faire un froid de canard

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Eli*, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Eli* Senior Member

    Salamanca, Spain
    Ireland - English
    faire un froid de canard

    est-ce que ça veut dire faire beaucoup de froid? est-ce qu'on peut utiliser "de canard" pour souligner des autres choses comme faire un chaud de canard ou avec une force de canard?

    merci en avance

    (et s'il vous plait, corrigez-moi!)
  2. Gutenberg

    Gutenberg Senior Member

    Province de Québec, Canada
    français international
    Il fait un froid de canard. = Il fait très froid.
  3. agliagli Senior Member

    "un froid de canard" is an idiom.
  4. doodlebugger Senior Member

    When it gets cold, French ducks are migrating to Africa.
    French hunters are in the cold waiting for them to pass by.
    Hence the expression il fait un froid de canard.
  5. Wynn Mathieson

    Wynn Mathieson Senior Member

    Castell-nedd Port Talbot
    English - United Kingdom
    Your explanation sounds very plausible to me.

    Strange, though, the French connection between cold and ducks when in English "fine weather for ducks" (beau temps pour les canards) means... "it's raining"!!

  6. prettyflamingo Member

    france and french
    Hi everyone!
    is there any idioms in English (BrE or/and AmE) to talk about cold weather?
    I looked for some on the internet but they were really informal ones
    (quote:"be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" and "colder then a witches tit"...)

    and I would like something more formal or that you could use in everyday life...

  7. Gargamelle Senior Member

    Here in the US, we say "biting cold," "bitter cold," "arctic cold," "cold enough to freeze the nose off a brass monkey." "Cold as Hell" (too informal, I know), "zero weather," (refers to zero Fahrenheit, which is about -16 Celsius), "we're in a deep freeze."

  8. prettyflamingo Member

    france and french
    Thanks so much !!
    I like the "any more"!!
    you've made a great job thanks again!!
  9. ashishgupta Senior Member

    India - Hindi & English
    En plein mois d’octobre, il fait un froid de canard, je fais donc placer des brasiers dans des bassins en cuivre.

    my try
    In the height of October,xxxxxxxxxxxxx I thus place brazier in the copper/brass basin.
  10. Singing Teddy Senior Member

    Just a little question that has some connection with the thread.

    Does "Cold as Hell" actually mean that weather is quite hot or cold ? :confused:
  11. FAC13

    FAC13 Senior Member

    English, UK
    Very cold.
  12. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Colder than a witch's teat is how I would spell this.

    Or for really cold weather: It's so cold you could toss a cup of hot water into the air and hear it shatter into ice crystals.
  13. sarahgk Senior Member

    American English
    Hey Gargamelle,
    As a fellow native Michigander you forgot the most common ones:

    -It's/I'm freezing to death. (you can say this one in any situation, to anyone)
    -I'm freezing my butt/ass off. (say around friends only)
    -It's fucking cold out. It's (fucking) freezing in here. (very vulgar but very expressive, say only around close friends, if they don't mind swearing)

    All three are said very commonly & often in winter in the US, especially in the very beautiful state of Michigan!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2008
  14. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Why did you put nose in italics, Gargamelle? :D
  15. Gargamelle Senior Member

    Because Prettyflamingo had written "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey," which isn't the expression as I know it.

    Otherwise....it's been cold enough to freeze just about everything off a brass monkey or any other object, animate or inanimate, all across the USA the last few days.

    Today was warmer (0 degrees Celsius), but more snow is expected. You know....just in case you wanted a weather report from Chicago....:D

  16. Gargamelle Senior Member

    Just to elaborate on this, "cold as Hell" means very cold. In Dante's Inferno, Satan was frozen in the inner circle of Hell.

    Plus, in AE, we say "----- as hell" to mean "very ------". In the movie "Network," the demented newscaster tells his viewers to go to their windows and yell, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" ...meaning, "I'm very angry, and......."

  17. polaire Senior Member

    English, United States
    It's bone-chillingly cold.

    It's a bone-chilling cold.
  18. Bluegerm New Member

    English - Ireland
    A brass monkey was a term used for a pyramid of cannonballs, hence freezes the balls off a brass monkey is correct and in no way salacious. Freeze the nose of a brass monkey is probably an attempt to clean up the term by people who didn't know what a brass monkey was.

