Ça m’a coûté les yeux de la tête.
sah mah koo-TAY lay ZYUH duh lah TETT. Click below to hear this phrase spoken.
It cost me an arm and a leg.
Different cultures, different values…on different body parts, apparently! What costs an English-speaker an arm and a leg costs a French-speaker the eyes in his/her head!
And where would those eyes be, by the way, if not in one’s head? That’s a way to make the exclamation more emphatic. Just saying les yeux sounds abrupt, and makes a weaker statement.
Now for les yeux: this is one of the most irregular nouns in French! Instead of adding a simple s to the word to make it plural, there’s a whole new word. An eye is un oeil (uh NUH-yuh), which follows the “yuck rule” of pronunciation (oe spells the uh sound, and il spells the yuh sound). Eyes are lay ZYUH.