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French are yellow with envy, green with fear

Next time you make someone envious, take a look at the colour they turn.

English-speakers will be green but, if they are French, you may see their face turn yellow as they are jaune de jalousie (although they may also turn vert de jalousie).

Anger a French person and they will turn green with rage (vert de rage) or perhaps bleu de colère, whereas in English red or purple would be more common.

Scare a French person and they will have une peur bleue, although you might also hear the term vert de peur. Green complexion can clearly have more than one meaning.

Colours frequently make an appearance in French expressions but the colours are not always the same as their English equivalents.

If your UK bank balance is positive, you are in the black. If your French bank also has a positive balance, you are dans le vert (in the green).

A busy bus or shopping street is noir de monde in French – swarming with people. And the cashier who gives you a surly or grumpy reception at Carrefour has a grise mine.

An inexperienced novice or beginner in French is a blanc bec – in English you might call them a greenhorn.

And for an authentic French dining experience, ask for your steak undercooked (bleu) – although cut it open and it should be more of a purpley-red than blue, all being well.


February expression

FOLK memories mean many sayings predict the weather: Crapaud qui chante en février a l’hiver derrière lui – if you hear a toad croaking winter is over. Toads seem to foretell good weather: Crapaud qui chante, soleil promet – Calling toads, sunshine is coming

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