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Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'

Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'

The French verb dire means "to say" or "to tell" and is used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to tell someone off, talk nonsense, be a yes-man and more using this list of expressions with dire.

Dire is a widely used irregular verb, which means it follows the beat of its own drum regarding conjugations. This is one of those verbs whose forms you simply have to memorize. Formulas don't apply.

Common French Expressions With 'Dire'

dire à quelqu'un ses quatre vérités
to give someone a piece of one's mind
dire à quelqu'un son fait, dire son fait à quelqu'un
to tell someone off
dire ce qu'on a sur le cœur
to get something off one's chest
dire des sottises / bêtises
to talk nonsense
dire que
to say; to think that
dire toujours amen
to be a yes-man
à ce qu'il dit
according to him
à qui le dis-tu ?
you're telling me!
à vrai dire
to tell you the truth
Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait
No sooner said than done
autrement dit
in other words
Ça ne me dit pas grand-chose.
I don't think much of that.
Ça ne me dit rien.
That does nothing for me; I don't feel like doing that.
That means nothing to me; I don't remember that.
Ça me dit quelque chose.
That rings a bell.
Ça te dit ?
Do you feel like doing that? Does that sound good to you?
Ceci/Cela dit
That said; Having said that
Cela va sans dire.
It goes without saying.
c'est-à-dire
that is; i.e.; I mean
C'est beaucoup dire.
That's saying a lot.
C'est moi qui te le dis.
Take my word for it.
C'est peu dire.
That's an understatement.

C'est plus facile à dire qu'à faire.
Easier said than done.
C'est toi qui le dis.
That's what you say.
Comment dirais-je ?
How shall I put it? What can I say?
comme on dit
so to speak; as they say
Dis donc / Dites donc
Wow; hey; listen
entendre dire que
to hear (it said) that
Est-ce à dire que… ?
Does this mean that… ?
Il n'y a pas à dire
There's no doubt about it.
Je ne dis pas non.
I won't say no.
Je ne te le fais pas dire !
I'm not putting words in your mouth!
I didn't make you say it!
Je te l'avais dit.
I told you so.
Mon petit doigt m'a dit
A little birdie told me
ne pas se le faire dire deux fois
not to have to be told twice
on dirait que…
you'd think that…
ou pour mieux dire
to put it another way; in other words
pour ainsi dire
so to speak
pour tout dire
in fact
Que dites-vous ?
I beg your pardon? What did you say?
Tu as beau dire, je ne te crois pas.
It doesn't matter what you say, I don't believe you
vouloir dire
to mean
se dire
to say to oneself; to think; to claim to be; to be said
Cela ne se dit pas. (passive reflexive)
That (just) isn't said.

Cela te dit de (sortir, manger)?
How does (going out, eating) grab you? What do you think of (going out, eating)?
On se dirait en France.
You'd think you were in France.