Traditions - General Info

How to say Stupid in colloquial French language

This page was updated on: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at: 2:41 pm

Colloquial French for stupid, daft, silly or dumb

How to say stupid in French?

Well, that might be quite useful at times!

Colloquial expressions the French use when they are between friends and talk about someone stupid can be quite hilarious.

As you can guess this wide topic is a great source of inspiration that generates many hilarious colloquial expressions.

There are hundreds of them obviously.

Here is a selections of my favourite expressions.

1- We all know someone who is not entirely stupid, but lacks subtlety and is As sharp as a spoon. 

French will tell you that Il est fin comme du gros sel, which means literally He is as refined as coarse salt.

2 - You might also say that He is not the sharpest pencil in the box, He is not a rocket scientist, He is not a brain surgeon, He is one sandwich short of a picnic, or simply that The lights are on but no one's at home.

French will say Il n’a pas inventé l’eau chaude or il n’a pas inventé le fil à couper le beurre, which translate as He did not invent hot water or He did not invent the wire sliced bread.

3- You have more fancy ways of saying that he is Thick as a short plank, or As dumb as a doorknob, A few feathers short of a duck or that He has nothing between the ears.

French will simply tell you that he is Bête à manger du foin (stupid enough to eat hay, which relates to cows’ apparent stupidity).

4- And finally An empty headed person, an airhead, a scatterbrain or a bird brain is Une Tête de linotte!

5- But some people like To play fool to achieve their ends or To act the daft laddie or lassie, in other words Faire l'âne pour avoir du son (play the donkey to have oats).

6- And obviously You don't teach an old dog new tricks or There is no substitute for experience and French will tell you that Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on va apprendre à faire la grimace (you can't teach an old monkey to grimace).

8 - But sadly not everyone can be A smart cookie or Une fine mouche (a smart fly)!

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