God in French is Dieu. There are many French God expressions and idioms: I’ll translate them and also explain some cultural points about their use in France.
French has many expressions with the word god, however, they are not used with the intention of praising the Lord, but rather as sayings, idioms.
These French God expressions may be used by a non-believer as well as people who do believe in God. In France, believers in God would not be offended by the use of the word God in this context.
How do You Say God in French?
God in French is dieu. It’s a masculine noun, the plural form is les dieux, x silent.
The word god in French can be spelled with an uppercase or lowercase D, depending whether it refers to any god, or the God of the Christians, which most of these expressions refer to, France being traditionally a Catholic country.
Common synonyms for God in French are :
- le Seigneur (Lord),
- le Père (Father),
- le Créateur (Creator).
Une divinité is a divinity.
How do You Address God in French: Tu or Vous?
The French used to use “vous” to talk to God, but it has switched to “tu”, as you would now normally talk to your father. Some people still use “vous” as a form of respect, but the standard in the prayers is “tu”.
I will now list the most common French expressions using the word God in French.
1 – Oh my God in French = Mon Dieu !
This expression is used to express surprise, a shock, just as it is in English.
- J’ai une mauvaise nouvelle à t’apprendre : je suis malade.
I have bad news for your: I’m sick.
- Oh mon Dieu ! Tu es sûre ?
Oh my God! Are you sure?
2 – Thank God in French = Dieu Merci
We use that one as well.
- J’ai un cancer. Mais c’est juste le début et les médecins sont confiants.
I have cancer. But it’s only the beginning and doctors are confident.
- Dieu merci : est-ce que tu souffres ?
Thank God: are you in pain?
3 – Grâce à Dieu = Another Way of Saying Thank God in French
- Grâce à Dieu, ce n’est pas trop grave.
Thank God, it’s not too serious.
4 – Dieu Soit loué = Praise the Lord in French
Let me insist that in common French language, this expression is no longer an invitation to actually praise the Lord, but an expression of relief, much more like “Thank God” or “Thank goodness” in English.
However, if you actually wanted to give praise to God, you could say “Dieu soit loué” or more likely “Rendons grâce à Dieu” or “Louons le Seigneur”… I invite you to visit my French Mass Prayer Recordings to find more French vocabulary for God, prayers etc…
- Il y a eu un gros accident sur l’autoroute, mais Dieu soit loué, il n’y a pas de blessés graves.
There has been a large accident on the highway, but thank goodness, there were no serious injuries.
5 – Si Dieu le Veut = God Willing
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This means you have everything happens the way you want. It’s no longer very used in French.
- Dans 5 heures, si Dieu le veut, on sera arrivés à Paris.
In 5 hours, God willing, we’ll be in Paris.
I will now talk about idioms using the word God in French.
6 – Nom de Dieu = God! As a Swear Word
Here also, French and English are almost the same.
Believers would frown upon the name of God being used in vain. So, by some twisted way, God became a swear word. In French, we won’t just swear “God” but “Name of God” = “Nom de Dieu”.
It’s quite common and there are much worse swear terms nowadays…
- Nom de Dieu ! Si j’attrape celui qui a écrit ça sur mon mur, je, je… je ne sais pas ce que je ferai !
God! If I catch the one who wrote this on my wall, I’ll, I’ll… I don’t know what I’ll do!
Note that strangely, Jésus never made it as a swear word in France. Go figure. More French expressions with Jésus.
7 – Une Bête à Bon Dieu = a Lady Bug
A ladybug’s common French name is “une coccinelle”, but we also sometimes call it “une bête à bon Dieu” (a beast of the good Lord).
- Ce matin, j’ai vu une bête à bon Dieu sur la fenêtre.
This morning, I saw a ladybug on the window.
8 – Les Voies de Dieu sont Impénétrables = God Works in Mysterious Ways
French and English share this idiom. It means that you cannot always explain everything.
- Pourquoi les poules n’ont-elles pas de dent ? Les voies de Dieu sont impénétrables.
Why do chickens have no teeth? God works in mysterious ways
9 – Mieux Vaut Avoir Affaire à Dieu qu’à Ses Saints = Better Dealing With God Than With His Saints
This French idiom means that it’s better to go directly to the chief.
- La vendeuse ne comprenait rien alors j’ai demandé à parler au directeur du magasin. Mieux vaut avoir affaire à Dieu qu’à ses saints.
The salesperson didn’t understand anything, so I asked to talk to the store manager. Better dealing with God than with his saints.
10 – Du Feu de Dieu
This expression means great, fantastique.
- J’ai fait réparer ma voiture, et maintenant elle marche du feu de Dieu.
I had my car repaired and now it works great.
11 – Etre Beau Comme un Dieu = to be as Handsome as a God
- J’ai enfin rencontrer le nouveau petit-copain d’Alice: il s’appelle Jérôme et il est beau comme un dieu !
I at last met Alice’s new boyfriend. His name is Jérôme and he is quite a looker.
12 – Donner le Bon Dieu Sans Confession = Trust Someone Because he Looks Innocent
This idiom translates literally as “to give God without any confession” – so, so innocent that they can go to God without any need to confess for their sins, because they have none.
- Moi, je pense Jérôme est une vraie canaille. Mais avec ses yeux d’ange, on lui donnerait le bon Dieu sans confession.
I think that Jérôme is a scoundrel. But with his angel eyes, he looks so innocent.
13 – Il ne Faut pas Prendre les Enfants du Bon Dieu Pour des Canards Sauvages
The weirdest of all if you ask me, the origins of this idiom are unknown. But it’s the title of a movie and is used. Literally, it means “don’t take God’s children for wild ducks”. It means you shouldn’t judge people hastily, they may be trustworthy.
- Tu ne connais pas bien Jérôme, alors qu’est-ce que tu en sais ? Il ne faut pas prendre les enfants du bon Dieu pour des canards sauvages.
You don’t know Jérôme well, so what do you know? Don’t judge people before you know them.
Far for me to proselytize, but some of you may be interested in my recordings of the French Mass in French, or my easy bilingual learn French in context story about Christmas and how it is celebrate in France today.
If you enjoy learning French in context, check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation.