The French words you can’t translate literally

The French words you can't translate literally
Can you let me know where I can buy a "throat support"? Bra photo: Shutterstock
The French language has a plethora of words that if you translated literally into English could cause a fair bit of confusion and hilarity for language learners. From "throat support" to "mouth fun", we've picked out some of the best. Let us know of any more.

When trying to translate a word into another language from English, in an act of desperation, we often go for the literal translation if we don't know the real word.

Often it doesn't work. For example, if an American in Paris asked for directions to a "drug store" using "magasin des drogues" they'd either get a stern "Non!" or end up in a shady part of town.

And it works both ways.

A French person may scream in pain after stubbing their "toe finger". 

French contains a vast array of words that just can't be directly translated into English. We've gathered together some of the best for your amusement.

French words you shouldn't translate literally

by Léa Surugue


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