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Idiomatic expressions and slang

edited January 2013 in French
Ni vu ni connu, j't'embrouille. ("you didn't see me, you didn't know me, I fool(ed) you") 

(lit. "not seen, not known, I muddle you up/confuse you")' used when someone just played a trick or did a mischief.


  • Also translated into English as "na, na na, na na!" Of course with the right intonation.

    I like that one a lot. My favorite was always: Encore une comme ça, et je me colle au plafond! Do people still say that? Or is it yet another example of my early nineties fossilized French?
  • Thank you Chris for this comment. And indeed, intonation (in all languages) adds many subtle layers to meanings...

    Encore une comme ça, et j'me colle au plafond!  Très drôle :)
    I think it may indeed be one of those expressions that people used to say in recent past. Like in english, they get recycled so fast!
  • Ni vu ni connu, j't'embrouille.  ---> Ce sens comme quelquechose je dois dire a toutes mes ex-petits amies.  Mais je dois changer la derniere parte de la phrase a: tu m'embrouille!!!!!  

  • Attends: pourquoi est-ce que c'est: I fooled YOU.  Why not you fooled ME?  Or is it just idiomatic comme ca?

  • Roe, I realize my explanation may not have been clear enough.

    "J't'embrouille" = "Je t'embrouille" (meaning J'embrouille 'toi'), which translates literally into "I tangle/mix/confuse you" (I'm fooling you). Think of "oeufs brouillés" (scrambled eggs) !

    Essentially, imagine for instance you are a (petty) criminal, and you just performed a deed where no one saw you or your trick, as in a perfect crime. You later boast your action to some people, proud of your cunning, and say: "je leur ai joué un bon tour, ni vu, ni connu, j' t'embrouille!" (I played them a cool trick, no one saw or knew anything, I fool(ed) you)

    It works really only as a first person, so sorry, you couldn't use this for your ex's :)

    Hope this helps :)
  • Sev
    edited February 2013
    There is a somewhat fancy expression in French which nevertheless has a beautiful ring to it:

    c'est le nec plus ultra (it's the ultimate)

    It's a locution (figure of speech) from Latin which signifies 'nothing further beyond', and a motto associated with the Pillars of Hercules marking the edge of the world.

    - "c'est le nec plus ultra en matière de technologie."(It's the ultimate when it comes to technology.) 
    - "c'est le nec plus ultra de l'art."(It's the ultimate in art.)

    (More French examples here)
  • Sev
    edited February 2013
    Casser les pieds à quelqu'un (to annoy someone; lit. to break someone's feet) is a very common expression in France. 

    Example: "Tu commences vraiment à me casser les pieds!" (You're really starting to annoy me!)

    A variant: Taper sur les nerfs de quelqu'un (to get on someone's nerves' lit. to hit on someone's nerves).

    Example: "Elle me tape sur les nerfs avec ses histoires de fric!" (She's getting on my nerves with her problems with money (slang))
  • 'tenir le coup' (can be used with 'avec'): to withstand, to manage

    Example: "Tu tiens le coup avec tous ces problèmes?" (You manage with all these problems?)
  • 'Cela va sans dire' (it goes without saying)

    Also with a similar meaning: 'Cela va de soi' (lit. This goes by itself)

  • Sev
    edited March 2013
    A beautiful word in my opinion:

    'à l'instar de' (following the example of, after the fashion of)

    Pronunciation: ah l' uh(n)-stahr

    It comes from the latin 'ad instar' (In the likeness of). 

  • Some colloquial words you will hear in France or with French people:

    - un mec (a guy). Can also be used to talk about a boyfriend ('son mec')

    - une nana (a chick). Same as above, but for a girlfriend.

  • Want to be as French as can be? Try some of these idiomatic expressions.
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