Questions about English relating to French.

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9
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7answers
912 views

English Idiom 'cut the apple in half'

There is a French idiom, which translated word-for-word is Let's cut the apple in two It means both parties will benefit from 50% of the requested initial negotiated deal. Can this idiom be ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Why do definite articles seem implicit in English?

I was thinking about the translation for "life" (as in everyday living) in french which translates "vie". However, in spoken language you would always refer to "la vie" in french and never to "the ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

“à la carte” in the context outside dining

I have seen à la carte several times on a menu which means what it original meant, something separate from a package, you have to pay extra to order it separately. However, this word has gone way ...
49
votes
22answers
9k views

Are there any “fake” French words used in English?

Are there any "fake" French words used in English? By "fake French" I mean words that are of French origin but are not actually correct French. This could happen if the word changes as it becomes ...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

The X in Xavier

The NOAD lists the pronunciation of Xavier as (ig)ˈzāvēər. In my own experience the parenthetical pronunciation is very common. I, however, do not know of any other x-initial words that are ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Why did the pronunciation of Orleans change in New Orleans, while those of French borrowed words were retained?

Words like rendezvous, faux pas, a la carte are still pronounced the same way as they are pronounced in the French language. Why was New Orleans an exception to this?
0
votes
0answers
29 views

“communicative support” or “communicative media” or …?

How would you say if you are working (at the same time) on a book, a video documentary, website and periodical publication. I'm looking for a short term that would summarize this activity. what ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

“Bon/bonne chance!”: spelling and loanword specifics?

The adjective bon crossed over the Channel "in phrases such as bon apétit (1860), literally "good appetite;" bon-ton (1744) "good style;" bon mot." (Online Etymology Dictionary) Also with bon, ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

Antonym of “crème de la crème”

The phrase "crème de la crème" means to be the best of the best. Is there a phrase that means the opposite of this, that is, to be the worst of the worst? The phrase doesn't have to come from French.
0
votes
1answer
107 views

English versus french grammar

Recently, on the internet, I have heard people say that one should conjugate cartain adjectives that are closely related to french. For example, blond for males and blonde for females in the singular ...
1
vote
3answers
162 views

Word to describe something of something of something

What is a word for recursion/nesting of an entity in English ? I'm looking for a word that replaces the colloquially used -ception suffix. A generic term that encapsulates all nested attributes. For ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Did 'inter-' evolve to mean 'together'?

entertain (v.) (<--) late 15c., "to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind," from Middle French entretenir, from Old French entretenir "hold together, stick ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

What is special about Anglo-French legal usage of [the] infinitive as a noun?

I was reading the etymology of attainder (n.), when I saw its reference to: use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, see waiver. waiver (n.) [<--] [...] Other ...
1
vote
4answers
218 views

What is the expression for a list of low importance items, part of a more important speech?

Summary: I am trying to find an expression equivalent to annonces parafiales in French I am looking for an expression which means "list of items of low importance, appended to a more important ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does “attach” have two Ts but “detach” only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: attach detach Shouldn't they be ...? attach dettach Or …? atach detach
0
votes
2answers
120 views

How did 'to rejoin' evolve to mean 'to retort' (only in English)?

I know of the 2 different homonyms behind 'rejoin'; I ask only about the one that means 'to retort'. rejoin (v.2) [⟸] "to answer," mid-15c., legal term, from Middle French rejoin-, stem of ...
6
votes
2answers
146 views

How did 'countenance' evolve to mean 'support or approval'?

[OED:] The extension of sense from ‘mien, aspect’ to ‘face’ appears to be English: compare French use of mine. [ Etymonline for 'countenance (v.)' ] late 15c., "to behave or act," from ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

It's too cute! But what is “it”?

Sometime on the Internet we see some cute cat doing some cute things: And because of that, an English speaker will say: It's too cute. Because I'm French, and in French we have no good equivalent ...
0
votes
2answers
147 views

Why did English adopt both 'estrange' and 'strange'?

I'm not asking about the definitions of estrange and strange, and I realise that modern usage isn't a strict function of the original meaning of a word. I wish to know why English appropriated both ...
1
vote
3answers
126 views

How did 'estate' evolve to mean 'area of land or property'?

The following are definitions of the word 'estate': estate {noun} = 1. An area or amount of land or property, in particular = 3. {archaic or literary} A particular state, period, or condition ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

How did 'ply' evolve into these 4 different definitions?

ply = {with object} 1. Work steadily with (a tool) 2. {no object, with adverbial of direction} (Of a vessel or vehicle) travel regularly over a route, typically for commercial purposes ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

When citing a French citation in the original, should the guillemets (angle quotes) be changed? What about punctuation order?

I’ve come across a puzzling punctuation problem! I’m working on a document in US English. It includes a citation of a French text in the original French, and this citation includes a citation (all in ...
0
votes
0answers
81 views

Polarly opposite connotations of 'head'?

Such aphorisms as 'Think With Your Head, Not Your Heart' connote positivity of the noun 'head', but such English words as heady and testy connote negativity. So why this clash and polarity of ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

English expression for “Dans la continuité de” in french [closed]

I would like to know how to say this french sentence "Ce projet ce situe dans la continuité d'un travail réalisé auparavant" in english. Is "This project follows on a work realized before" correct ? ...
0
votes
1answer
150 views

French's 'ne explétif' in English?

