être bête comme ses pieds

“Être bête comme ses pieds” is one of my all time favorite French expressions. The literal translation is “to be stupid like his or her feet”. The idiom has lots of English equivalents:

  • to be dumb as a bag of nails
  • to be as dumb as a rock
  • not the sharpest knife in the drawer
  • to be dumb as a doorknob
  • to be as dumb as an ox
  • to be too stupid for words
  • to be thickheaded
  • to be thick as two short planks 
  • to be as dumb as the day is long
  • to be so stupid.

A French-to-French definition is simply être tres bete or très stupide (to be very stupid).

Here’s an example sentence:

  • Le president avait plusieur mois pour reponder a la crise sanitaire et il ne fait que nier la situation. Il est bete comme ses pieds! The president has had several months to respond to the health crisis and all he’s done is deny the situation. He’s as dumb as bag of nails.

Note: There’s another common French expression which uses bete: “bête comme chou“. The literal translation here is “stupid” as cabbage” but the meaning is “easy as pie”, “dead easy” or “dead simple”.

Speed up your learning with an app

Many of our students have greatly enhanced their learning by using an app. On these pages we've examined the top-30 apps for learning French. On this pages we've written comprehensive reviews for Pimsleur (great for people struggling with pronunciation), Rosetta Stone and FrenchPod101 (both great for visual learners).

Video resource:

Video source: Imagiers

more resource

back to main expressions page

If you've found this post useful you might want to considering looking at our post covering the best apps for learning French. We've looked a total 33 apps and have written comprehensive reviews of Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and FrenchPod101.

Sign Up For A FREE Trial French Lesson On Skype And Get Instant Access To My French Pronunciation Crash Course.

Get the French Pronunciation Crash Course!