    Il fait un froid de canard, what does it literally translate as? It makes one cold as a duck? I just want to understand how il fait is used.
  19. Chimel Senior Member

    Hello and welcome !

    It's the same il fait as in il fait froid. If you use it with a name, you have to specify it: il fait un froid de canard, il fait une chaleur insupportable... The idea is that ducks never seem to be cold, event when it's freezing out.
  20. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    Another for the list: "right parky" (Yorkshire dialect).
  21. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Bluegerm's right about the etymology, but for most people, in "It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" (I've never heard "nose", but this may be a "cleaner" version) "the balls" does mean "the testicles" (men often say "I'm freezing my balls off", and both men and women say (sarahgk) "I'm freezing my ass/butt/buns off."

    To clean it up, we can also say "It's cold enough to freeze the brass off a bald monkey.", "It's colder than a witch's [not "witches"] broomstick."
  22. Michel Merlin

    Michel Merlin New Member

    So cold that only ducks feel comfortable
    I agree. I am french, 77, live in France, and have always understood the "un froid de canard" meaning "so cold that only ducks can be happy", because everyone has noticed by themselves that ducks are quite comfortable and even happy in very cold and windy weather, be they on ice, due on water, on ground, or flying.
    Now the fashionable "consensus" on the net and everywhere else, highly variable and lowly grounded, is currently to say that the expression comes from hunters. This "consensus" is sort of a mantra, an unofficial order, to which you have to comply, or you will immediately get bashed and called uneducated or uncultured; in 2018 the variety and freedom of thoughts and expression is dead. And of course there will be troops of "experts" that will "find" allegedly "old" books confirming this hunter explanation and severely rebuke any other one.
    But this "consensus" will in turn, as the previous ones, switch after some years (or decades) to another one, following the order of this or that guru, and then anyone bringing back the hunter explanation will be immediately and unfriendly rebuked.
    So I remain on the old popular explanation: so cold that only ducks look happy.
    Versailles, Tue 27 Feb 2018 13:40:40 +0100
  23. Kecha Senior Member

    French (France)
    Actually, the net has other explanations to offer (none definitive):
    - it might be because ducks migrating was a sign of winter
    - it could be the contraction of "so cold that ducks leg freeze" (from the belief that ducks can get their legs stuck in freezing water)

    After all, we also say "un froid de gueux" and "un froid de chien", and it doesn't mean that gueux/chien are "comfortable".
  24. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Sorry, this "etymology" is total balls*.
    1. Cannon balls were never piled in pyramids aboard a ship tossing in the high seas.
    2. Brass was too expensive for cannonball containers when wood was available; the wooden frames were called garlands, not monkeys.
    3. The coefficients of expansion of brass and iron are too close to have any effect.
    "Balls" means testicles. But if you're too prudish to say it, you can always say "freeze the tail off a brass monkey" or translate un froid de canard simply as brass monkey weather.

    (* Source: Michael Quinion, Port out, starboard home, Penguin, London, 2000.)
  25. Michel Merlin

    Michel Merlin New Member

    Kecha, thanks for replying, but:
    - "ducks migrating was a sign of winter" is (IMO) part of the single consensus I pointed
    - I never heard in my life "un froid de gueux" or "un froid de chien". Could they be some Quebec locutions?
    Versailles, Tue 27 Feb 2018 16:38:45 +0100
  26. Kecha Senior Member

    French (France)
    I am not from Québec, I am currently in Paris. I grew up in Picardy with family ties in Alsace and Bourgogne, so it's hard for me to say where the expressions I know are from :)
  27. Michel Merlin

    Michel Merlin New Member

    Thanks Kecha
    Versailles, Tue 27 Feb 2018 18:34:20 +0100
  28. iuytr

    iuytr Senior Member

    Un froid/temps à ne pas mettre un chien dehors est une variante de froid/temps de chien qui me parait relativement courante et s'applique à la pluie (en utilisant évidemment temps).
    Je pense que l'idée est qu'un chien est plus résistant qu'un homme aux conditions extrêmes, en tout cas il ne s'en plaint pas :), donc si même un chien ....

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