What does it mean to ‘tell salads’ in French?

There are some interesting ways in French to speak about lying. The English equivalents of ‘telling a porkie or a fib’. Here are five expressions which are well used in French to say the same.

1/ Raconter des salades (literally to tell salads)

If someone raconte des salades, it means he/she is lying. The expression comes from the 19th century and compares the lies to a salad where we put different ingredients that go well together and are pleasant to taste.  

2/ Raconter des craques (to tell lies)

Craque is another way to say lie. Il m’a raconté des craques means he told me lies… The expression comes from the 19th century and the word craque (une craque) originates from the verb craquer (to crack).

3/ Un bobard (a lie)

This is a colloquial word to say a lie. The English equivalent would be a fib. You can also say il m’a raconté des bobards, as in the two previous expressions. In old French, bober meant to mislead.

4/ Broder (literally to embroider)

This means to invent and embellish a story. Be careful, though, as it can also be used in its literal sense.

5/ Mentir comme un arracheur de dents (to lie like a tooth puller)

This expression comes from the 17th century, when dentists used to offer their services on public spaces, and claimed that patients would not suffer. It is now used to speak about someone who lies a lot.

One last expression which is related to lying, but means to fool someone is rouler quelqu’un dans la farine (literally to roll someone in the flour). The expression comes from the 19th century and is said to be an association of the expression se faire rouler (to be taken in for a ride) and farine (flour) which used to refer to fake promises or arguments.

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