"French" idioms

One more post for our “French” topic. Here you are two “French” idioms. 

Did you know them?


= Excuse my inappropriate language; forgive my swearing.

Some Internet sources suggest the use of this phrase goes back to the 19th century when the English apologised for using French in conversation as some listeners didn’t know this language.

Other sources say that France used to be associated with “bad” things like swearing, kissing, etc.

Now it’s usually used humorously, especially around children.


=to leave a place/event without saying “good-bye” or without permission. Why? The reasons can be different, for instance, not to upset the host.

Curiously, in many other languages, e.g. Russian, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, etc, this phrase sounds like “leave English style”.

TAKE FRENCH LEAVE is also used when sb leaves work without asking for permission:

I’m exhausted. This week I’ve been working much more hours. I think I’ll take French leave and go home.

It can be used in a military context (to be absent from a military unit):

Some soldiers took French leave and were punished for this.

Practise these phrases answering the questions:

Do you tend to swear? If so, do you apologise for it?

Have you ever taken French leave?