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, "hoosegow" seems to be a tongue-in-cheek corruption of the Spanish "jusgado".

Three possible examples of cheerful manglings of "Frank-ase" are:

I've seen Western old-timers obviously relishing the use of those words around their Creole acquaintances. And, thousands of French words made it into English, with less alteration, both before and since these two examples.

So, two questions:

  1. What are some more of these words? Or better yet a good source of them? (My Google-fu has failed me.)
  2. Any evidence to support or disprove the conjecture that these word-hijackings are mocking highfalutin French usage?
  • I think (1.) is not constructive. Listing things is not a good use of SE. Commented May 24, 2012 at 11:04
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    This would be a good research subject for a Master's thesis I believe. Commented May 25, 2012 at 2:46
  • @JamesJiao: Really? I'd just settle for some answers or a few more examples (or counter examples). Alas, it's devilishly hard with some of the moderation policies on SE. Some notions might be okay for "hard science" fields like SO, and less so in other subjects. ;) Commented May 25, 2012 at 3:19
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    Yes, really. I am not kidding. It's a very interesting topic. I'd do it if I have the patience to get to the academic point of writing one! Commented May 25, 2012 at 3:22
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    I remember reading that the (chiefly British) use of the word "loo" for toilet may have been derived from the last word of the expression "Regardez l'eau" (fr. "watch out for the water") as someone dumped a chamber pot into the street below. I don't have a source for this, but I have wondered if the English expression "toot-a-loo!" (informal leave taking) may have been derived from "à tout à l'heure."
    – rajah9
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 18:22


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