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donner des noms d’oiseau à quelqu’un

The French expression “donner des noms d’oiseau à quelqu’un” translates literally to “to give somebody birds names”. Here are some English meanings:

  • to call somebody names
  • to insult somebody
  • to call somebody every name in the book

The meaning really is simply to insult by calling names. Here’s an example sentence:

  • Les gens en avaient tellement marre du president qu’ils on fini par lui donner des noms d’oiseaux. People were so fed up with the president that they ended up calling him every name in the book.

more French expressions

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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