Il fait un temps de chien!
eel fay uh TAH duh sheeYAA! (Click below to hear this).
It’s horrible weather!
Wow…where did that translation come from? It looks more like It makes dog time. Let’s run that by more slowly.
Il fait is the expression that introduces weather expressions. Instead of the English It is (rainy, sunny, etc.), the French language speaks of what the weather is doing. Il fait can also mean he is making, he is doing, but with a weather expression, jump right to the It’s translation.
Le temps is a faux ami, a false friend. It can mean time, but also means weather.
So what is un temps de chien? Dog weather? Are these the dog days?
Nope. That’s la canicule, lah kah-nee-KEWL: hot, humid summer days when no one (except mad dogs and Englishmen, as the saying goes) would want to go out.
Un temps de chien is Chicago weather: a cold, wet day when…you guessed it…no one wants to go out. Except my dog, who is admittedly a bit strange.