Mal Expressions

Bad French Phrases

French expressions with mal
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

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.

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Mal - French expressions

  Lawless French Files:  

Stay up to date with Lawless French

Questions about French?

 Ask me in the comments section below or visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.