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.
To sing very badly or off-key.
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).
- To be unable to carry a tune (in a bucket).
- To be unable to sing to save one’s life.
- Chanter comme une seringue.
- Chanter comme une gamelle.
Other expressions featuring la casserole
- Traîner des casseroles — This expression is often used in politics and refers to scandals in one’s past.
• • •
Looking for MORE French expressions like Chanter comme une casserole?
Got you covered right here! Expand your vocabulary the fun way and impress your francophone friends by picking up French expressions!
© 2019 French à la folie.