75

  Give him an inch, 48

  Give the devil his due, 95

  Give twice who gives quickly, 99

  Glass houses throw stones, 229

  God helps those who help themselves, 9

  God sends thread for begun web, 123

  God tempers the wind, 48

  Go halves, 76

  Golden mean, 162

  Good as done, 6, 23

  Good as gold, as, 144

  Good books, to be in one’s, 177

  Good breeding always tells, 209

  Good name better than riches, 57

  Good wine needs no bush, 42, 232

  Gordian knot, to cut, 226

  Gospel, to take anything for, 21

  Go to Jericho, 196

  Grandmother to suck eggs, 18, 203

  Grapes are sour, 231

  Grasp all, lose all, 106

  Great cry, little wool, 50

  Great wits jump together, 111

  Greek to him, it is, 11

  Grey mare the better horse, 109, 192

  Grist to the mill, 103

  Grudge the food he eats, 76

  Grudge, to have a, 28

  Guilty conscience needs no accuser, 113, 199


  H

  Habit is second nature, 40

  Hackneyed, 79

  Hail-fellow-well-met, 75, 176

  Hairs, to split, 9

  Hale and hearty, 42

  Half a loaf is better than no bread, 138, 182

  Half in jest, half in earnest, 123

  Half seas over, 232

  Hall marked, 78

  Hand and glove together, 44, 99, 116

  Hands make light work, many, 9

  Hand to hand, 80

  Hand to mouth, to live from, 147

  Hanged for a sheep as a lamb, 34, 69, 134

  Happen what may, 4, 133

  Hard up, 21, 210

  Harm watch, harm catch, 155

  Harp on same string, 60, 107

  Haste makes waste, 141

  Haul over the coals, 211

  Hawk from handsaw, not to know, 178

  Heads or tails, 113

  Hear both sides, 71

  Helping hand, to give a, 84, 154

  Helve after hatchet, 19

  He who will not when he may, 202

  Hiding, to give a good, 3

  High winds blow on high hills, 137

  Hint, to take a, 108

  Hit the mark, 122

  Hit with a vengeance, 154

  Holloa before out of wood, 69

  Home, no place like, 68, 172

  Home, to make oneself at, 3

  Honest man’s word, 143, 179

  Honesty is the best policy, 126

  Honour among thieves, 153

  Honour to whom honour is due, 59, 211

  Hook or crook, 43

  Hooligan, 17

  Hope, the last, 188

  Horse of another colour, 25, 156

  Horse to grass, to send a, 231

  Horse, to ride the high, 66

  Host, to reckon without, 76, 143

  House nor home, 121

  H’s, to drop one’s, 89

  Hue and cry, 78

  Hunger is the best sauce, 18

  Hunger tames the lion, 115

  Hungry as a hunter, 111

  Hungry man is an angry man, 7

  Hurry the less speed, the more, 50


  I

  Idle brain the devil’s workshop, 123

  If wishes were horses, 212, 215

  Ill bird fouls its own nest, 169

  Ill-licked cub, 174

  Ill news flies fast, 18

  Ill weeds grow apace, 141

  Ill wind blows no one good, 42, 156

  Image of his mother, the very, 87, 107

  Improve upon acquaintance, to, 77

  Indian file, 199

  In for a penny, in for a pound, 34, 40

  Ins and outs, to know, 129, 226

  _In vino veritas_, 40

  Irishman’s gun, 86

  Irons in fire, too many, 63, 151


  J

  Jack has his Jill, every, 192

  Jack of all trades, 196, 224

  Jerry-built house, 55

  Joke, to be beyond a, 146, 200

  Joker, a dry, 207

  Judge by appearances, 163

  Justice no respecter of persons, 148


  K

  Keep a dog and bark thyself, 228

  Keep open house, 217

  Keep the ball rolling, 139

  Keep the pot boiling, 158

  Key of the street, 59

  Kick the bucket, 187

  Kill by inches, to, 121

  Killed on the spot, 55

  Kill two birds, to, 82, 187

  Know from Adam, not to, 77

  Know, in the, 55

  Knowledge is power, 210

  Know nothing, doubt nothing, 210

  Knuckle under, to, 215


  L

  Lady, a great, 89

  Last straw breaks camel’s back, 46, 103

  Laugh best who laugh last, 206

  Laugh in forced manner, 46

  Laughing-stock, 207

  Laugh in one’s sleeve, 31, 53

  Laugh on wrong side of face, 207

  Laugh to-day, cry to-morrow, 206

  Lazy people take most pains, 178

  Least said soonest mended, 179

  Leave no stone unturned, 71, 106

  Leave well alone, 38, 162

  Leave without beat of drum, 92

  Legal tender, 86

  Let cat out of the bag, 159

  Let sleeping dogs lie, 64