●Source: p 249, Zizek's Ontology ..., by Adrian Johnston ●●Source: p 65, L'Odyssé d'Homère: tr. en français, Volume 2, translated by Dugas Montbel ● Bruce Fink helpfully compares the French ne ...
3
votes
2answers
267 views

How common is the French loanword “métier”?

Our daughter lives in Leeds and is a scientist too, although not in my field, her speciality is haematology. My son lives in Manchester at the moment, for the music scene, he says. He writes his ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

The etymology of February

According to my dictionary, the word February originates directly from Middle English "Feverer" from Old French "Feverier" yet the Modern English word more closely resembles the original Latin ...
2
votes
1answer
340 views

The history of 'aisle' and 'isle'

I've read about how the word 'aisle' and 'isle' each came from the French 'aile' and 'ile', respectively. I also read how the there was confusion between the two words, such that when 'isle' gained ...
1
vote
4answers
181 views

Middle ground between “I'll live with it” and “Bring it on!”?

The context is a typical conversation. You've settled for a course of action and expressed yourself accordingly. Then you get from someone a warning of sorts about potential risks or consequences ...
0
votes
2answers
128 views

Make use of & be appreciated for (using a skill)?

In French, one can use the verb valoriser while applying for a job, writing a motivation letter etc. when one wants to make use of some particular skills and be appreciated for using them. I have ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

Why do the French say “dent” where the English say "tooth? [closed]

I am preparing for an exam in "Earlier Englishes" and I have following question out of a mock exam: Why do the French say dent where the English say tooth? The answer gives 3 points, so may be there ...
3
votes
1answer
340 views

How can choosing to speak in English rather than French have an emotional impact on me? [closed]

I’ve grown up speaking two languages. I can seamlessly swap between French and English, but somehow I often feel like I can’t speak my mind when speaking French. When it comes to things that are ...
1
vote
2answers
317 views

words derived from French that have re-entered French from English [closed]

I am looking for a few examples of words that originated in French (or in Latin and then entered French), entered English and were reimported into French.
3
votes
4answers
178 views

What is a good translation of “crâne de piaf” as a nickname?

I'm looking for a translation of "Crâne de piaf", in English, in the context of a nickname given to some fictional character. Also, take note that I am native from France. What I'm looking for, ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

“Quyer” When and why did the spelling change so drastically?

The snippet above is taken from The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England), Volume 53, dated, 1783. It's only when you say Quyer out loud, do you realize what the word is. It is one of the ...
8
votes
1answer
796 views

Spelling of the word “connoisseur”

From what I gathered on the Web, "connoisseur" is spelled that way because it is derived from the old french verb "connoître" (to know) which has been spelled "connaître" for close to two centuries. ...
0
votes
3answers
937 views

What is the meaning of “a trouvaille, mon cher”? [closed]

I was reading A Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde and came across this line. Can someone explain it to me? "An amazing model?' shouted Jain at the top of his voice; 'I should think so! Such ...
5
votes
3answers
958 views

Pronunciation of foreign words by foreign speakers

I've used English for a long time and it isn't immediately obvious to others that I'm native French. Whenever I speak a French word or place name in English I wonder whether I should pronounce it like ...
6
votes
3answers
142 views

'Parasitic' Phonemes

In searching for the reason for the message -> messenger shift, I came across the theory of the 'parasitic n.' Essentially, the idea is that during the post-Norman Conquests period in England, ...
1
vote
4answers
269 views

How do you say “question de cours” in English?

In French, une question de cours, is a question in a test for which you just need to know the content of your course. It is an easy question (usually) which does not require any reflection.
1
vote
1answer
145 views

What is the meaning of “pet au pair”?

Granted, this looks french, I've seen this used and referenced in English. I see it used a lot with dog walking businesses or pet sitting companies, although I have no idea what it means. Google ...
6
votes
3answers
29k views

Does the etymology of the word “government” mean “to control the mind”?

I've heard some conspiracy theorists say that government, when broken down into its root Latin words, means "to control the mind". I'm wondering if this is really true or not. Is it? Edit: My own ...
4
votes
4answers
782 views

A French Phrase Similar to “Expertise”

I am looking for a phrase that is used occasionally in English as a near synonym of "expertise". For some reason, "coup d'mentarie" keeps going through my mind, but I don't believe this actually means ...
13
votes
19answers
9k views

Single word for a very small amount of time [closed]

In French, if I want to quantify a very small amount of time (but not fixed: it can be 5 ms or 0.1 ms) I can use a pouième. Is there an equivalent in English? I'm not looking for an expression but ...
0
votes
1answer
158 views

How do I pluralise a word that has a masculine and feminine singlar forms, for a mixed group?

This may be an ill-defined question since it arose from trying to pluralise a word that has come from French, I wanted to pluralise a pair flaneurs of different genders. Flaneur comes from the French ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “enroute” an acceptable variant of “en route”?

Is "enroute" (without the space) an acceptable variant of "en route"?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there religious swear words in English the way there are in French-speaking Québec (like “Câlisse!”)?

Are there in English any cases of using religious words for swear words, most likely in predominantly Christian regions? I ask because in the Canadian province of Québec, which is primarily ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

What is the proper term for a manufacturer of charcuteries?

I’m looking for the term for a business that takes raw meats from a slaughterhouse and refines them into charcuteries.
0
votes
6answers
498 views

Is there an English idiom equivalent to “coup de main”

I am looking for a translation of the French military term coup de main. (Not the common French civilian usage which translates as helping hand.) The term occurs frequently in the correspondence ...