French Lessons: Avoir un oeil au beurre noir

From paperclips to cows, I’m not sure today’s French Lesson was the best phrase to illustrate, but it was an excellent exercise in figuring out how to simplify the forms as much as possible to make it clear to the viewer. Do you see it? An eye + a stick of black butter. Avoir un oeil au beurre noir, has become a phrase near and dear to me because a) I find it so odd (literal translation: to have an eye of black butter) and b) I actually can claim to have received an un oeil au beurre noir (actual translation: black eye) during my adventures in French swimming pools. Apparently the word has something to do with what happens to butter as it turns black when you cook an egg, but for me this is just another French disconnect, or perhaps an attempt to make a “black eye” sound more stylish?!?


  • Anne,I’m SportSally,I’m Spanish and I have a Blog like you ,that is called CQDS.I think you do it very well and is very interesting about you write and think.If I can’t travel doesn’t matter I can read your fantastic Blog!Congratulations :)

  • Though i am a spaniard, i know France, and a bit of French language. You might not be absolutely right when you say “what happens to butter as it turns black when you cook an egg” but rather a matter of high cuisine. Butter might become black not because it´s not good to eat any more, too much burnt
    and used; but because there is black pepper in it to cook a sirloin steak or whatever words are there for a pretty good meat dish-high-kind-cuisine.

    Sorry for my certainly inadequate english. And do you know what is the meaning of “en avoir ras le bol” even though you´re leaving in a pretty city like Paris in apretty country and sweet like France ?

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