Questions tagged [french]

For questions about English words and phrases of French origin. For questions purely about French, visit our sister site French Language Stack Exchange.

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Aren't English' "shoe" and French' "chaussure" related?

I was absolutely certain that shoe (en) and chaussure (fr) were cognates due to the obvious similarity between their first syllable, especially the pronunciation - that was until I looked them up on ...
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2 answers
98 views

What does "the continuity of rights under French law" means?

A French student who wants to intern at our company gives us this document to sign, which includes this question: SOCIAL SECURITY PROVIDED BY THE HOST ORGANIZATION (within the framework of internship ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do "elision" and "ratatouille" have unmarked plural forms?

According to Microsoft® Encarta® 2009, the word elision has an unmarked plural elision (no -s suffix) as an alternative to elisions. Can "elision" be used as a plural form? If so, is it due ...
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21 votes
6 answers
4k views

What do we call a price that is chosen by a customer?

I'm a native French speaker. In recent years, there has been a new concept of price in French that is "prix libre". A literal translation of "prix libre" is "free price". ...
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Double meaning of relief

I was writing a report for an assignment and found myself wanting to write the following sentence. The resulting landscape shows more relief. In Dutch, "relief" only has the French meaning ...
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0 answers
62 views

Idiom to express 'being good at something'

I am currently working on a translation project for university (nothing profressional) and I have a question regarding the translation of a French expression which goes "je ne crains personne&...
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2 votes
1 answer
211 views

What is the origin of the term 'Au pair'

After watching Haunting at bly manor, I'm really confused about the term 'Au pair' referring a in house helper. But being a french speaker, and 'Au pair' seemingly being borrowed from french, it ...
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1 vote
2 answers
76 views

Does French past participle PRISE explain Modern English meanings of "comPRISE"?

compose, comprise. Compose means “to make up” or “to constitute.” Comprise means “to be composed of” or “to consist of.” The American Digest System comprises nine units and a current supplement (or is ...
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0 answers
43 views

Is "Liaison" a good name for a software project?

I'm having trouble spreading the word about my new open-source software project, and I'm wondering if its name — Liaison — is not a terrible choice. To give you some context, Liaison is a set of ...
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0 votes
2 answers
104 views

How do you hyphenate "Lagrangian"?

This is a proper noun (used extensively in physics) named after a French monsieur. How should this word be hyphenated? Should it follow English or French pronunciation rules, or something else?
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2 votes
0 answers
67 views

In need of accurate translations for "discount" [closed]

I’m writing a program for point of sales work. Thus, in my code, I need to name things (in English) related to concerns like "Store", "Sales", "Price", etc. I’m now ...
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0 votes
3 answers
80 views

How to translate "Facéties de Descendre" from French in the context of a board game?

I'd like to translate a card from a French board game. In particular, I'm interested about one of the names of the abilities. Now, I'm not a native English speaker, but I'm pretty sure that the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
153 views

Relaunch or Raise [closed]

I'm French and I would like to translate "Relancer un client". This expression is used, for example, when an invoice has been sent to a customer, but no payment has been received after the ...
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

What do you call the art of 'proper' bearing? (French 'maintien')

An aristocrat, model, steward… will learn about walking, sitting, behaving, etc. according to a certain etiquette. I am not talking about protocol, conversation and etiquette in general - just the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
181 views

Does the whole always "comprise" the parts of something, and not the other way around? [closed]

The verb "comprise" comes to me naturally to use in certain situations, at odds with a legalistic sense of correctness. It's a word often used in patents, or patent applicaitons, where some invention ...
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0 votes
0 answers
60 views

Couture and canapé are just another Saturday night until you add a mask. [Why the singular 'canapé'?]

