Mal Expressions

Bad French Phrases

French expressions with mal
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The French adverb mal literally means “unwell” or “badly” and is found in a variety of idiomatic expressions. Learn how to say homesick, world-weariness, to work hard, and more with this list of expressions with mal.

Proverbs with mal

Aux grands maux, les grands remèdes.   Big problems require big solutions.
Bien mal acquis ne profite jamais.   Ill-gotten gains seldom prosper.
Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés.   The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot.
Le remède est pire que le mal.   The cure is worse than the disease.

Expressions with mal

avoir du mal à faire   to have a hard time doing
avoir mal à la tête, aux dents   to have a headache, toothache
avoir un mal de tête, de dents   to have a headache, toothache
avoir le mal de mer   to be seasick
avoir le mal du pays   to be homesick
le bien et le mal   good and evil
être mal barré   to be off to a bad start
faire mal à   to harm, do harm to
ne voir aucun mal à quelque chose   to not see any harm in something
non sans mal   not without difficulty
On n’a rien sans mal   You can’t get something for nothing
rendre le bien pour le mal   to return good for evil
se donner du mal   to work hard
se donne un mal de chien à faire   to bend over backwards to do
se faire mal
Je me suis fait mal à la main.
  to hurt oneself
I hurt my hand.
tant bien que mal   doing one’s best, more or less
tomber au plus mal   to come/happen at the worst moment
bon gré mal gré   (whether you) like it or not
C’est mal fait !   What a pity!
c’est mal vu   people don’t like that
de mal en pis   from bad to worse
être bien mal   to be close to death
être mal avec   to be on bad terms with
être mal dans sa peau   to feel bad about oneself
Honi soit qui mal y pense   Shame on anyone who thinks this evil,
This person has hidden bad intentions
mal à l’aise   uncomfortable
mal du siècle   world-weariness
mal choisi   poorly chosen, ill-chosen
mal en point   in a bad way, in a sorry state
mal fait   poorly done
mal inspiré   ill-advised
mal nourri   poorly fed
ni bien ni mal (informal)   so so
pas mal   not bad, pretty good
pas mal (de)   quite a bit (of), quite a few
prendre la chose mal   to take it badly
se sentir mal dans sa peau   to feel bad about oneself
s’y prendre mal   to do a bad job, handle something poorly
tout va mal   everything is going wrong
Tu n’es pas mal sur cette photo.   You look pretty good in this picture.

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Mal - French expressions

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