Foreign Words In English – French

frenchenglishwords      Do-you-speak-English

Image Source                                                            Image Source

Starting a new endeavor, I bring to you my latest edition of foreign words which will enrich your exotic vocabulary and will give you an insight into different foreign words (and their origin), which are widely used in English. Use them in your writing and let the words do wonder for you!

For the first edition, I have listed the French-origin words commonly used in English.

About the language :

French is one of the worlds great languages, rivalled only by English as the language of international society and diplomacy.Besides in France itself, French can be heard in several other European countries, widely throughout Africa, and also in various dependencies. In addition, it is the unofficial second language of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and many others.It is the mother tongue of about 75 million people, with millions more familiar with it as a second language.French is one of the romance languages, descended from Latin. A number of dialects initially emerged but history favoured the North and Parisian French gained ascendancy over the others.In the 17th – 19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language, though it has been eclipsed by English in the 20th.

 – Source

During my analysis and reading to prepare this list, I came across many familiar French words which I thought had English origin. So the entire exercise had its own surprising moments.

Get ready to get surprised and start giving a French touch to your writing by incorporating these words at the right place to convey the apt meaning.

Avoir du plaisir à apprendre !

( I hope that means ‘ Have fun learning !’ in French – if not , feel free to correct me)

French-originated Word Meaning Usage
à la carte On the menu.

In restaurants, it refers to ordering individual dishes rather than fixed priced meals

The restaurant provides three course dinner à la carte on Wednesday evening
Adieu good-bye, farewell The entire school gathered in the auditorium to bid adieu to the principal.
Avant-garde The pioneers or innovators in art in a particular period Because the new tower has an avant-garde design, it does not fit in with the historical buildings in the square.
Bête noire A person or thing that one particularly dislikes or avoids. Jane was his . He always tried to avoid her.
Agent provocateur A person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted. He acted as an agent provocateur, instigating the mob for violent protest.
Carte Blanche complete freedom to act as one wishes. The architect was given carte blanche to design the restaurant by the restaurateur.
Déjà vu a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. I felt a sense of déjà vu when I walked down that lane.
En route On the way I am en route for the meeting at my office.
Esprit de corps feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group The team under Jaden has no unity and no spirit de corps.
Fait accompli a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it. Accepting the change as a fait accompli, the best we could do was to adjust ourselves according to the change.
Faux pas an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation The designer committed a fashion faux pas at a recent fashion event by wearing a dress made of leaves.
Haute Couture expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses. She inaugurated her new store that would make haute couture accessible to common people.
Laissez-faire abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

the policy of leaving things to take their own course, without interfering.

Small business owners are happiest when the government maintains its laissez-faire management style and stays out of their affairs.
Nouveau riche people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste. He was nouveau riche, but nobody knew how he amassed such great wealth.
RSVP Please respond (to my message). Literally the abbreviation of ‘Répondez, s’il vous plaît’. Please send an RSVP request to all the guests, so that I can estimate the number of guests attending the wedding.
Vis-a-vis In relation to Many agencies now have a unit to deal with women’s needs vis-à-vis employment.
Cliché a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. When will she come up with a new phrase and stop using that cliché in all her social media posts?
Gaffe An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder. Keeping abreast of fashion trends ensures that one does not make a social gaffe in interacting with one’s peers.
Panache flamboyant confidence of style or manner. She always wears her stylish outfits with panache.
Rapprochement (Especially in international affairs) an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations. The rapprochement talks between the two nations are in progress.
Soirée An evening party or gathering I have been invited to a soiree at her home on Wednesday.
Raison d’être The most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence. The company‘s raison d’être is to provide cheaper mobiles to the public.
Saboteur a person who engages in sabotage. She will go down as the chief saboteur of the monarchy.
Gourmet a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate.

Of a kind or standard suitable for a gourmet.

He was a celebrated gourmet, who travelled all around the world tasting all types of gourmet food..
burlesque An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody. He has written a novel which is a burlesque of the literary life
Chauffeur Driver She always preferred a chauffeured driven limousine.
Élan A distinctive flair or style He performed with elan without getting scared of a packed auditorium.
Pince nez A type of spectacles without temple arms One of the distinctive characterization details of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ was the pince-nez he wore.

097a744231e7dd87133aab8de8374b6a

Image Source

Silhouette The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background. She paused to see the church’s silhouette against the dimming sky
Charlatan a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill. The charlatan tried to deceive people into thinking he was a minister collecting donations for the poor.
Vignette a brief evocative description, account, or episode.

Design on a book page

Her novel is a classy vignette of contemporary life.
Belles lettres essays, particularly on literary and artistic criticism, written and read primarily for their aesthetic effect. The emergence of a literature of belles-lettres reflected the success of the colonies
Pirouette an act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg. The dancer fell down while attempting a pirouette during the dance.

pirouette

Silhouette of a dancer attempting a pirouette !!

Image Source

Resumé a written summary of your education, work experience, and achievements; also known as a ‘curriculum vitae’ (CV) Please ask him to forward me his resume. I will have a look and then let you know whether this job suits him.
Facade The front part of the building that faces the street

 

a deceptive outward appearance.

Behind that facade of indifference, there’s a very nice person.
Camarederie Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Because of the camaraderie they shared, the soldiers trusted each other with their lives.

3 thoughts on “Foreign Words In English – French

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s