Idiomatic French Expressions with Pain

Idiomatic French expressions

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 – Bread board; (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 presumptous, 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 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 – Sugar loaf

Un petit pain – Bread roll