Cue the eye roll! The French expression raconter des salades is here. Find out what it means, and how and when to use it! Here’s the ultimate guide!

 

To tell salads.

 

English Meaning

To lie, especially by making one’s story more incredible or elaborate.

 

French Meaning

Mentir.

 

The Story Behind It

 

Think about it. Why have a plain salad when you can have a beautiful one with different greens and a rainbow of carefully placed embellishments, like cheese, olives, tomatoes, chicken—the works, you know? So, by extension, why tell a simple lie when you can make it fabulous by adding some drama, a little charm, expert excuses, and other palate-pleasing details? Your story would be so much more… délicieuse! 🤤 Right?

 

True to form, the mesclun-munching, metaphor-loving French came to associate carefully crafted tall tales with composed salads in the 19th century. And, from this, raconter des salades was born!

 

Usage Notes

 

Well, let’s state the obvious: you may want to consider the gravity of basically calling someone a liar, or, depending on the tone, a bullsh*tter. But for the most part, raconter des salades is a widely used expression that’s frequently taught to students, possibly because it’s quite cute (despite its meaning), it’s easy to learn, and food-related idioms are always a hit with the French! However, it remains familiar, so it shouldn’t go on an exam or be used in very polite or formal conversation.

 

Some scenarios in which one might use raconter des salades: someone questioning his or her spouse’s whereabouts; a suspicious parent trying to get his or her kid to explain what really happened to their shattered TV screen; a student who doesn’t believe his or her classmate’s crazy celebrity encounters… So many opportunities for salads!

 

Examples

 

Oh, arrête ! Arrête de me raconter des salades !
Oh, stop! Stop lying to me!

 

Il me racontait des salades ! Il m’a dit qu’il était au bureau, qu’il avait des réunions toute la journée, bla bla bla… Mais je l’ai vu avec elle à Starbucks !
He was lying to me! He told me that he was at work, that he had meetings all day long, blah blah blah… But I saw him with her at Starbucks!

English Equivalents

  • To tell tall tales.
  • To spin a yarn.

 

French Equivalents

  • Raconter des mensonges.
  • Raconter des craques. * Argotique, familier.
  • Raconter des bobards. * Argotique, familier.

 

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