1. Expression: C'est pas de la tarte

    Pronunciation: [say pa deu la tart]

    Register: informal/familiar
    Meaning: It's not easy

    Literal translation: It's not pie

    Notes: The French expression c'est pas de la tarte is equivalent to "it's not easy, it's tough, it's hard work." What's really interesting is to compare this to the English expression "It's a piece of cake." At first glance, it seems like an almost perfect equivalent. However, the French expression is rarely used in the affirmative (that is, to say that something is easy), and the English isn't used in the negative (to say that something isn't easy). The equivalence of tarte and "cake" makes it seem like these expressions are nearly identical, but the French is usually negative and the English is always positive.

    Example : Je dois travailler pendant douze heures d'affilée aujourd'hui et demain - c'est pas de la tarte !

    I have to work for twelve hours straight today and tomorrow - it's tough!
  2. Expression: à poil

    Pronunciation: [a pwal]

    Register: familiar
    Meaning: stark naked, in the buff

    Literal translation: in hair

    Notes: The French expression à poil refers to body hair - when you are à poil, you're wearing nothing but your own hair. It's equivalent to the English expression "in one's birthday suit."

    Example : N'ouvre pas la porte - je suis à poil !

    Don't open the door - I'm completely naked!

    • À poil can be used as an adjective or as a command in numerous expressions:
    • être à poil - to be stark naked

    se baigner à poil - to go skinny-dipping

    se mettre à poil - to strip down to one's birthday suit

    un mec / une fille à poil - a naked guy / girl

    À poil ! - Take 'em off!

    • Synonyms: nu - naked, nude
    • déshabillé - undressed
    • en costume d'Adam/d'Ève (old-fashioned) - in one's birthday suit
    • en tenue d'Adam/d'Ève - in one's birthday suit

    Attention: the French expression au poil is an informal way to say "great!" or "perfect!"
  3. Expression: Ce n'est pas mardi gras aujourd'hui

    Pronunciation: [seu nay pa mar dee gra o joor dwee]

    Register: normal
    Meaning: what you're wearing is ridiculous

    Literal translation: today isn't Mardi gras

    Notes: The French expression ce n'est pas mardi gras aujourd'hui is used to tease of someone who is wearing something ridiculous. Mardi gras is famous for crazy costumes and elaborate masks - pretty much the more flamboyant, the better. But on any other day of the year, wearing something outrageous is likely to be mocked.

    Example: Charley, qu'est-ce que tu portes ? Ce n'est pas mardi gras aujourd'hui !

    Charley, what on earth are you wearing? You look ridiculous!

    Similar expression: se croire à mardi gras, literally "to believe oneself (to be) at Mardi gras," is another way of mocking what someone is wearing:

    Il se croit à mardi gras.

    He's dressed as if he's at Mardi gras, He looks absurd.
Card Set