Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The French are coming!

I came across a very long list of French words that are used regularly in English and have edited it down. It's amazing how many words we use from other languages and don't even register the fact. So, for all of those stupid English people that don't like the French... here are just a selection of phrases that you may want to avoid from now on as they are all French.

aide-mémoire "memory aid"

à la carte "on the menu"

art déco "decorative art" - Short for art décoratif.

art nouveau "new art"

au fait "conversant, informed"

bon appétit "good appetite" - The closest English equivalent is "Enjoy your meal."

carte blanche "blank card" - Free hand, ability to do whatever you want/need.

chic "stylish" - Chic sounds more chic than "stylish.

cul-de-sac "bottom (butt) of the bag" - An English dead-end street.

debutante "beginner"

double entendre "double hearing" - A 'Carry On' moment.

encore "again"

en route "on route" - On the way.

fait accompli "done deed"

faux pas "false step, trip" - foolish mistake.

gauche "left, awkward"

ménage à trois "household of three" - Sexual threesome.

objet d'art "art object"

raison d'être "reason for being"

soirée "evening" - An elegant party.

soupçon "suspicion" - A small amount of something.

souvenir "memory, keepsake"

tête-à-tête "head to head"

tour de force "turn of strength" - Something which takes a great deal of skill to accomplish.

vol-au-vent "flight of the wind" - Light pastry shell filled with meat or fish with sauce.


  1. As the astonishingly learned 'Dubya' once said - "The French have no word for 'entrepreneur."!

  2. There's a simple reason for that... George W was a twat

  3. As I'm sure you know, English is Germanic in origin but has been influenced by the French as it has by pretty much any other language knocking about but fundamentally, we speak a German dialect bolstered up by Shakespeare.

  4. Indeed, though I've never quite figured that out. There are so few words in English that are close in modern German. And the structure of sentences seems so different too.

  5. Sacrebleu! My comment has been stolen by Monsieur Raybeard.

  6. Merde, oneexwidow. Je suis desole. (Comment tape on l'accent? Ou est-il?)

  7. Is it deja vu, or did you really post this before?

    On my list, is mon C.


    ps how did you come to think about this?

  8. Sort of posted before. I posted in error with an old date and then deleted it and did it properly.