12 French fruity expressions to use

There are lots of quirky expressions using fruits in French. Among our favourites are ‘haut comme trois pommes’ – as tall as three apples, meaning someone is short. Here are 12 fruity French expressions which are often used.

7 June 2019
By Selma Daddi

1/ Tomber dans les pommes (literally to fall in the apples)

This means to faint. Some claim that it comes from writer George Sand who used the expression être dans les pommes cuites (literally to be in cooked apples) to explain that she was extremely tired.

2/ Être mi-figue mi-raisin (to be half-fig half-grape)

It means that something is good and bad. It is used to show a contradictory feeling.

3/ Bonne poire (good pear)

This is said of someone who is naive and too kind. The expression comes from the fact that pears usually fall by themselves from the tree once matured – comparing it to how someone can easily fall in a trap.

4/ Avoir la pêche (to have the peach)

This mean to be in a good mood and have a lot of energy. Its origins are unknown but it has been linked to the fact that peaches are a symbol of immortality and health in Chinese culture.

5/ Se fendre la poire (to split one's pear)

This means to laugh hard. This dates back when the caricaturist Charles Philipon drew the King Louis Philippe as a pear head. Since that pears often refer to heads and when you laugh your face seems split by your smile.

6/ Sucrer les fraises (to put sugar on the strawberries)

This means to shake nervously and is sometimes used in reference to elderly people with trembling movements. The person trembling is compared to the way you shake your hand when you put sugar on strawberries.

7/ Haut comme trois pommes (tall like three apples)

This means to be short.

8/ Couper la poire en deux (to cut the pear in two)

This means to make a compromise.

9/ Ramener sa fraise (to bring one’s strawberry)

This means to interfere in a situation while nobody asked for your opinion. Fraise refers to the face of someone. It can also be used to say someone showed up unexpectedly.

10/ Compter pour des prunes (to count for plums)

This means to not matter, to not be important. It dates from the 16th century when plums were considered to have no value.

11/ Avoir la banane (to have the banana)

This means to be happy; in a good mood. Banana refers to the smile on someone's face.

12/ Avoir le melon (to have the melon)

This means to have a big ego. The melon refers to the head. Prendre le melon is also used, meaning someone is becoming big-headed.

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