Visual Lesson of French Expression Chanter comme une casserole

Chanter comme une casserole

Folks, you can put aside the perfect pitch and rhythm! Today, we’re celebrating mediocre singing skills with the French expression chanter comme une casserole. Here’s the comprehensive guide to what this unflattering idiom means and how to use it. Get it right and take your French to the next level!


To sing like a saucepan.


English Meaning

To sing very badly or off-key.


French Meaning

Chanter très mal. Chanter faux.


The Story Behind It


We can make two things with a saucepan: dinner… or a din.


Most of us would recognize the sound of pots coming into contact with each other, or pans crashing onto the floor. From the harsh notes of steel hitting steel, to the tinny rolling and wobbling as your cookware hesitates where to settle, the metallic cacophony is as unmistakable as it is unbearable. It’s also a sure-fire way to annoy a lot of people!


So it’s no surprise that terrible singers are described as singing like saucepans or des casseroles. Perhaps they’re tone-deaf, hitting every note except the right one, like a pan bouncing all over a tiled kitchen floor. Or perhaps they were given a voice that could rupture eardrums. Either way, their crooning will have you cringing and waiting for the song to end!


A Note on Faux Amis


It’s important to note that une casserole and a casserole are faux amis (false friends). This means they have different meanings in French and in English, despite looking or sounding similar.


  • The French casserole is what we’d call a saucepan in English. It’s a stovetop pot with straight, vertical sides and often has a long handle called la queue (the tail).
  • The English casserole is a number of things, but none of them are a saucepan. A casserole can be a large baking dish (un plat à four). It can also refer to the food prepared in this container, such as a stew (un ragoût) or a large, one-dish meal, like lasagna or baked macaroni and cheese. The term is also sometimes used for cast-iron dutch ovens (une marmite en fonte).




English Equivalents

  • To be unable to carry a tune (in a bucket).
  • To be unable to sing to save one’s life.


French Equivalents

  • Chanter comme une seringue.
  • Chanter comme une gamelle.


Other expressions featuring la casserole


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© 2019 French à la folie.

CategoriesFood Music

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