French word found in English

Literal English Meaning

Example in English

Voilà  There


Voilà, I’ve just finished my beautiful painting.
Bon appetit ! Enjoy your meal Bon appetit everybody, this barbecue looks fantastic.
Chic fashionable I really like your new blazer, it’s very chic!
À la mode in fashion Emilie, that new blazer you have is quite à la mode. I saw it in Vogue.
Art déco decorative art/ style The style of furniture in the old house was remarkably art déco.
Haute couture high fashion The fashion at the launch included haute couture designs.
Au pair foreigner as a nanny When she went to France she worked as an au pair for a family in Paris.
Bureau Office I have to exchange some currency at the bureau de change.
Cul-de-sac no through road The street is a cul-de-sac and my building is at the end.
Je ne sais quoi I don’t know what The singer that won the division had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
Laissez-faire let it be (free) Market economies have a laissez-faire approach to the market where there is little government intervention.
Ménage à trois Threesome They were in a ménage à trois.
Petit four small dessert (litteral; small oven) For the afternoon tea party my mother is bringing some petit fours.
Savoir-faire know how, social grace There is a certain amount of savoir-faire that people should bring with them to the workplace.
Soupe du jour soup of the day Today’s soupe du jour special is pumpkin soup.
Vive la difference long live the difference We just don’t seem to get along, oh well, vive la difference.
Hors d’oeuvres appetisers Tonight at the party I will be serving hors d’oeuvres.
Femme fatale attractive woman The woman was wearing an amazing red dress. She was a femme fatale.
En route on the way We will stop off for a burger en route to the beach.
Fait accompli done deal, irreversible action The press are acting as if the result of tomorrow’s election is a fait accompli but do you really think it has been decided?
Crème de la crème best of the best The man said that his risotto was the crème de la crème in all of the county.
Déjà vu feeling of having experienced something before When I was speaking with him at dinner for the first time, it felt very déjà vu.
À propos regarding, concerning The meeting yesterday was à propos to the relocation.
Au contrair on the contrary I think the theatre production was a one night show.  Au contrair, it is running for two weeks.
Homage French spelling: hommage; respect, admiration She wished to pay homage to one of her greatest inspirations when she went to New York City.
Maitre d’ in French spell Maitre d’hotel meaning head waiter When I arrived at the hotel I was looking for the Maitre d’.
Negligee in French spelling: Négligée; a robe or dressing gown When looking in the women’s lingerie section of the department store I came across several negligees on sale.
Pièce de résistance the best The pièce de résistance is the gold centre of the watch.


Words that are franglais…
Some English words have recently made an unwanted entrance into the French language. These are regarded as imports. Please read through all of the following examples below: S’il vous plaît lisez les suivantes:



le week-end the weekend or in Quebequois la fin de semaine. la fin de semaine in France refers to Thursday or Friday, end of the work week not the weekend
Also many English rooted words are created in French by adding -ing. Such as the following:
le phoneing telemarketing
le shampooing to shampoo one’s hair
un camping a campsite
un parking a car park, or in Quebequois un stationnement
un relooking a makeover
le jogging or le footing jogging
un rugbyman a rugby player
un talkie-walkie a two hand held radio, note word order
un e-mail email without English it is un message électronique = mél
box equals to set top box after being associated with internet and service providers across France. e.g. Live-box, neuf-box, alice-box
un hot dog hot dog or in Quebequois un chien chaud


Other simple cognates



Barbaque Barbecue
Fantastique Fantastic
Spécial Special
Lingerie Lingerie
Département Department
Appartement Flat/unit/apartment
Téléphone Telephone
Télévision Television



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