SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the day: Avoir la trouille

Here's an expression for after the horror movies or - if you're freaked out by French bureaucracy - before making your tax deadline tonight.

French expression of the day: Avoir la trouille
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know avoir la trouille?

Because French has several different words for 'fear', and this one is stepping it up to next level.

What does it mean?

Avoir la trouille translates to 'to have the funk', which is really what the French say when they mean 'being terrified'.

In France, feelings – like hunger, thirst, coldness, etc.-  is often something you 'have' rather than 'are'.

If you know the expression avoir peur (having fear), avoir la trouille is basically the same thing, just further out on the scale of terror.

French online dictionary l'Internaute defines the expression as an “intense and uncontrolled terror that captures the attention as a whole.”

J'ai la trouille ! – I'm scared to death!

It's quite colloquial and a better way to say that you are 'more than scared' in a formal setting would probably be effrayé (horrified).

Use it like this

J'ai la trouille rien qu'à la pensée de faire mes impôts. – I'm freaking out just at the thought of doing my taxes tonight.

Ce film était horrible, ça m'a foutu la trouille – That film was awful, I was scared stiff.

Tu m'as fichu une de ces trouilles en criant ! – You scared me to death when screaming! 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 

Alternatives

You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).

SHOW COMMENTS