Photo hunt and idioms

October 28, 2011

Karma’s photo hunt for this month is about photographing idioms. If you feel like participating – you may do so until October 31st – then get ready to take pictures and share 3 photos, or more if you wish so.  Karma also posted a link of a great list of idioms to help us. Interesting and fun ! Please go to her site for more information :

Here is my contribution :

I am not so sure if this was meant to be a life-size dummy or a dress stand. It stook quietly in a room of a small castle near Geneva.

“Ancient times, ancient customs”

Nino was not so guilty but very impatient  with me gardening on the other side of the fence. “Woooooo”…

“The guilty dog barks the loudest”

Three mushrooms – good or bad I do not know – standing in line in the forest. The fourth one was either watching them or rebelling…

“Bad things come in three”

No broth in this old cauldron but it fitted perfectly the idiom I chose.

The best broth is made in the oldest pots”

Those graphics may look pretty but…

it’s “All Greek to me” !

A fabric with small chickens and ducks I knew I would use some day. Not exactly for an idiom though !

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”

Thanks Karma for this great photo hunt. It was interesting and sometimes funny to see the French and English translations of the same proverb.

il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amande
no pain, no gain; one has to break some eggs to make an omelet (lit.: one must crack the shell to get the almond)

il faut tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche avant de parler
you should count to ten before you say anything (lit.: you should turn your tongue seven times in your month before speaking)

il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué
don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched (lit.: do not sell the skin of a bear before you kill it)

quand les poules auront des dents
never; never in a month of Sundays; when pigs fly (lit.: when hens have teeth)

Good luck with your choice of idioms and pictures !

Have a pleasant weekend.

34 Responses to “Photo hunt and idioms”

  1. theonlycin said

    Loved the idioms and your photos 🙂

  2. sonali said

    Interesting idioms, Isa. I enjoyed all of them 🙂 nice pictures too. Hope you have a nice time during the halloween and also, the first snow your side 🙂

  3. Robin said

    Well done, Isa. I enjoyed your photos and idioms. 🙂

  4. What a great idea for a photo challenge. And fascinating to see the french and english versions of the same idea – obviously some concepts are universal.

    • Thanks JP, I really enjoyed this idea of illustrating idioms. I agree with you, it is fascinating to compare the versions of a similar concept in French and in English. No doubt it could be quite different in other languages too, don’t you think so ?

  5. The literal translations are a hoot, Isa!

    Enjoyed your choice of photos to go with the idioms. I just know Nino is never guilty of anything, right? 😉

    • Hi Scott, I am really happy you enjoyed those photos and literal translations. Yes, very funny or “rigolo” as we say. As for Nino not being guilty of anything…. you would be surprised how guilty he is actually ! But his eyes you know, they have such an amazing talent for imploring you that his guilt becomes more or less relative 😉

  6. sartenada said

    Bonjour Isa.

    Nice photos, especially the first one!!!

    Special thank You for those translations! I knew the first and the third. I have not met the last one in those French books that I have read and it is very interesting in French. I love it.

    Belle journée.

  7. Karma said

    J’aime tes photos! Unfortunately, that is about all I feel I can write en francais, right now. It has been a long week. I love your choices for your photos. Some of your idioms I’ve never heard before; that is great because I always love learning. The translations of idioms from French to English is very interesting too! Thank you for participating.

    • Thanks to you Karen for your great idea of photo hunt. There were many more translations of idioms in French/English, some totally different from one language to the other. It was a real pleasure to participate. Have a lovely Sunday. BTW did you read you won the pochette ? 😉 Just tell me the shade you would like to have it in, OK ?

      • Karma said

        Oh lucky me! How sweet! I love shades of pinks and purples, but to use another idiom – beggars can’t be choosers 😉 I’d be happy with any colors.

  8. Tammy said

    What a fun contest! I love the photo of the mushrooms. The fourth really does seem to be watching them.

  9. […] reader but first time photo-hunter Isa was next in with many unique idioms.  I’d never heard many of Isa’s choices and loved her interesting translations she […]

  10. Dawn said

    These are lovely photos! My favorite is the’s just a beautiful photo!

  11. Janice said

    A lovely idea, Isa, photographing idioms! The old dress stand is beautiful. I love the photo of Nino, and the old cauldron.

    It’s always interesting to see how idioms are expressed in other languages. Although we use ‘never in a month of Sundays’ and ‘pigs might fly’ I have once heard the expression ‘hen’s teeth’ used in English – the mother of a talented boy ballet dancer I know said the ballet school grabbed him with both hands because ‘boys who can dance are like hen’s teeth’. She was from the NW of England – I don’t know if it’s an expression used there.

    • shoreacres said

      I grew up with the idiom, “as rare as hen’s teeth” – the point being, of course, that hens have no teeth! It is still very common in the midwestern states of the U.S., and can mean, depending on context, either somethat is very valuable, or something that simply doesn’t exist!

    • Thanks for your words, Janice. Isn’t it interesting to see how these idioms travel ? “Quand les poules auront des dents” is an idiom I often hear around here and I smiled at the way your friend used it too. Ici, c’est utilisé pour quelque chose de rarissime. Since we talk about pigs and fliying… have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Pigs in Heaven” ? I quite liked it as I did most of her books.

      • Janice said

        I hadn’t heard of Barbara Kingsolver at all, Isa, but after reading her reviews on Amazon I think it’s time I got to know her. Thank you!

  12. shoreacres said


    My favorite photo here is paired with a lovely idiom I’ve not heard – the best broth is made in the oldest pots.

    That surely is true in the case of the cast-iron skillets and dutch ovens I have. They’ve been passed from generation to generation, and are perfectly seasoned. A foolish young cousin once wanted to scrub them within an inch of their lives, put them in the dishwasher and really clean them up. Can you imagine me waving my hands about and (another idiom) “coming unglued”? In such a situation – of course!

    • What an “almost” tragedy, Linda… I can understand you “came unglued” (new expression for me) in such a situation. It is the same with those beautiful Japanese cast-iron tea-pots that are not supposed to be cleaned so thoroughly.
      “Coming unglued” has also a French translation : “péter les plombs”, very colloquial. The litteral translation would be “to blow the fuses”.
      “Péter les plombs” sort of compares the person to an electrical device that would have a short circuit.
      I am glad you could save your skillets. The word makes me think of “brisket”, a most delicious meal I ate in TX and that I could never find an equivalent for in the French cuisine. Mmmm, was that good !

  13. iniyaal said

    Love the old pot..A perfect match for the idiom. Love the mushrooms too 🙂 Interesting post, interesting clicks, and equally interesting literal translations between French and English 🙂

  14. Hello iniyaal, Karma usually posts a photo hunt challenge every month. If you are interested in such a contest, there is another one at “Views Infinitum” Thomas Scott Photography. It is about your best shots in 2011 :
    Have a great week !

  15. Kathy said

    “Do not sell the skin of a bear before you kill it”?? That is so funny! (I mean, if you’re not the bear. Then it wouldn’t be so humorous.) Interesting thinking about idioms in different languages. It’s fun that you played.

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