In an American TV show called 'Gossip Girl', here's a narration by Gossip Girl herself (YouTube video): Long ago, when European royals grew bored with palace balls they took a page from the peons, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
160 views

Another name for a cheval de frise

I need another way to label a cheval de frise for my book. The problem is, the story takes place in a fantasy setting that neither contains the French language, nor Frisians.
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1 vote
2 answers
4k views

Is there a proper way to translate "Bonne continuation" from french?

In my opinion, the difference between "Félicitations!" and "Bonne continuation!" is that the former is used to congratulate someone and to celebrate an achievment such as passing an exam for example. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
102 views

How to translate "Je fais marcher le carburateur"?

What would be a good translation of "je fais marcher le carburateur" in English. It is an expression to say that you are thinking intensively, using your brain a lot.
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14 votes
8 answers
8k views

Translate the French quote "Il n’y a pas d'amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour" to English?

I’d like to translate a quote from Pierre Reverdy (or Jean Cocteau, this is an open question apparently). The quote is: Il n’y a pas d’amour, il n’y a que des preuves d’amour. For some context in ...
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2 votes
0 answers
106 views

How and why have French words arrived in the English language? [closed]

I've just finished watching Stranger Things, and in one episode, Nancy mentions a cul-de-sac, which is essentially a French word (I'm French and we recognize when English uses French words, with this ...
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0 votes
1 answer
219 views

Does "angular cheilitis" have any more commonly used synonyms than "perlèche" or "rhagades" which regular people would recognize?

The field of medical pathology uses the term angular cheilitis. I’m looking for a common word or phrase to use in place of this highly specialized technical term that I fear is likely to be known only ...
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37 votes
13 answers
11k views

Is there an English equivalent for "Les carottes sont cuites", while keeping the vegetable reference?

In French, we have this saying "Les carottes sont cuites", meaning "It's too late we can't do anything anymore" or "It's over for him" (He's dead) depending on the context. The literal translation ...
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  • 479
0 votes
4 answers
839 views

How can I translate the French expression "travailler en alternance" to English? [closed]

I am looking to translate the expression travailler en alternance into English. I have found several answers on the internet but none seems to match my use case. I am still at school and I am ...
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10 votes
5 answers
17k views

What is the English pronunciation of "pain au chocolat"?

How do Brits and Americans pronounce pain au chocolat?
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0 votes
1 answer
168 views

There is any relation between the English verb "ask" and the French expression "est-ce que"?

I was thinking about the pronunciation of the English verb "ask" and how it's similar to the French expression "est-ce que", used to start questions in some cases. I searched for the origin of "ask" ...
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0 votes
1 answer
126 views

A translation for the clair french word? [closed]

What could be the translation for the "clair" word in English? I mean "clair" in the sense decrypted, not clear. (sorry for my bad english)
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0 votes
1 answer
165 views

History of "Above and Beyond" and other similar phrases as English and French

In an editing lecture, I learned about how some phrases are filler because they are literally just repetition of the same idea. Above and beyond is the only one I can think of now. The lecturer said ...
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3 votes
5 answers
3k views

Origin of the negative connotation of "boy"

Recently I stumbled on a discussion where the word "chico" in Spanish is translated to "boy". To my knowledge, using "chico" to refer to someone younger is considered normal. But in English, calling ...
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12 votes
1 answer
730 views

Adding -s to French city names

This seems to be fairly common pattern. The modern English names of several French or French-related cities seem to add s for no obvious reason. Marseille > Marseilles Lyon > Lyons Tanger > ...
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1 vote
0 answers
55 views

Correspondence of French "exercice" and English "year/period" in a specialized, economic sense

In French, we use the term exercice to refer to a period of time between two events. We say exercice fiscal for fiscal year, exercice comptable for accounting period, etc. One of the senses given by ...
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Debutante in a sporting context?

The Collins English Dictionary defines a "debutant" as "a person who is making a first appearance in a particular capacity, such as a sportsperson playing in a first game for a team" As the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
467 views

Is there an English equivalent to this French idiom : "Brasser du vent"? [closed]

This idiom means "Talking a lot without significant results". I was wondering if there was a specific idiom to say this. So far, I have found nothing but "hot air merchant".
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1 vote
2 answers
416 views

Is the word "saboteuse" archaic?

