Five French ways to say you are angry

It’s Monday but hopefully you don’t have mustard in your nose (avoir la moutarde qui monte au nez)… a French expression which means to see red, to be on the verge of losing your temper. Here we look at this and four other ways to say you are annoyed or angry in French. Please share others you may know…

1/ Pomper l’air de quelqu’un (literally to pump someone’s air)

Il m’a pompé l’air” is often used to say someone has annoyed you. Some suggest it originated from the fact that firefighters used to have air pumps to try to stop fire spreading but they could actually make the fire stronger as they released air.

2/ Courir sur le haricot (to run on the bean)

This means to get on someone’s nerves. This is a mix of different sayings and appeared in the 19th century. At the time ‘courir quelqu’un’ meant to annoy somebody. Haricot then referred to a toe and the verb ‘haricoter’ meant to be petty.

3/ Avoir la moutarde qui monte au nez (to have mustard going up your nose)

This is used when someone is about to lose his or her temper. The expression comes from the 17th century and refers to how someone might react when eating a spoon of mustard.

4/ Se mettre en boule ou en pétard (to roll yourself into a ball or a firework)

Colloquial expressions which appeared in the 20th century and mean to get angry.

5/ Prendre la mouche (to take the fly)

This can have two meanings: to get mad / angry or to get offended for no reason. In the 16th century, a fly was used to refer to a problem or negative thought which suddenly appeared.

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