Idiomatic phrases for French Leaving Cert

Idiomatic phrases are fluent phrases that often can’t be literally translated to English. Using these in your Leaving Cert written and oral work will enhance your work as it increases fluency and language skills. Don’t overuse them however- but be sure to use one whenever suitable. Here are a few to learn and use:


Boire comme un trou: To drink like a fish

Avoir une faim de loup : To be starving

Avoir le front : To have the courage

Avoir les dents longues: To be ambitious

Passer une nuit blanche: To have a sleepless night

Il est monté sur son grand cheval: He got up on her high horse

Garder la tête froide: To keep one’s cool

Brûler la mèche de deux cotés: To burn the candle at both ends

Avoir la puce à l’oreille: To have doubts

Être au sommet de son art: To be on top of one’s game

Être dans le pétrin: To be in trouble/ a mess

Avoir du pain sur la planche: To have a lot on your plate

Un clou chasse l’autre: Life goes on

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