10 French phrases using péter in contexts you may not expect

From expressing anger to calmness - to breaking wind - péter changes meaning depending on context

Faire péter le chrono means to smash a record
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Péter is one of those French words that has an array of meanings depending on the context in which it is used.

It can mean to break wind, to pop, to burst or to break, however there are many everyday phrases using péter which the meaning is not obvious.

You should note that when conjugating péter in the present tense, the acute accent on the é changes to a grave accent (è) in the je/tu/il/elle/on/ils/elles forms. However, it remains an acute accent in nous and vous forms.

Péter un cable - to be really annoyed/lose your temper

You might hear this phrase if you have really wound someone up - it is a very familiar way to say to go berserk or to lose your temper.

Péter les plombs and péter une durite also portray the same sense of losing your cool and flipping out. Plomb means fuse in French so this is literally to blow a fuse.

Meanwhile, une durite is a word linked to cars and means a radiator hose, but with péter it relates to the idea of anger.

Manger à s'en faire péter le bide - to eat until you burst

This is a good one for the Christmas period when we are all likely to make the most of the festive feasts.

Le bide is a familiar word for the stomach, often known as le ventre, and is our equivalent to tummy. It can also mean a flop or a failure in some contexts.

Faire péter le chrono - to smash a record

When watching the Paris 2024 Olympics, you may well hear the French commentators use this during certain athletic competitions.

Le chrono means the stopwatch or the time, so this literally means to smash the time and is used in the context of breaking records.

N’en avoir rien à péter - to not care

The French language has a seemingly endless number of ways to express indifference or the idea that you couldn’t care less.

N’en avoir rien à péter falls into this category, and is a very familiar phrase to be used around people you are comfortable with.

It offers the same sense as je m’en fiche or je m’en fou, which both also mean I don’t care.

Read also: Widen your vocabulary with these alternatives to common French expressions

Péter la forme/péter le feu - To be in great shape/top form/have lots of energy

This is a phrase that is often applicable to children on Christmas morning. Péter la forme and péter le feu both mean to have lots of energy or to be on top form.

It suggests the idea that someone has lots of energy, is in a good place physically and mentally and is ultimately just feeling really good in themselves.

Similarly, péter la santé signifies to be in good health physically; a literal translation would be “to be smashing health”.

Péter un coup - to calm down

While with certain words péter is used to express the idea of anger, when paired with un coup it means to calm down or to destress.

Se la péter - to show off/to blow your own trumpet

Se la péter means to show off or to blow your own trumpet, and is most often used in a negative sense.

For example, ma soeur, elle se la pète et ça m'énerve means my sister shows off and it annoys me.

Péter plus haut que ton cul - to think you’re the dog’s bollocks

The literal translation of this is a little strange, however it ultimately means to think you are the dog’s bollocks or the cat’s whiskers.

Péter les couilles à quelqu'un - to bust somebody’s balls

Couilles is used in many French phrases, and usually translates as balls, as the familiar form of testicles.

In this context, it means to break someone’s balls, or to annoy and wind up someone.

Péter la gueule à quelqu'un - to smash someone’s face in

La gueule means mouth or face, and when you hear someone use it with péter it is probably best to steer clear as it means to smash someone’s face in.

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