  Let those laugh who win, 206

  Lie unblushingly, 21

  Life and soul of party, 47

  Life in the old dog yet, 43

  Light as air, 106

  Lightly come, lightly go, 126

  Like as two peas, as, 102

  Like master, like man, 155, 218

  Like sire, like son, 69, 209

  Like will to like, 58

  Lion had need of the mouse, 129

  Lion’s mouth, to rush into, 153

  Little fellows are often great wits, 209

  Little pitchers have long ears, 64

  Little pot soon hot, 185

  Little rain lays much dust, 1

  Little strokes fell great oaks, 184

  Loan loses self and friend, 13

  Lock stable door, 105

  Long lane without turning, 176

  Long looked for comes at last, 169

  Look before you leap, 124

  Look gift-horse in mouth, 49, 66

  Look sharp about it! 232

  Lose nothing for want of asking, 206

  Lose one’s head, 45

  Lot of good that will do, 145

  Love dies hard, true, 10

  Love laughs at locksmiths, 14

  Love me, love my dog, 10

  Lurch, to leave in the, 188


  M

  Mackerel sky, 120

  Mad as a March hare, 59, 85

  Make a cat laugh, 187

  Make best of bad job, 42, 129, 146

  Make hay while sun shines, 30

  Make mouth water, 103

  Man in the street, 194

  Man proposes, 142

  Manners change, 25

  Many a little makes a mickle, 136, 154, 184, 208

  Many a true word spoken in jest, 230

  March winds and April showers, 158

  Mare better horse, the grey, 109, 192

  Mare’s nest, to find a, 185

  Marines, to tell to, 25

  Mar-joy, 227

  Match for a person, no, 67

  Matter of course, 12

  Measure other’s peck, 23

  Men die as they live, 218

  Mess, to get into a, 25, 101, 185

  Mess, to make a pretty, 6

  Might is right, 127, 129

  Milk and honey, flowing with, 72

  Milksop, 227

  Mince matters, not to, 65, 166

  Mincemeat of, to make, 139

  Miserly father, spendthrift son, 26

  Misfortunes never come singly, 21, 156

  Miss the mark, 81

  Money makes money, 103

  Money, to be made of, 20

  Money, ready, 20

  Moon made of green cheese, 149

  More frightened than hurt, 185

  More haste, less speed, 50, 65, 141, 195

  More the merrier, the, 130

  Mountain out of molehill, 166, 171

  Move on, 71

  Mow what you sow, 176

  Much ado about nothing, 35

  Much coin, much care, 138

  Much would have more, 16, 189

  Murder king’s English, to, 214


  N

  Nail right on head, to hit, 99, 107

  Narrow shave, 35

  Nearer church, 105, 161

  Necessity, mother of invention, 176

  Needle in bundle of hay, 9

  Nice goings on, 34

  Nick of time, to come in, 21, 54, 190

  Nine days’ wonder, 7

  No admittance, 92

  Noble to ninepence, to bring, 214

  No danger, no glory, 228

  No fear of that, 90

  No living man all things can, 144

  Nod is as good as wink to blind horse, 57

  None so deaf, 109, 215

  No pay, no piper, 20

  No sooner said than done, 23

  Not at home, 111

  Nothing ask, nothing have, 143

  Nothing for nothing, 205

  Nothing succeeds like success, 184

  Nothing like leather, 174

  Nothing new, that is, 77

  Nothing venture, nothing win, 206

  No thoroughfare, 181

  No use my talking, 28, 35

  Not in my line, 204

  Not up to date, 225

  Now or never, 55


  O

  Oath, to take the, 195

  Ogre, to eat like an, 157

  Old as the hills, 163, 191, 231

  Old birds not caught with chaff, 161

  Old dog will learn no tricks, 146

  Old-fashioned, quite, 146

  Old maid, 74

  Old wives’ tales, 78

  Once and for all, 42, 58

  Once bit, twice shy, 63, 201

  Once in a blue moon, 163

  One door shuts, another opens, 184

  One good turn deserves another, 62, 146

  One man can take horse to water, 213

  One man may steal a horse, 166

  One man’s meat, 170

  One scabby sheep, 134

  One swallow does not make a summer, 86

  Only this once, 86

  Open confession good for soul, 26

  Opportunity makes the thief, 150

  Out-Herod Herod, 208

  Out of debt, out of danger, 95

  Out of print, 110

  Out of sight, out of mind, 73

  Out of sorts, 22, 210

  Out of the frying-pan, 47

  Out of world as out of fashion, 130

  Over head and ears, 87


  P

