The French They Never Taught You 23: bouche, feuille

In your elementary French class, you learn the word for mouth: la bouche. And this word is feminine. It's la bouche, not le bouche. However, the expression "word of mouth" is masculine: le bouche à oreille. After you've been saying la bouche for years, you will be tempted to say "la bouche à l'oreille." But the expression is in fact le bouche à oreille. Another expression where bouche seems to suddenly become masculine is faire du bouche-à-bouche à quelqu'un: to give someone mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In most other idioms, though, bouche remains feminine (as you would expect): parler la bouche pleine = to talk with your mouth full avoir la bouche amère = to have a bitter taste in your mou

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