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prendre la mouche

“Prendre la mouche” is a fun little French expression that translates literally to “to take the fly”. English meanings include:

  • to get in a huff
  • to get huffy
  • to get ticked off easily
  • to fly off the handle
  • to go ballistic
  • to blow a fuse

According to, the French meaning is to get angry easily, often over a futile reason.

Here’s an example sentence:

  • Papa prend toujours la mouche quand il rate les sorties sur l’autoroute. Dad always flies off the handle when he misses exits on the highway.

Here are some more French expressions dealing with anger:

  • sortir de ses gondsLiterally to leave one’s hinge
  • péter un câble, péter un plomb, péter une duriteto below a cable, fuse, hose

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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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