  P’s and Q’s, to mind one’s, 38

  Pack becomes small pedlar, a small, 185

  Pay back in own coin, to, 164

  Pay, no piper, no, 20

  Pay the piper, to, 182

  Pay with promises, 212

  Pearls before swine, to cast, 184

  Penniless, to be, 46, 96

  Penny saved is a penny earned, 104, 133

  Penny wise and pound foolish, 46, 60

  Peril proves who dearly loves, 10

  Pet aversion, 37

  Pickle, to be in a pretty, 35, 101

  Pigeon-holed, to be, 55

  Pig in a poke, to buy a, 3

  Pin a day, groat a year, 110

  Pinch of salt, 36

  Pin drop, to hear a, 216

  Pins and needles, to be on, 215

  Piper, to pay the, 182, 232

  Pitch and toss, 187

  Pitch, to touch, 38

  Pitcher that often goes to the well, 18

  Plain as a pikestaff, 71

  Plain English, in, 131, 165

  Play the prude, 190

  Please the eye, fill the purse, 229

  Plenty makes dainty, 215

  Poaches on my preserves, 49

  Pocket an insult, to, 8

  Point-blank, 46, 50

  Point, not to the, 8, 117

  Point, to come to the, 117, 181

  Poor as a church mouse, 105

  Possession nine points of law, 192

  Pot calls kettle black, 131, 183

  Pot-luck, 129

  Pot soon hot, a little, 185

  Poverty in at door love out at window, 126

  Poverty is no crime, 181

  Practice makes perfect, 115, 128

  Practise what one preaches, to, 113

  Precepts lead, 113

  Precious near it, 118

  Precious pair, a, 87

  Prefer advice to praise, 78

  Prettiness makes no pottage, 35

  Prig, 192

  Promises are like pie-crust, 39

  Proud as a peacock, 122

  Put shoulder to wheel, 172


  Q

  Quarrel about nothing, to, 11

  Queen Anne is dead, 191

  Queer fish, 80, 102

  Quite between ourselves, 98


  R

  Racket, to stand the, 56, 193

  Rage, to be the, 21, 133

  Rap, not worth a, 121

  Reach-me-down, a, 91

  Receiver as bad as thief, 24, 208

  Red at night the shepherd’s delight, 39

  Red-handed, 92

  Reed, to trust to a broken, 19

  Refuse point-blank, 168

  Regular as clockwork, 167, 202

  Repent at leisure, 203

  Return of post, 85

  Return to our subject, 167

  Riches, a good name better than, 203

  Ride rough-shod over, 186

  Ring down the curtain, 223

  Rob a church, he would, 24

  Rob Peter to pay Paul, 91

  Rod in pickle, to keep a, 134

  Roland for an Oliver, 63, 195

  Rolling stone gathers no moss, 187

  Rome was not built in a day, 20, 117

  Room for improvement, 94

  Room to swing a cat in, not, 154

  Rose has its thorn, every, 207

  Rough tools for rough work, 135

  Rough with smooth, to take, 36

  Rough with the smooth, to take, 138

  Routine, return to old, 74

  Row in same boat, 85

  Rub, there’s the, 97, 135, 151

  Rule men with rod of iron, 29

  Rule of thumb, 168

  Ruling passion strong in death, 8

  Run for your lives, 210

  Run headlong into trap, 30

  Run with hare and hunt with hounds, 67, 103


  S

  Sack, to give any one the, 30

  Safe bind, safe find, 160

  Saintly look, to put on a, 17

  Saint Swithin’s Day, 159

  Salt, not worth his, 176

  Salt on bird’s tail, to put, 211

  Same old story, 203

  Satan finds mischief still, 173

  Save appearances, to, 92

  Sea-legs, to have one’s, 186

  Secret, an open, 191

  Secret of two, 211

  See stars, to, 59, 111

  Self-praise no recommendation, 152

  Sell like wildfire, 108

  Send about one’s business, 109

  Serves you right, it, 23, 38, 117, 176

  Set a beggar on horseback, 174

  Set a thief to catch a thief, 80

  Set fox to keep geese, 153

  Seven-league boots, 180

  Shakes, no great, 219

  Shanks’ nag, 97

  Sharp as a needle, as, 13

  Sheep, the black, 49

  Shelf, to be put on the, 201

  Shilly-shallying, 65

  Shine at wrong end, to, 217

  Shirk work, never, 74

  Shoe lost for want of nail, 16

  Shoemaker’s wife the worst shod, 65

  Shoe pinches, where the, 32

  Shoot the moon, 71, 153, 227

  Short life and merry, 19, 42

  Short reckonings make long friends, 42

  Shoulder, the cold, 33

  Show the white feather, 53

  Sick and tired of anything, 101

  Silence gives consent, 78, 165

  Silent sow sucks wash, 48

