Do you know these 21 French proverbs and sayings?

Do you know these 21 French proverbs and sayings?

Expand your vocabulary and take your French language skills to the next level by mastering these proverbs and sayings. Some are more obvious than others!

1. Aux grands maux, les grands remèdes

Literal translation: To the great evils great remedies

Desperate times call for desperate measures

2. Il faut se méfier de l’eau qui dort

Literal translation: Be careful of sleeping waters

Still waters run deep, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch

3. Les bons comptes font les bons amis

Literal translation: Good accounts make good friends

Short reckonings make long friends / Neither a borrower nor a lender be

4. La nuit porte conseil

Literal translation: The night brings advice

Things always look better in the morning

5. Chacun voit midi à sa porte

Literal translation: Everyone sees noon at their door

To each their own

6. Qui vole un oeuf vole un boeuf

Literal translation: He who steals an egg steals an ox

Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile

7. En parlant du loup, on en voit la queue

Literal translation: Speaking of the wolf you see the tail

Speak of the devil

8. Qui trop embrasse mal étreint

Literal translation: He who kisses too much is badly hugged

Jack of all trades, master of none

9. C’est l’arbre qui cache le fôret

Literal translation: It’s the tree that hides the forest

You can’t see the wood for the trees

10. Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait

Literal translation: Immediately said, immediately done

No sooner said than done

11. Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l’auras

Literal translation: One that you hold is better than two you will have

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush


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12. Qui ne risque rien n’a rien

Literal translation: He who risks nothing has nothing

Nothing ventured nothing gained

13. Qui veut la fin veut les moyens

Literal translation: He who wants the end wants the means

The end justifies the means

14. Comme on fait son lit, on se couche

Literal translation: How one makes one’s bed, one spends the night

You’ve made your bed, now you must lie in it

15. Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop

Literal translation: Hunt the natural, it comes back at a gallop

A leopard doesn’t change its spots

16. Battre le fer pendant qu’il est chaud

Literal translation: To hit the iron while it is hot

Strike while the iron is hot

17. Il n’y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d’avis

Literal translation: There are only fools who don’t change their opinion

A wise man changes him mind sometimes, a fool never

18. Les petits ruisseaux font les grands rivières

Literal translation: Little streams make big rivers

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

19. Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point

Literal translation: There’s no point in running, you have to leave on time

Slow and steady wins the race

20. Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés

Literal translation: Shoemakers are always the worst shod

The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot

21. Deux patrons font chavirer le barque

Literal translation: Two bosses capsize the boat

Too many cooks spoil the broth

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