Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'

Are you a yes-man? French has playful idioms like this one with the verb 'dire.'

Bridge Alexandre III and Les Invalides, Paris
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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.

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.

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Team, ThoughtCo. "Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Colorful French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Dire'." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).

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