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MACMILLAN'S

SELECTION OF FRENCH IDIOMS

COMPILED BY

MME. PH. PLAN

WITH A PREFACE BY

F. F. ROGET

LECTURER ON THE FRENCE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE AND ON ROMANOB

PHILOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS

London
MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED

NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

All rights reserved

are :

This collection of French idioms does not require a lengthy introduction to the student of the French language.

It was prepared, at my request, for the use of candidates for the L.L.A. title of the University of St. Andrews. Its principal features

1. That it contains only such idioms as belong to the spoken language, and as are current in literature, to the exclusion of really obsolete phrases and of slang properly so called.

2. The corresponding idiom in English is not given, the meaning of the French phrase being explained, instead, by a synonymous French phrase. This is supported, as the case may be, by an apt quotation, a note on the origin of the idiom, a phrase of a less idiomatic form, or by a circumlocution.

Thus this book is not for beginners who are ignorant of the rudiments of the language, or unacquainted with its ordinary grammatical processes. In this little volume the omission of the English corresponding idiom is deliberate, the purpose being to prevent the learning of idioms by rote, to reserve some occupation for the teacher and for the mind of the learner, and to accumulate in the head of the latter & quantity of synonymous expressions mutually defining each other, and leading the student to the point of speaking, reading, and writing with greater ease.

By this method, it is expected that the student will in every way fare better than if the English idioms, as is usually done, were arranged in columns opposite the French ones. Compilers who are content to do this are like a grocer exhibiting cases of oranges and apples side by side, and who should say, of the former : “These are the apples of Sevilla," and of the latter: Those are the oranges of Normandy.

The knowledge of a French idiom, like that of any other, must be gathered from the stock whence it grew: it has to be compared with, and distinguished from, other French idioms, or synonymic terms, or ordinary non-idiomatic phrases. It has to be traced back to its French origin and shown in its French associations. What does an inexperienced student know about Il n'y a que le premier pas qui coûte when he reads in the opposite column: “In for a penny, in for a pound ?” The mental images evoked do not correspond. The meaning of neither phrase covers the meaning of the other. Their respective applications are the outcome of different associations.

Of course, in this little volume, no attempt is made at finality and completeness. Considerations of the practical order, such as price, size, and utility forbid. But it claims to be on the right lines. It contains as much as may be needed by boys and girls preparing for examination, and by private students who are not expert French scholars.

F. F. ROGET.

Educational Times—"Mme. Plan has performed her task conscientiously and well, and has produced a work of real value."

School Guardian—"Must prove of great service to all students of French. It is practically exhaustive, and its value is increased by giving the explanations of the idioms in French."

224

CHOIX DE GALLICISMES

Tête (suite).
En faire à sa tête.

Agir d'après sa propre

volonté sans

écouter les conseils. Perdre la tête.

Voir perdre. Avoir de la tête.

Etre intelligent; avoir l'esprit d'or

ganisation. Avoir la tête chaude.

Se fâcher facilement.
Ex. “Ma femme bien souvent a la tête un peu chaude."

(Molière, Les Femmes savantes.) Avoir la tête dure.

Avoir peu d'intelligence. Tenir la tête.

Occuper la première place. Tenir tête.

Résister. Ex. “Mais ce jeune homme connaissait trop le prince pour lui

tenir tête en ce moment.” (Bourget.)
Faire tête (à quelqu'un). Lui résister ouvertement.
Etre à la tête de.

Etre celui qui dirige.
Se jeter à la tête de quelqu'un. } Voir jeter.
Jeter à la tête.
Crier à tue-tête.

Voir tuer.
Se faire une tête.

Se donner une expression, une

apparence voulue. Ex. “C'est le public qui fait la tête des gens plus qu'ils ne se la

font eux-mêmes.” (Th. Gautier.) Faire sa tête,

Prendre de grands airs. Faire une tête.

Avoir l'air confus ou mécontent. Une tête de linotte.

Voir linotte.
Théâtre.

Coup de théâtre.
Tiers.
Le tiers et le quart.

Les premiers venus ; les uns et les

autres. Ex. “S'il me faut essuyer les objections du tiers et du quart, il

n'y a pas moyen de rien faire." Timbre.

Avoir le timbre fêlé.
Etre timbré.

Avoir l'esprit dérangé.
Avoir le timbre brouillé.

(Le timbre est une oloche sans battant frappée en dehors par un marteau ; quand la cloche est félée, le son devient faux.) Ex. “Et je lui crois, pour moi, le timbre un peu fêlé."

(Molière, Les Femmes savantes.)

« Il a si bien veillé
Et si bien fait qu'on dit que son timbre est brouillé."

(Racine, Les Plaideurs.) “Le brave homme est un peu timbré, c'est le malheur et le

chagrin.” (Mérimée.)

Voir coup.

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