While discussing pigeons in Paris with his friend Lea, Lionel brings up an amusing French idiom referencing those ubiquitous city birds:
Alors se faire pigeonner en français, c'est vraiment se faire arnaquer, se faire avoir par une personne qui vous a soutiré de l'argent.
So "se faire pigeonner" [to be taken for a ride] in French is really to get ripped off, to be had by a person who has extracted money from you.
Captions 54-59, Lea & Lionel L - Le parc de Bercy - Part 1Play Caption
Se faire pigeonner literally means "to be taken for a pigeon." In English too, "a pigeon" can refer to someone who's gullible or easily swindled. Pigeons get a bad rap in both languages!
Let's take a look at some more animal expressions and idioms used in Yabla videos. Here's another bird-related one:
Oui. J'avoue être un peu poule mouillée.
Yes. I admit to being a bit of a wet hen [a wimp].Play Caption
Calling someone poule mouillée is equivalent to calling them "chicken." A slightly less pejorative poultry-inspired moniker is un canard:
Qu'ils me disent que je m'affiche, qu'ils me traitent de canard
That they'll say that I am showing off, that they'll call me a duck [a slave to love]
Captions 6-7, Grand Corps Malade - Comme une évidencePlay Caption
Un canard is a person who's so lovestruck they'll do whatever their partner desires. Believe it or not, it's also a slang term for "newspaper." There's even a famous French newspaper called Le Canard enchaîné (The Chained Duck), which Lionel discusses in a few other videos.
Don't confuse canard with cafard, the word for "cockroach." When used metaphorically, cafard means "depression" or "the blues":
Mon cafard me lâche moins souvent qu'autrefois...
My blues don't let me go as much as before...
Caption 8, Debout Sur Le Zinc - Les mots d'amourPlay Caption
The expression avoir le cafard means "to be depressed," or literally, "to have the cockroach." And there's the adjective cafardeux/cafardeuse, which can mean either "depressing" or "depressed." Encountering a cockroach in your home can certainly be depressing, to say the least!
Though dogs are as beloved in France as they are in other countries, the word chien (dog) typically means "bad" or "nasty" when used as an adjective:
Fais demain quand le présent est chien
Make tomorrow when the present is bad
Caption 3, Corneille - Comme un filsPlay Caption
You'll find chien in a couple of idioms involving bad weather, such as un temps de chien (nasty weather) and un coup de chien (a storm):
On va avoir un coup de chien, regarde!
We're going to have a dog's blow [stormy weather], look!Play Caption
You can also say un temps de cochon (pig weather) instead of un temps de chien:
Et aujourd'hui on a pas un temps de cochon par contre.
And today we don't have pig weather [rotten weather] however.
Caption 22, Lionel - La Cathédrale de Toul - Part 2Play Caption
In American English, "pigs" is a slang term for "cops." But the French call them vaches (cows):
Mort aux vaches, mort aux cons!
Death to the cows ["pigs," i.e., cops], death to the jerks!
Caption 5, Patrice Maktav - La RuePlay Caption
Finally, they don't celebrate April Fools' Day in France, but rather "April Fish":
En tout cas j'espère que ce n'est pas un poisson d'avril.
In any event, I hope that it's not an April fish [April fool].
Caption 21, Lionel à Lindre-Basse - Part 5Play Caption