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March 20, 2016


It’s funny how French idiomatic expressions and metaphors resemble a menagerie. Or an animal farm perhaps.

There are expressions about dogs, cats, bears, pigs, horses, oxen, foxes, elephants, and just about all your favorite animals.

But today we’ll talk about expressions that involve goats and we’ll test just how many of these expressions you know. Can you take a guess?

Try your hand at this quiz and don’t try to peek at the answers at the bottom of the page. As a clue, the literal meaning of the expressions are in the image.

If you’re ready, let’s start!


1.What do you think “bêler comme une chèvre’ means?

a. to shout at the top of your lungs
b. to speak with a shaky voice
c. to wail like a crybaby
d. to be a tad too melodramatic


2. Can you translate what “bouc émissaire” is in English?

a. a travelling companion
b. a weirdo
c. a guide
d. a scapegoat


3. What do you think ‘ménager le chèvre et le chou’ means?

a. to keep both parties happy, to play both sides
b. to prepare for a dinner party
c. to cause trouble
d. to be obsessive-compulsive


4. What is ‘mon biquet / ma biquette’?

a. My student
b. My neighbor
c. My adopted child
d. My darling


5. ‘rendre quelqu’un chèvre’ means…

a. to make someone a vegetarian
b. to cause unnecessary trouble
c. to drive someone crazy
d. to turn someone into a sugar daddy/ sugar mommy




6. A ‘vieux bouc’ is a what?

a. a random bearded guy
b. a dirty old man, old pervert
c. a stinky vagrant
d. an old bartender

devenir chèvre

7. When you become a goat (devenir chèvre), it means…

a. to become a vegetarian/ to be obsessed with eating healthy
b. to get angry
c. to become super hard-headed
d. to be a crazy partygoer


8. If it’s goat’s poop (c’est de la crotte de bique), what is it?

a. it’s worthless
b. it’s a necessary evil
c. it’s cute
d. it’s a funny situation

Ready with your answers and guesses? Let’s match it with the correct answers below!

  1. bêler comme une chèvre:  (b) to speak with a shaky voice
  2. bouc émissaire:  (d) a scapegoat
  3. ménager le chèvre et le chou: (a) to keep both parties happy, to play both sides
  4. mon biquet / ma biquette: (d) My darling
  5. rendre quelqu’un chèvre: (c)  to drive someone crazy
  6. vieux bouc: (b) a dirty old man, old pervert
  7. devenir chèvre (b) to get angry
  8. c’est de la crotte de bique (a) it’s worthless

So, which expression tripped you up? How well did you do? Share in the comments! 🙂

For more French expressions, check out this e-book from the Talk in French Store.

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About the author 

Frederic Bibard

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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