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1
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1answer
60 views

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

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 ...
14
votes
7answers
80k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
164 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.
2
votes
1answer
300 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 now been spelt "connaître" for close to two ...
6
votes
2answers
312 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. ...
0
votes
6answers
253 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
901 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
134 views

Etymology of “Sort”

Did the English word sort originate from the French word sort? e.g., sortie. Whereas, in French its meaning derives to out, exit, going out. How did it end up in English to mean category, ...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
66 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, ...
0
votes
3answers
225 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
712 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
291 views

“à la” + masculine

I'd like to say I'm baking a cake à la Ramsey. Here, à la means in the style of. My problem is: what if Ramsey is male? The French la goes with feminine nouns. So, should I write the following? ...
6
votes
2answers
91 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
3answers
144 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
81 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
636 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
153 views

Usage of `é` (e-acute) [closed]

As a French person, I am always amused by the usage of the letter é in English. For instance: fiancé café résumé touché (coulé) Pokémon (yup, that's a good one) This letter, though very common in ...
4
votes
1answer
793 views

English words of Latin origin: Did they replace existing words?

According to Wikipedia, the Latin influence on English builds more than half of its vocabulary. The same source furnishes a percentage of 26% for words of Germanic origin. Although I can easily ...
13
votes
19answers
7k 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
93 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
167 views

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

Is "enroute" (without the space) an acceptable variant of "en route"?
5
votes
2answers
752 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

When can the word “Noel” be used?

I came across the word "Noel" in a Christmas song recently. I only knew the French word "Noël" before so I looked "Noel" up in Leo. [Leo states] Noel also: Noël French - used especially ...
2
votes
1answer
80 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.
1
vote
1answer
215 views

Qualification title for French “diplôme d'ingénieur”

My Google-fu has maybe failed me, but I couldn't find an authoritative source about the correct English qualification title for a French diplôme d'ingénieur. Some sources say the title is M.Sc., ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there an equivalent for French “CQFD”

In French, when concluding a demonstration, we say "CQFD", which stands for "Ce Qu'il Fallait Démontrer". Do English has an equivalent for this ?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “a/an” an example of liaison in English?

French there is a process called liaison, where final consonants are omitted unless the next word starts with a vowel. Would it be accurate to say that the English indefinite article (a/an) is an ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

English equivalent of the French custom “l'apéro”

In France, when gathered with friends, it is customary to drink beers or other light alcohol around 7pm, and this time is called apéritif (or apéro). Does this custom have an English (UK and/or US) ...
5
votes
5answers
233 views

Translation of « débrayable » for camera modes and automatic software processing

I am French and I am looking for how to express the concept of the French word débrayable: Something débrayable is able to be manually configured as opposed of something which is always automatically ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

“The” before person name and context indication

I'm a native French speaker and the following is translated from French: A production still in which the beauty of the natural elements and colours evoke the Renoir of A Day in the Country (1936) ...
-1
votes
1answer
170 views

Is there any relationship between the English word “seize” and the French word for “16”? [closed]

The number 16 is "seize" in French. Based on research through standard channels, I find it unlikely that our English word "seize" derives from this, but I've always been curious about the connection ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
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”?
7
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
94 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
624 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
308 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
290 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
370 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
787 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
389 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
567 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
197 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 ...