|Proverbe / Proverb||Literal translation||Idiomatic translation / English equivalent||Meaning|
|A bon chat, bon rat.||A good cat deserves a good rat.||To meet one’s match. / Tit for tat||An attacker and an attackee who both grow stronger from finding new ways to outwit each other.|
|Appeler un chat un chat.||To call a cat, a cat.||To call a spade, a spade.||To speak plainly and honestly (even if it may hurt one’s interlocutor sensitivity).|
|Avoir un chat dans la gorge.||To have a cat in the throat.||To have a frog in your throat.||To have a tight feeling in your throat and being unable to speak clearly.|
|Avoir une faim de loup.||Hungry as a wolf.||-||To be really hungry.|
|La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe.||The spit of the toad doesn't reach the white dove.||-||I (i.e “la blanche colombe”) do not care about your (or someone else i.e “le crapaud”) criticism, comment or insult (i.e “la bave).|
|Les chiens ne font pas des chats.||Dogs don't make cats.||The apple does not fall far from the tree.||Offspring grow up to be like their parents.|
|On n’attrape pas les mouches avec du vinaigre.||You don't catch flies with vinegar.||You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.||In order to obtain what you want from people, you have to use appropriate means.|
|C'est la montagne qui accouche d'une souris.||The mountain gave birth to a mouse.||-||Expression used to describe a much anticipated event/project which end-up with no significant results.|
|Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide.||A scalded cat fears cold water.||Once bitten, twice shy.||Someone who had a bad experience will be more (too?) careful the next time in a similar situation.|
|Chien qui aboie ne mord pas.||barking dogs seldom bite.||his bark is bigger than his bite.||Those who make loud threats seldom carry them out.|
|La nuit, tous les chats sont gris.||In the heart of the night (in the dark), all cats are grey.||-||The night (darkness) erase differences between people (due to social status, etc.) or things.|
|Les chiens aboient, la caravane passe.||The dogs bark, the caravan passes by.||-||Let them say what they want, I know what I am doing.|
|Mettre la charrue avant les bœufs .||To put the cart before the ox.||To put the cart before the horse.||1.You should do things in
the righ order.
2.You should not anticipate too much.
|On ne fait pas boire un âne qui n'a pas soif.||One does not make a donkey drink if it isn't thirsty.||You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.||You can force someone stubborn (or stupid) to do what he/she does not want to do (even if its for her/his own good)|
|Petit poisson deviendra grand.||The little fish will grow.||1. Boys will be men one
2. A little can go a long way.
|1. Boys will be men one
2. A little can go a long way.
|Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid.||Little by little the bird builds its nest.||Little strokes fell great oaks .||With patience and perseverance you’ll reach your goal.|
|Prendre le taureau par les cornes.||Take the bull by the horns.||Take the bull by the horns.||You need to take decisive action in order to solve a (big) problem.|
|Revenons à nos moutons.||Let us get back to our sheep.||-||Let's get back to what we were saying/doing.|
|Ce n'est pas aux vieux singes qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces.||You can't teach old monkeys how to make faces.||You can't teach an old dog new tricks.||Don’t teach an expert.|
|Ce n'est pas la vache qui crie le plus fort qui donne le plus de lait.||It is not the cow who shouts the loudest who gives the most milk.||Great talkers are little doers.||Those people who talk a lot and are always teaching others usually do not do much work.|
|Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent.||When the cat's away the mice will dance.||When the cat's away the mice will play.||In the absence of their controller, subordinates will take advantage of circumstances to do as they please.|
|Quand on parle du loup (on en voit la queue).||Speak of the wolf and you’ll see his tail.||Speak of the devil (and he will arrive).||Expression used when you are talking about a person who suddenly pop up.|
|Qui vole un œuf, vole un bœuf .||He that will steal an egg will steal an ox.||He that will steal a pin will steal a pound .||1. No matter how little
the amount, a theft is never justifiable.
2. Small misdeed will lead to bigger misdeed.
|Un cochon n'y retrouverait pas ses petits.||a pig couldn't find it's piglets here.||-||This expression is generally used to describe a very messy place (room, house, etc.).|
|Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps.||One swallow does not make a spring.||One swallow does not make a summer.||Do not draw a conclusion too hastily.|
|Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours (avant de l'avoir tué).||Do not sell the bear skin, before you’ve killed the bear.||Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.||This proverb warns one’s not to make (or act upon) an assumption which could turn out to be wrong.|