  Silk purse out of sow’s ear, 51

  Silks and satins put out the kitchen fire, 228

  Silver spoon in one’s mouth, 74

  Sin, as ugly as, 182

  Six of one and half-a-dozen of another, 43

  Sixes and sevens, 1, 90

  Skeleton in the cupboard, 79

  Skin a flint, to, 144

  Sleep like a top, to, 100

  Sleep upon it, to, 77

  Slippery as an eel, 16

  Slow and sure wins the race, 12, 65

  Sly dog, 75, 125, 166

  Small parcels, fine wares, 173, 209

  Smart for it, 89

  Smell of the lamp, 143

  Smoke, to end in, 2

  Smoke without fire, no, 132

  Snake in the grass, 17

  So many men, 24

  So much to the good, 194

  Song, to buy for a mere, 3

  Sooner the better, 224

  So-so, 74

  Sowing wild oats, 136

  Sow by wrong ear, 152

  Spade a spade, to call a, 18, 63

  Spare the rod, spoil the child, 10

  Speak ill in absence, 216

  Speak of angels, 152

  Speech silvern, silence golden, 179

  Split difference, to, 190

  Split hairs, 85

  Split sides with laughter, 44

  Spoil ship for ha’porth of tar, 60

  Spoke in wheel, to put, 33

  Sprat to catch a herring, 122, 171

  Stand the racket, 56

  Stake, your life is at, 8, 12

  Stale news, 191

  Stare in the face, to, 87, 171

  Stick no bills, 7, 91

  Stick, to get hold of wrong end of, 16

  Still tongue, wise head, 210

  Still waters run deep, 102

  Sting is in the tail, 199

  Stirrup-cup, 112

  Stitch in time saves nine, 190

  Stolen joys are sweet, 18, 176

  Stone unturned, to leave no, 106

  Store is no sore, 2

  Strain at a gnat, 59

  Strain every nerve, to, 122, 209

  Straw breaks camel’s back, the last, 46

  Straw, not to care a, 15, 171

  Stretch one’s legs, 92

  Strike while iron is hot, 121

  String to bow, more than one, 201, 216

  Struck all of a heap, 121

  Stuck pigs, to look like, 69

  Stuff and nonsense, all, 29, 142

  Style man himself, 142

  Success justifies the means, 124

  Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, 147

  Sunday-best, 107

  Sweep, to make a clean, 217


  T

  Tail between legs, 32

  Take after a person, to, 11

  Take care of the pence, 104

  Take it or leave it, 149, 158

  Take law into own hands, 200

  Take the wall, 181

  Take time by forelock, 30, 67

  Take a wise man to be a fool, 130

  Tale never loses in telling, 152

  Talking to the air, 61

  Tastes differ, 136

  Tell that to the marines, 25

  Tender-handed stroke a nettle, 172

  Tether, to be at end of, 79

  Thames on fire, to set the, 193

  That crowns all, 157

  That’s the way of the world, 156

  There is many a slip, 84

  Thick as thieves, 150

  Things, where are my, 5

  Thorns, to be on, 51

  Those who lose pay, 34

  Threats light as air, 106

  Time is money, 221

  Tip the porter, 158

  Tip-top, 234

  Tit-bit, 45

  Tit for tat, 63

  Tom, Dick, and Harry, 223

  Too many cooks spoil broth, 209

  Too much of a good thing, 146

  Topsy-turvy, 94, 211

  Travellers tell fine tales, 160

  Trespassers will be prosecuted, 92

  Tricks, to be at one’s old, 116

  Truth stranger than fiction, 234

  Truth will out, 147, 230

  Turn in all standing, 81

  Turn over new leaf, 182

  Turn to play, 27

  Two can play at that game, 146

  Two heads better than one, 26

  Two of a trade, 163

  Two’s company, 95


  U

  Up to date, 124

  Up to-day, down to-morrow, 58


  V

  Vengeance, to rain with a, 18

  _Verbum sap._, 26, 108, 165

  Very man, the, 118


  W

  Watched pot never boils, 94

  Water off duck’s back, 89

  Water one’s wine, to, 232

  Weakest go to the wall, 34

  Week of Sundays, 211

  Well begun is half done, 75

  Well, I never! 192

  Wet blanket, 147

  Wet to the skin, 215

  What a to-do, 6

  What cannot be cured, 82

  What is done cannot be undone, 203

  What is one man’s meat, 170

  When at Rome do as Rome does, 152

  When Greeks joined Greeks, 125

  When in doubt, 101

  When thieves fall out, 234

  When world was young, 219

  Where there’s a will, 124, 234

  While there’s life, 219

  Whip-hand, 32, 47

  Whistling woman, 120

  White elephant, 105

  Wholesale and retail, 138