Is it the word saboteuse considered archaic (or not fully added from French)? Should all saboteurs be referred to as such regardless of sex?
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9 votes
6 answers
5k views

How to use the prepositions "apud" and "chez"?

I couldn't find many examples of apud and chez as prepositions; I just found one description on Wiktionary: apud 1. Used in scholarly works to cite a reference at second hand. Jones apud ...
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1 vote
2 answers
7k views

How to pronounce bechamel the English way?

I had an argument with my friend the other day about the pronunciation of bechamel. Everyone I know is pronouncing it like besha-mel. I've looked it up though and found out that the correct ...
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1 vote
2 answers
612 views

Why is the pronunciation of French loanwords with the ending é botched?

Take these French words that exist as well in English: résumé protégé sauté exposé café The French pronunciation for the é is simply /e/, which exists in English. So why is the widely accepted ...
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1 vote
1 answer
152 views

Repetition of "their"

I'm currently translating from French to English and can't decide how to translate a sentence without the repetition of their being weird. All around the world States are thinking about and are ...
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5 votes
4 answers
642 views

Seeking etymological explanation of card game Euchre based on its spelling

Am seeking etymological explanation how, Euchre, the United States’ most popular card game in the late 19th century, might have come to be spelled in that manner. It is speculated that the game ...
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2 votes
0 answers
84 views

Idiomatic transitive qualification [closed]

How would you concisely/idiomatically say what follows By the very level at which some objects are implied, the story that follows and implies these objects necessarily is a story of this level. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
107 views

Italicising common 'foreign' words [closed]

If a house style outlines that foreign terms should be italicised, how strictly should this be applied to common terms taken from, say, French that everyone is more than familiar with? Italicising ...
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0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Equivalent to 'avec mention très bien' in English [closed]

In order to translate my resume to English, I found a problem in translating the expression "avec mention très bien" to English, I found some equivalents such as: with honors, using google ...
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0 votes
1 answer
186 views

usage of the term "bete noir" [closed]

Can "bete noir" refer to something for which one has mild disdain? Ex. 'my bete noir in that movie was the dialogue between Jack and Kate' [that being the exception, overall I liked the film]
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-1 votes
4 answers
882 views

Are there specific texts, such as French/English poetry, in which the word romance was originally used, and popularized in?

I'm curious about what the meaning of the word was originally and it seems to refer to song. I've found so far that it simply means "fiction", or "novel" (romans in French). I have ...
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2 votes
2 answers
771 views

"I could have lunch before you arrived."

I'm having a discussion on Duolingo about this sentence in French that translates into: I was able to have lunch before you arrived. An alternate translation (also accepted by Duolingo) goes like ...
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25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why have English words adopted the feminine version of French words with -if endings?

There seems to be a pattern with English words using the ending -ive to have been adopted from the French female variant. Eg: [english <- french(masculine/feminine)] active <- act(if/ive) ...
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1 vote
1 answer
187 views

How would you translate "S'emmêler les pinceaux" in english? [closed]

It is a french phrase which could be translate as "Tangling the brushes" which means being confuse. Is there a phrase to say that you are confused in english?
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1 vote
0 answers
77 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different? [duplicate]

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
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6 votes
1 answer
10k views

How to use rendezvous in its singular and plural forms?

While I was reading a book I encountered the use of the word rendezvous, this is originally a French word according to the dictionary. The usage in the book was plural followed by “are”. Let me ...
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7 votes
1 answer
7k views

What lies behind the etymology of the word dandelion?

I am puzzled by the etymology of the word dandelion. I am aware that it is derived from the French “dent-de-lion”, meaning 'lion's tooth' (because of the jagged shape of the leaves). What puzzles ...
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