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French expression of the day: Jetez un œil

You will probably be invited to do this at one time or another if you spend time in France, so best figure out what it involves (which is not chucking body parts around).

French expression of the day: Jetez un œil
Why do I need to know jetez un œil?
It's a fairly common phrase, particularly in the world of work in France.
What does it mean?
Its literal translation is 'throw an eye' but fortunately it doesn't involve flinging any body parts around. If somebody invites you to do this they're asking you to take a look at something, have a glance or maybe cast your eye over something.
You might also hear people saying Jetez un coup d'œil, which also means to look at but sometimes has an additional sense of a fast glance or even a sneaky glance, roughly equivalent to 'take a peek at'.
So you might hear people telling you to Jetez un œil sur le site internet pour plus d'information – Take a look at the website for more information.
Or a Paris estate agent might tell you (as he's showing you a glorified cupboard) Jetez un œil à l'intérieur : tout est rangé, tout est à sa place. c'est le résultat d'un aménagement intérieur bien pensé – Take a look inside: everything is tidy and in its place thanks to the well thought-out interior.
It's particularly common in the workplace, where your colleagues might ask you to Jetez un coup d'œil à ces comptes s'il vous plaît – Take a quick glance at these accounts, please.
And you will also see it in promotional emails or adverts, inviting you to Jetez un œil à nos dernières collections – Take a look at our latest collections. 
For more French words and phrases, check out our French world of the Day section.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Avoir l’estomac dans les talons

A sensation you might feel around midi after skipping your morning croissant.

French Expression of the Day: Avoir l'estomac dans les talons

Why do I need to know avoir l’estomac dans les talons?

Because you might want to inform your friend waiting in the long restaurant line with you about just how hungry you actually are.

What does it mean?

Avoir l’estomac dans les talons usually pronounced ah-vwar leh-sto-mack dahn lay tah-lonn – literally means to have the stomach in the heels, but it really just means that you are extremely hungry. A British-English equivalent might be ‘my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut’.

As with saying ‘I’m starving’ you wouldn’t use this to talk about people who are genuinely at risk of starvation, it’s just a phrase to complain about being hungry and wanting something to eat.

The expression probably originated around the end of the 19th century, and there are a couple of different ideas about how it came to be.

The first is that it’s intended to paint a picture of your stomach narrowing so much that it goes all the way down to your heels. The second idea proposes that since ‘les talons’ (heels) is a homonym with ‘l’étalon’ (stallion), the phrase might actually be referring to horse meat. You might be so hungry that the only thing that could possibly satiate your empty stomach is a hearty portion of horse meat.

Finally, there’s simply the idea that a person walking a long distance would have severe pain in his heels (or feet), and his hunger is so intense that it is as bad as the pain from walking a long distance.

Regardless of where it comes from, this expression is a sure-fire way to communicate your need for nourishment (or perhaps a nice helping of horse).

 Use it like this

Je ne peux pas attendre plus longtemps dans cette longue file, j’ai l’estomac dans les talons. – I cannot wait in this long line much longer, I’m starving.

Je n’ai pas mangé le déjeuner hier et à 17h, j’avais l’estomac dans les talons. Tout le monde dans le bureau pouvait entendre mon estomac faire du bruit ! – I skipped lunch yesterday and by 5pm I was starving! Everyone in the office could hear my stomach making noise.