8 French Idioms Related to Love and Dating

Why does it hurt so much?

You may already have asked yourself this question after a painful breakup.

In the word of French idioms, love can literally be painful though.

For example you could be struck by lightning or event hit by a rake. Luckily, idioms aren’t always what they seem.

Here are 8 French idioms related to love and dating.

Avoir un coup de foudre

Literally: to have a struck of lightning

Meaning: to fall in love at first sight

Je ne comprends pas, il avait l’air super content quand il m’a annoncé qu’il avait eu un coup de foudre

I don’t understand, he looked super happy when he told me he had a struck of lightning

Ah mais c’est normal. “Avoir un coup de foudre” veut aussi dire tomber amoureux dès le premier regard

Oh, but it’s normal. “to have a struck of lightning” also means “to fall in love at first sight”.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Avoir un coup de foudre, Lit: to have a struck of lightning, to fall in love at first sight” quote=”Avoir un coup de foudre, Lit: to have a struck of lightning, to fall in love at first sight.”]

vivre d’amour et d’eau fraiche

Literally: to live on love and fresh water

Meaning: to be in love and not care about anything else

When you meet someone you are crazy in love with, you tend to become careless, you forget everything around you and fully live your love.

Until you realize you still need to work and care about the world. Because as powerful as love is, it’s not going to pay your bills.

L’amour c’est génial, mais à un moment, tu vas devoir travailler. Tu ne peux pas vivre que d’amour et d’eau fraiche.

Love is great, but at some point, you will need to work. You can’t only live on love.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraiche = to be in love and not care about anything else” quote=”Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraiche = to be in love and not care about anything else”]

Fou amoureux

Talking about being crazy in love, do you know to say it in French?

Hier j’ai rencontré la femme des mes rêves, je suis fou amoureux.

Yesterday, I met the woman of my dreams, I am crazy in love.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Être fou amoureux = to be madly in love” quote=”Être fou amoureux = to be madly in love”]

Poser un lapin

Literally: to put down a rabbit.


To not show up.

Today is a big day. After two weeks spent talking to the love of your life online, you finally decide to meet.

Unfortunately, she or he doesn’t show up. Oh no!

J’y crois pas, elle m’a posé un lapin

I can’t believe it, she stood me up

[clickToTweet tweet=”Poser un lapin = to put down a rabbit = to not show up” quote=”Poser un lapin = to put down a rabbit = to not show up”]

 Se prendre un râteau

Literally: to take a rake.

Meaning: to get rejected by someone you’re interested in.

I have to confess, I already got hit by a rake. Don’t worry though, the wound healed quickly and I moved on.

In French, when you get hit by a rake, it means a lover rejected you.

Alors, comment ça s’est passé avec Thomas ?

Je me suis pris un râteau 🙁

So, how did it go with Thomas?

Je me suis pris un râteau 🙁

[clickToTweet tweet=”Se prendre un râteau = to take a rake = to be rejected (romantically)” quote=”Se prendre un râteau = to take a rake = to be rejected (romantically)”]

Se faire larguer

Literally: to get dumped

Meaning: This idiom has the same meaning as its English counterpart “to get dumped”.

Il est inconsolable depuis qu’il s’est fait larguer.

He is inconsolable ever since he got dumped.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Se faire larguer = to get dumped” quote=”Se faire larguer = to get dumped”]

Larguer quelqu’un

Literally: to dump someone

Meaning: This is the counterpart of “to dump someone”.

Tu ne peux pas rester avec lui après ce qu’il a fait, il est temps de le larguer.

You can’t stay with him after what he did, it’s time to dump him.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Larguer quelqu’un = to dump someone” quote=”Larguer quelqu’un = to dump someone”]

S’envoyer en l’air

Literally: to throw oneself in the air

Meaning: this is a casual way to say “to get laid”.

Les français aiment s’envoyer en l’air, c’est bien connu.

The French like to get laid, that’s (a) well-known (fact).

[clickToTweet tweet=”S’envoyer en l’air = to get laid” quote=”S’envoyer en l’air = to get laid”]


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Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn conversational French.