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FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY

French expression of the day: Se faire des couilles en or

In France, you wouldn't say no to getting 'golden balls' (and not the ones you use to decorate your Christmas tree).

French expression of the day: Se faire des couilles en or
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know se faire des couilles en or?

Because, if someone tells you they have this, you might want to keep them as a friend.

What does it mean?

Se faire des couilles en or means 'to make oneself balls of gold'.

Couilles is colloquial French for testicules (testicles), and the full expression colloquial too.

It means 'becoming filthy rich', 'making oneself a fortune' or 'earning a lot of money'.

Exactly when and why 'golden balls' became the ultimate symbol of wealth in France is not known, but this is not the only French expression that uses the male genitalia to make a point.

You might know avoir des couilles (to have balls), which means the same in French as in English, to be 'ballsy', 'brave' or 'bold'.

READ ALSO: French language finally about to embrace its feminine side

Use it like this

Avant le Covid, il se faisait des couilles en or avec sa crêpérie. Maintenant ce n'est plus le cas. – Before Covid, he earned tons of money at his crêpes restaurant. That's not the case anymore.

Quand tu parles chinois en France, je peux te dire qu'il y a moyen se faire des couilles en or. – When you speak Mandarin in France, there are ways to make a fortune, that much I can tell you.

Tu imagines si on avait investi en Bitcoin dès que c'est sorti ? On aurait des couilles en or aujourd'hui ! – Can you imagine if we'd invested in Bitcoin as soon at it was launched? We'd be loaded today!

Synonyms

Etre blindé des thunes – slang for 'to be filthy rich'

Un richard (pejorative) – a nob, toff or someone very posh

Gauche caviar – rich leftie with socialist values (not the same but it's worth knowing)

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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).

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