This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.
So you don’t really understand classic French expressions? Not to worry, My French Life are here to dissect and help you understand the expressions anchored in the language of Molière.
Have fun discovering just how beautiful the French language is to speak and listen to. Get to know the richness of French vocabulary with its food-inspired expressions. You’ll be surprised to find that we don’t only find them in La Fontaine fables. Master these anecdotal sayings, their meanings and their origins so you can impress all your friends with your wisdom at dinner parties.
Avoir la frite (literally ‘to have a chip/ French fry’)
Surely you’re wondering why the chip, originally Belgian, appears in a French expression. The origin remains vague. Popularised after 1965, ‘avoir la frite’ or ‘avoir la patate’ comes from a family of actors who used this expression as a slang term to describe an individual in good health, energetic and full of life.
At the start of the 20th century, the potato was compared to the head due to its round shape. That’s why something that has a ‘sacrée patate’ (literally ‘blessed potato’) is in excellent form. Then, in the 70s, the influence of the chip spread the current form into common usage.
Equivalent English expression: ‘To be full of beans’.
Translation by Robyn Jurgens.
Illustration by Coralie L’Enfant