  Whole show, 47

  Who lives longest sees most, 232

  Wild horses would not make him speak, 223

  Wilful waste makes woeful want, 93

  Will is as good as deed, 145, 234

  Willy-nilly, 137

  Wind and weather permitting, 219

  Wishes were horses, if, 212, 215

  Wish is father to thought, 88

  Woman’s instinct, 120

  Word to the wise, a, 26, 108, 209

  Work like a nigger, 198

  Workman blames tools, a bad, 175

  Worst come to worst, 12

  Worst wheel makes most noise, 50

  Worth his weight in gold, 184

  Worth a brass farthing, not, 92

  Wrong end of stick, 16


  Y

  Yellow as a guinea, 145



                             THE END



     Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. Edinburgh & London



DESHUMBERT’S DICTIONARY OF DIFFICULTIES

MET WITH IN READING, WRITING, TRANSLATING, AND SPEAKING FRENCH.

_Seventh Edition (Sixth and Seventh Thousand). Price 2s. 6d._

PRESS NOTICES.


“Admirable.”--=The Westminster Review.=

“We commend it very heartily.... It furnishes, in a convenient
form, explanations of many peculiar difficulties.”--=The Literary
World.=

“A useful idea... This practical little provision appears to be
of universal application.”--=The School Board Chronicle.=

“A useful book.”--=The Educational Times.=

“The real distinctions are very clearly pointed out.”--=The
Schoolmaster.=

“A useful little book.... All that he (the Author) does give is
good and accurate.”--=The Journal of Education.=

“In it are to be found differences and distinctions which
in common French and English dictionaries are mostly not to
be discovered at all.... Is singularly free from errors of
commission ... should fulfil the purpose for which it is
intended.”--=The Daily News.=

“Is an ingeniously written little treatise.... Those who are not
averse from rounding off corners would do well to profit by the
opportunity he (the Author) affords them of accomplishing this
object.”--=The Liverpool Daily Post.=

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work.... Will prove a valuable auxiliary to the library of every
student of French.”--=The Worcester Herald.=

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mistranslations.”--=Literary Intelligencer= (=Tasmania=).

LONDON: DAVID NUTT, 57-59 LONG ACRE



NUTT’S SERIES OF SHORT FRENCH READERS.

Limp Green Cloth. Fcap. 8vo, price 6d. each.

UNDER THE GENERAL EDITORSHIP OF

DE V. PAYEN-PAYNE,

_Principal of Kensington Coaching College, and Author of “French
Idioms and Proverbs.”_


1. ALEXANDRE DUMAS: JACOMO. Edited by F. W. WALTON, M.A.,
Librarian of King’s College, London.

2. ANTOINE GALLAND: SINDBAD LE MARIN. Edited by CHARLES PENNEY,
B.A., Principal of Kensington Coaching College.

3. ALPHONSE DAUDET: CONTES CHOISIS. Edited by W. ROLLESTON, M.A.,
Assistant Master at Repton School.

4. JULES SANDEAU: Episodes from LA ROCHE AUX MOUETTES. Edited by
de V. PAYEN-PAYNE, Principal of Kensington Coaching College, and
General Editor of the Series.

5. ALPHONSE DAUDET: CONTES HISTORIQUES. Edited by W. ROLLESTON,
M.A., Assistant Master at Repton School.

6. ERCKMANN-CHATRIAN: LA PÊCHE MIRACULEUSE, and LE TALION. Edited
by R. H. ALLPRESS, M.A., Assistant Master at the City of London
School.

7. LOUIS GARNERAY: VOYAGES, ADVENTURES ET COMBATS. Edited by A.
W. DENNIS, M.A., Assistant Master at Manchester Grammar School.

=Other Works are in active preparation.=



Transcriber's Notes:


Square brackets and punctuation, apparently missed in printing,
were added. As the material was drawn from many sources, of
many ages, no changes were made to accents, grammar, hyphens or
spelling except:

“Sa faire la barbe” was changed to “Se faire la barbe” on page 31.

“loche” was changed to “cloche” on page 121.

“povery” was changed to “poverty” in the index on page 245.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_), while
text enclosed by equal signs is in bold (=bold=).

^ has been used to indicate a superscript character, while
^{} is used to indicate multiple superscript characters.





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