To clarify the title, i am looking for two words in the English vocabulary. Normally in English words of French origin are seen as fancier and used by intelligent and upper class people. But is there any event of two words where one is of Anglo-Saxon origins and the other of French origin in which the Anglo-Saxon one is generally seen as more "fancy"?

Note that this excludes words of German origin borrowed during the 1700s and 1800s and etc.

  • As a euphemism for syphilis, I have always found "the French disease" to be far classier than "the English disease." – Mick Dec 10 '16 at 19:56
  • @Mick That doesn't work. Syphilis is Latin and one assumes arrived in English through French. Pox on the other hand is Germanic - so it follows the usual rule. – WS2 Dec 10 '16 at 20:27
  • @WS2 I knew that there was a fault in my logic somewhere. – Mick Dec 10 '16 at 20:28

"Flower" is Romance, while "blossom" is Germanic. I don't know if there's a huge difference of "classiness" between them, but the first is definitely a more everyday word than the second.

  • Quite true, the word bloom also sounds 'posher' than flower (unless you're a steelworker)! – BoldBen Dec 10 '16 at 19:36

"Victuals" is derived from Old French, and on the face of it seems like the "classiest" possible way to say "sustenance"... but in everyday usage, it's pronounced "vittles" - and often spelled that way. I think you could make a stong case that "food" is classier than "vittles".

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    In Norfolk, years ago, old people used to say wittles. But you are spot-on here, I would suggest. Well done. – WS2 Dec 10 '16 at 20:29
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    I love the Aubrey/Maturin books, so my first association is Killick saying "Wittles is up, if you please, sir." – MT_Head Dec 11 '16 at 2:42
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    @M T Head It seems to me that "viands" is closer to "victuals" than "sustenance," but I like your answer in part because it shows that reasonable people can agree that some words are "classy." "Classy" may be a matter of opinion, but as Justice Stevens pointed out, so is pornography. The question posed is interesting. I wish I had the clout to spring it from the hold. – Airymouse Dec 11 '16 at 17:20

color - From Anglo-Norman colur, from Old French colour, color, from Latin color, from Old Latin colos ‎(“covering”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- ‎(“to cover, conceal”).

hue - (meaning a colour or shade) From Middle English hewe, from Old English hīew, hīw ‎(“appearance, form, species, kind; apparition; hue, color; beauty; figure of speech”), from Proto-Germanic *hiwją ‎(“hue, form, shape, appearance; mildew”)

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