The French language is full of idioms. Some are easy to understand, or translate the same way as in English, others can be quite obscure. Here are nine very common expressions used in French to say to feel great, to be full of energy.
1 – Être Bien Dans Sa Peau 🧴
To be good in your skin.
This French expression is not too difficult to understand: if you feel good in your skin, well, you just feel good!
2 – Avoir la patate, Avoir la frite 🍟
To have the potato / to have the French fry
Both French expressions have to do with the shape of the vegetable.
A potato looks like a head, and therefore, if you have a good head, you feel good…
Then you make French fries with potatoes… I know, it’s a bit discombobulated.
Note, we don’t say “avoir la pomme-de-terre”, only “avoir la patate/la frite”… I don’t know why!
3 – Avoir la pêche 🍑
To have the peach
The origines of this French expression are not really known: some say it has to do with the shape of a head, others that it comes all the way from China were the peach is symbol of good health… I even saw blogs saying that the three expressions above have to do with boxing terms.
I’m not sure, but all I can tell you is that they are all common idioms in French.
Note that we also often say “j’ai une pêche d’enfer” – ‘I have a peach from hell’ – meaning that you are feeling particularly great.
4 – Avoir la Banane 🍌
To have the banana
Yet another weird French fruit expression. This one has to do with the smile, shaped like a banana.
5 – (Ne pas) Être Dans Son Assiette 🍽
To (not) be in one’s plate (or seat)
This French expression is mostly used in the negative, to say you don’t feel great.
It has to do with horseback riding, and nothing to do with “une assiette”: a plate in French.
“L’assiette” in horseback riding means your “seat”, how balanced you are sitting on your horse. So, when “vous n’êtes pas dans votre assiette”, it means you are off balance. Hence you cannot feel great!
6 – Avoir Mangé du Cheval 🐴
To have eaten some horse
It’s an old belief that eating some kind of living-being will give your its attributes. Since a horse is strong, you’d get the life force of a horse it you were to eat it and then feel great.
7 – Avoir mangé du lion 🦁
To have eaten some lion
Same idea as above. You’d be strong as a lion.
8 – Péter le feu 🔥
To explode with fire
Here again, there is a misconception about this French idiom: people often translates “péter” vulgarly as “to fart”.
This French idiom is not about farting fire! Although this is a fun image!
“Péter le feu” means exploding with fire, meaning to be full of energy.
9 – Être en (pleine) forme 🧍🏻♀️
To be in full shape
This French expression is probably the most common way to say to feel great in French, and it was weird to me at first when my English speaking students didn’t get it, because it is so frequently used in French.
“Être en pleine forme” has little to do with the external shape of your body, but more with your health, and your level of energy.
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