Questions about English relating to French.

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2
votes
1answer
100 views

Cologne or toilet water?

I am writing a novel set in 1890s Georgia (United States), and I am wondering whether the main character, a young man of eighteen, would refer to eau de toilette as cologne, toilet water, or something ...
2
votes
1answer
835 views

Possession in Compound Nouns [duplicate]

In a compound noun with a postpositive adjective, such as "Director-General" or "Court Martial," the noun is pluralized by using the plural form of the first word (i.e. "Directors-General" or "Courts ...
3
votes
1answer
435 views

How to use “extraordinaire” in English?

I’d like to include the following phrase in my children’s book: with trumpets and fanfares extraordinaire I don’t know whether it should instead be with trumpets and fanfares ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the English equivalent for the French expression “veille technologique”?

In French, the expression veille technologique means the act of following the current trends in technology. Is there such a phrase in English? I can only think of expressions like keeping up to date ...
1
vote
1answer
355 views

Reference request: the pronunciation of Law French?

Would anyone happen to know of a systematic account of the English pronunciation of legal and parliamentary terms and phrases of Anglo-Norman French origin, or more generally, of Law French? When it ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

“S'il vous plaît” = “If you please”?

In Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot detective stories, Poirot uses the phrase “if you please” a lot. Does this come from the French phrase “s’il vous plaît”?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

English for “À l’abordage!”?

Basically, pirates would use the term À l’abordage! as a battle cry when boarding enemy ships like described in the phrase’s Wiktionary entry. Is there a English translation for this, or is it an ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Normans vs. Saxons: cow = beef, sheep = mutton, chicken =?

The story goes that after the Norman invasion of England, the words in English for prepared foods took on their French equivalents. The Saxon serfs bred the cows, sheep, and swine, which when served ...
7
votes
2answers
414 views

How did “invoice” end up with an 's'-sound?

The Etymonline entry for invoice states (source): apparently from M.Fr. envois, pl. of envoi "dispatch (of goods)," Although my French is pretty poor, my understanding is that the 's' is silent. ...
3
votes
2answers
461 views

Etymology of 'just' as an adverb and its French connection

Just (adj.): late 14c., "righteous in the eyes of God; upright, equitable, impartial; justifiable, reasonable," from O.Fr. juste "just, righteous; sincere" (12c.), from L. iustus "upright, ...
14
votes
4answers
882 views

What is the translation of the French word “erre”?

In French, there is a word erre which is the residual speed of a train, a ship or a car (or whatever is moving and needs propulsion). For example, if you see a red light in your car, you stop ...
5
votes
3answers
443 views

English translation for the different parts of a course as found in French schools/universities

What would be the transposition to the US school/university system of the French expressions: “cours” (that is lecture, listening to the teacher) “travaux dirigés” (lit. directed works, students ...
3
votes
0answers
657 views

English words mockingly derived from French? [closed]

According to Wikipedia, up to 30% of English words come from French, and I'm interested in a special subset of them. Not "loan words", but words that seem potentially derived in jest. For example, ...
1
vote
1answer
220 views

Is this sentence well formed? [closed]

I want a well formed sentence in english GB and US (two sentences if necessary…) from this french sentence: Cette page n'existe pas dans cette langue. Voici son contenu original : Here is what ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is “life is hard without jam” in use?

I am looking for a translation of the French "la vie est dure sans confiture". Babel Fish gives me "life is hard without jam". But I am not sure whether this phrase is really in use. Are there ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there an idiom that conveys the meaning of the French “mi figue mi raisin”?

The French idiom “mi figue, mi raisin” (literally: “half fig, half grape”) refers to someone or something that is neither entirely good, nor entirely bad. I guess the meaning of the expression can be ...
17
votes
7answers
88k views

Pronunciation of “cache”

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...