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French Expression of the Day: Va te faire cuire un oeuf 

Unfortunately not an invitation to cook yourself a nice morning snack. 

French Expression of the Day: Va te faire cuire un oeuf 
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know va te faire cuire un oeuf?

Because you may want another phrase besides Occupe-toi de tes oignons for the nosy person reading over your shoulder on the Metro.

What does it mean? 

Va te faire cuire un oeuf, pronounced ‘vah tuh fair queer uhn uhf,” literally means to go cook an egg.

However, its true meaning is not found on the breakfast table: it is actually the French equivalent of “mind your own business,” much like occupe-toi de tes oignions.

In some contexts, it can also be used to tell someone to ‘go fly a kite’ or to ‘get lost’ when you want to be left alone. It joins a wide variety of other egg-related French sayings, fitting for the country known worldwide for its cuisine. 

Where did the phrase come from? Though no longer confined to the kitchen, the phrase is thought to have originated there. Historically, the kitchen was considered to be the wife’s domain. So, when her husband came in to criticise her cooking, she might advise him to cook an egg, reminding him that he could not cook and thus should keep his criticisms to himself.

Use it like this

Il n’arrêtait pas de regarder mes réponses au test, alors je lui ai dit d’aller faire cuire un œuf. – He kept looking at my answers on the test, so I told him to mind his own business
Ils faisaient des commentaires énervants sur ma cuisine alors je leur ai dit “allez faire cuire un œuf”. – They made annoying comments about my cooking so I told them to get lost

Other egg related expressions

Chauve comme un oeuf – bald like an egg

Marcher sur les oeufs – walk on eggshells

Tuer dans l’œuf – to nip something in the bud

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Chercher midi à quatorze heures

This expression doesn't actually have much to do with lunchtime.

French Expression of the Day: Chercher midi à quatorze heures

Why do I need to know chercher midi à quatorze heures?

Because when someone makes what should take fifteen minutes into an hour-long effort, you might want an appropriate phase.

What does it mean?

Chercher midi à quatorze heures – usually pronounced share-shay-mid-ee-ah-cat-orz-ur – literally means “to look for noon at 2 pm.” When taken literally, the expression does not make much sense. However, in practice, it means “to make a simple thing overly complicated.” It is basically the French equivalent of “don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.”

The expression is quite old, but it is still in use…though it might be more common to find it spoken in the countryside rather than on Twitter.

It was first used as early as the 16th century – the version then was “to look for noon at eleven.” As time went on, it changed to reflect its current form in the 17th century. 

As noon is an important marker for the middle of the day, particularly as l’heure de déjeuner (lunch time), the expression makes fun of making something overly difficult. 

You’ll most likely hear this in the negative command form – as it is something you should probably avoid doing.

Use it like this

Pourquoi avoir pris la route la plus longue pour aller au supermarché ? Ne cherchez pas midi à quatorze heures. – Why take the longest route to get to the supermarket? Don’t overcomplicate things.

Tu n’as pas besoin d’essayer toutes les lettres de l’alphabet pour trouver le Wordle. C’est mieux de penser à des mots simples. Ne cherche pas midi à quatorze heures. – You don’t need to try every letter in the alphabet to get the Wordle. Just think of simple words. Don’t over complicate it.