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French expression of the day: Faire tout un plat de

Feel like people around you tend to exaggerate? Here’s what you will want to tell them.

French expression of the day: Faire tout un plat de

Why do I need to know Faire tout un plat de ?

Make no mistake, this expression has nothing to do with cooking, instead it is used when someone is making a fuss about something.

What does it mean ?

Faire tout un plat de literally means to make a whole dish of, but in reality this expression has nothing to do with food.

Usually the more commonly used phrase is En faire tout un plat and means to make a big deal out of something or make a mountain out of a molehill.

It's closest English equivalent would be 'to make a meal of something'. It is generally used to tell someone he or she is exaggerating about a situation, and you think that person should relax.

Julien est encore rentré tard hier soir – Oh, n’en fais pas tout un plat!

Julien came back late last night, again – Oh, don’t make a fuss out of it!

You’ll usually use that phrase in a casual context when talking to family, friends or colleagues. We don't recommend you use it with your bosses or someone you don't know well as it would sound quite inappropriate. 

It can also be used when someone is disappointed about something.

Tout le monde dit que cet hôtel est superbe, mais franchement il n’y a pas de quoi en faire tout un plat!

Everyone is saying this hotel is amazing, but really there’s no reason to make a huge deal out of it!

This expression also has plenty of synonyms which all mean roughly the same thing Here are some of the most used; 

Pas de quoi fouetter un chat

Faire toute une histoire de,

Faire tout un fromage de,

Faire une montagne de

En faire tout un cake

En faire un pataquès

Nn faire une maladie…

So if anyone says any of these to you, you will know to calm down.

For more French words and phrases, check out our French word of the Day section.

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For members


French Expression of the Day: À poil

Some people prefer to sleep like this during the summer.

French Expression of the Day: À poil

Why do I need to know à poil ?

Because if someone invites you to come to a beach like this and you don’t know the meaning of this expression, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise.

What does it mean?

À poil – roughly pronounced ah pwahl – is an expression that makes use of the French word for an animal’s fur or its coat. A synonym might be fourrure. However, the expression as it has come to be used does not have to do with animals’ coats – it actually means to be naked. 

How a phrase referring to animal’s fur came to signify nakedness goes all the way back to the 17th century and the world of horseback-riding. At the time, one could either ride a horse with a saddle or cover (blanket), or you could ride bareback. The phrase for doing so was monter l’animal à cru (“à cru” meaning ‘bare’ or ‘raw’) which became monter un cheval à poil – to ride the horse with only its fur.

In this case, the horse was seen as naked (lacking its saddle or blanket), and over time the idea of the naked horse transferred over to naked people. 

The phrase is slightly crude – you wouldn’t use it to describe nude artworks – but not offensive, it’s roughly similar to describing someone as “butt naked” or “bollock naked” in English. The more polite way to say this might be “tout nu” (totally naked).

If you are looking for another way to say ‘birthday suit’ in French you could use “en costume d’Adam” (in Adam’s suit – a Biblical reference to the naked inhabitants of the Garden of Eden). 

Use it like this

Je me suis mise pas mal à poil dernièrement, mais ce n’est pas un délire exhibo et, dans la vie, c’est plus compliqué – I’ve been getting naked quite a bit lately, but it’s not an exhibitionist thing, life is more complicated than that. – From an interview about nude scenes with the French actress Virgine Efira.

Je préfère dormir à poil en été. Il fait vraiment trop chaud ! – I prefer sleeping totally naked in the summer. It is really too hot!