Meanings and Synonyms For The French Expression Casser les Pieds

French Expression Casser Les Pieds
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The French expression "casser les pieds à quelqu'un" is a weird one, a true idiom, something someone couldn't guess.

It means to annoy someone. Apparently, this expression has evolved from "casser la cervelle" to "casser les oreilles" to "casser les pieds", with the meaning of casser being more to crush than to break.

Anyhow, it's still a very common expression nowadays.

Il me casse les pieds avec ses problèmes.
He really annoys/bores me with his problems.

The idea behind "casser les pieds" is more annoyance than boredom. But it's used with both meanings.

Note that the construction requires an indirect object pronoun. So me, te, lui, nous, vous, leur.

Watch out! In French, we don't say "break a leg" in the idea of wishing good luck to someone. People wouldn't understand at all if you said "casse-toi la jambe"! To say this in common French, we say - and pardon my French - "merde" (shit). It's the same idea than in English, wishing something negative to actually not say "good luck = bonne chance" and take the risk of crossing Lady Luck.

Casser les pieds de or à quelqu'un.

This one is tough. If you say "casser les pieds à quelqu'un", it means to annoy/bore someone.
If you say "casser le/s pied/s DE quelqu'un" it's physical, it means you broke his foot !!


On jouait au foot... Pierre a tiré dans le ballon en même temps que moi, il m'a donné un grand coup de pied et il m'a cassé le pied.
We were playing soccer... Peter shoot the ball at the same time as I did, he kicked me hard and broke my foot.

Pierre a passé la soirée à me raconter ses problèmes de coeur, et quand je lui ai dit d'arrêter, il est allé casser les pieds à quelqu'un d'autre.
Pierre spent the evening telling me his love problems, and when I told him to stop, he went on to annoy someone else.

Synonyms for "casser les pieds"

There are of course a number of more or less P.C. synonyms - some very common vulgar ones come to mind, so pardon my French - and don't use them - but it's important that you understand them in movies etc.

"Casser les pieds" with the idea of boredom

S'ennuyer (very common)
S'ennuyer comme un rat mort - yes, like a dead rat... to be very bored. (Common expression)
Se faire chier (very common vulgar slang)

"Casser les pieds" with the idea of annoying someone else

Ennuyer, agacer, exaspérer, importuner (quite formal) quelqu'un.
Casser les oreilles à quelqu'un - literally to break someone's ears - mostly used when someone talks too much.
Faire chier quelqu'un (very common vulgar slang)
Casser les couilles à quelqu'un (balls, the sexual kind, very common vulgar slang)