Idiomatic French Expressions with Pain

Close up of bread in a container
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The French word le pain literally means "bread" and is also used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to say worthless, bankrupt, godsend, and more with this list of expressions with pain.

Possible Meanings of Un Pain

  • Loaf (of bread)
  • Bar (of wax)
  • Bar, cake (of soap)
  • Block (of ice)

Expressions with Pain

  • Un arbre à pain: Breadfruit tree
  • Notre pain quotidien (religion): Our daily bread
  • Le pain et le vin (religion): The bread and wine
  • Pain d'abeilles: Bee bread
  • Pain d'autel (religion): Host
  • Pain béni(t): Consecrated bread
  • Pain brûlé (adjective): Deep golden brown
  • Pain eucharistique: Eucharist
  • Pain grillé: Toast
  • Un pain de légumes/poisson/etc.: Vegetable/fish/etc. loaf
  • Une planche à pain: Breadboard; (informal) flat-chested woman
  • Une tête en pain de sucre: Egg-shaped head
  • Á la mie de pain (informal): Worthless, inconsistent
  • Bon comme (du) bon pain: Good like good bread (extremely good)
  • Long comme un jour sans pain (informal): Interminable
  • Pour une bouchée de pain (informal): Cheap, for a song
  • Pour un morceau de pain (informal): Cheap, for a son
  • Avoir du pain sur la planche (informal): To have a lot to do, have a lot on one's plate, have one's work cut out
  • Avoir peur de manquer de pain: To be worried about the future
  • Avoir son pain cuit: To be rich; to be condemned
  • Enlever à quelqu'un le pain de la bouche: To deprive someone
  • Être à l'eau et au pain sec: To be bankrupt; to be given only bread and water
  • Être bon comme le pain: To be extremely good
  • Faire de quelque chose son pain quotidien: To make something a habit
  • Faire passer le goût du pain à quelqu'un (informal): To do someone in, to kill
  • Faire perdre le goût du pain à quelqu'un (informal): To do someone in, to kill
  • Gagner son pain: To make a living
  • Manger son pain blanc (informal): To be in a good situation temporarily
  • Manger son pain noir (informal): To be in a bad situation temporarily
  • Manger son pain en son sac (informal): To eat secretly / on the sly
  • Manger un pain trempé de larmes: To pay a lot for something
  • Ne pas manger de ce pain-là (informal): To avoid profiting from a sticky or illegal situation
  • Mettre un pain à quelqu'un (informal): To punch/sock someone
  • Mettre quelqu'un au pain sec: To punish someone by giving them only bread to eat
  • Nul pain sans peine: No pain, no gain
  • Ôter le goût du pain à quelqu'un (informal): To do someone in, to kill
  • Ôter le pain de la bouche de quelqu'un: To deprive someone
  • Se prendre un pain (informal): To get punched or socked one
  • Retirer le pain de la bouche de quelqu'un: To deprive someone
  • Savoir de quel côté son pain est beurré (informal): To know what side your bread is buttered on (to be opportunistic)
  • Tremper son pain de larmes: To be in despair
  • Se vendre comme des petits pains (informal): To sell very quickly, sell like hotcakes
  • Vendre son pain avant qu'il ne soit cuit (informal): To be presumptuous, count one's chickens before they're hatched
  • Ne pas vivre que de pain: To not be materialistic
  • Ça ne mange pas de pain. (informal): It's not expensive, It's not important.
  • C'est mon gagne-pain. (informal): It's my job, It's how I make a living.
  • C'est pain béni(t). (informal): It's a godsend.
  • Donnez-nous aujourd'hui notre pain quotidien.: Give us this day our daily bread.
  • Il a plus de la moitié de son pain cuit.: He won't live long.
  • Il pleure le pain qu'il mange.: He's stingy.
  • Il reste du pain sur la planche.: There's still a lot to do.
  • Il ne vaut pas le pain qu'il mange. (informal): He is lazy.
  • Je vais au pain. (informal): I'm going to get the bread.

French Bread Related Expressions

There are a lot of different kinds of French bread — here are some of the most common.

  • Gros pain: Bread sold by weight
  • Pain azyme: Unleavened bread
  • Pain béni(t): Consecrated bread
  • Pain bis: Brown bread
  • Pain de boulanger: Baker's bread
  • Pain brié: Hard-crusted, very dense bread from Normandy
  • Pain de campagne: Farmhouse bread, country bread
  • Pain à chanter: Unleavened bread
  • Pain au chocolat: Chocolate croissant
  • Pain complet: Wholewheat / wholemeal bread
  • Pain doré: French toast
  • Pain dur: Dry bread
  • Pain d'épices: Gingerbread
  • Pain (de) fantaisie: Bread sold by the piece rather than by weight
  • Pain frais: Fresh bread
  • Pain français (in Belgium): Any long loaf of bread
  • Pain de Gênes: Sponge cake with almonds
  • Pain grillé: Toast
  • Pain de gruau: Vienna bread
  • Pain au lait: Sweet roll/bun
  • Pain au levain: Traditionally leavened bread
  • Pain long: Any long, cylindrical bread like a baguette
  • Pain de ménage: Homemade bread
  • Pain de mie: Sandwich bread (with a thin crust)
  • Pain mollet: Type of bread roll made with milk
  • Pain moulé: Bread cooked in a pan rather than directly on the oven rack
  • Pain parisien: Long loaf of bread weighing 400 grams
  • Pain perdu: French toast
  • Pain polka: Bread marked with squares
  • Pain quotidien: Everyday bread
  • Pain aux raisins: Raisin Danish
  • Pain rassis: Stale bread
  • Pain de seigle: Rye bread
  • Pain de son: Bran bread
  • Pain de sucre: Sugarloaf
  • Un petit pain: Bread roll
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Idiomatic French Expressions with Pain." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). Idiomatic French Expressions with Pain. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Idiomatic French Expressions with Pain." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).