Questions tagged [french]

Questions about English relating to French.

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4
votes
2answers
390 views

How 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

Does the whole always “comprise” the parts of something, and not the other way around?

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
47 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
50 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.
1
vote
2answers
97 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. ...
1
vote
0answers
95 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.
14
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
96 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
37
votes
13answers
9k 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 ...
0
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4answers
287 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 ...
10
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5answers
9k views

What is the English pronunciation of “pain au chocolat”?

How do Brits and Americans pronounce pain au chocolat?
1
vote
1answer
120 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
74 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)
0
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
566 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
47 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
998 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
205 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".
1
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2answers
158 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?
9
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6answers
3k 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 ...
0
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2answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
469 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
107 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
368 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
79 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
84 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
815 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
146 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]
-1
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4answers
845 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 a keen interest to ...
2
votes
2answers
661 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
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) ...
1
vote
1answer
125 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?
1
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0answers
72 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
424 views

Is there an equivalent for the French “Bonaldi effect” in English?

In France, we designate by "Bonaldi effect" a particular case of the Murphy's law which states that: Any demonstration of any product that worked perfectly at the rehearsals will fail miserably ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

Does “garçon” mean male waiters only, not female waitresses?

Does garçon mean (male) waiters only, not waitresses? I can’t find a site which addresses that question, though etymologically, and in French, it means “boy”.
0
votes
1answer
240 views

What does “run the mirror down” mean? [closed]

In Richard Philcox's translation of Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks, he includes the following sentence: I try to read admiration in the eyes of the other, and if, as luck would have it, ...
71
votes
2answers
5k views

Etymology of “fairy”

All the standard dictionaries--with the notable exception of the OED--seem to trace the etymology of fairy through Old French fae to Latin fata, meaning "the fates" or "the goddess of fate". As a ...
18
votes
2answers
8k views

Does “cafe” relate to the word “cafeteria?”

I know that the word cafe (referring to a place to go eat) stems directly from the same word in French meaning coffee, but what etymological connection does it have with the English word cafeteria? ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

Why isn't portmanteau spelled portemanteau?

Portmanteau, which describes words that are formed by combining two other words, was apparently coined by Lewis Carroll according to Wiktionary. This word has obvious French origins, and there is in ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of “-le-” article in English placenames such as Newton-le-Willows, Bolton-le-Sands, Houghton-le-Spring?

Newton-le-Willows is a town in Merseyside. Bolton-le-Sands is a village in Lancashire. Houghton-le-Spring is a town in Tyne and Wear. There are probably other placenames with -le- in the middle. ...
8
votes
1answer
858 views

Good English translation for French military term “Baptême du feu”

In French, "Baptême du feu" is a military term that refers to the first combat experience of a new recruit. Literally translated, it would be "Fire Baptism" or "Baptism of Fire". I don't think an ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

What could be a translation of classic-style French titles, such as “Du contrat social”?

In order to write classic-style titles in a French text, the technique of using a préposition before the remaining words of the title is often used. A widely known example is Rousseau's "Du contrat ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “It's a shame” too strong?

When I want to translate the French sentence "Oh, c'est dommage que tu n'aies pas eu ton examen" into english, I think about: "It's a shame that you didn't pass your exam" => This sounds very strong /...
1
vote
2answers
482 views

What is the best translation for 'Application Spontanée' (french)

I'm trying to find how I could translate 'Application Spontanée' from french. Is there an expression in english to talk about when you apply at an employer, but without any attached open job offer?
1
vote
1answer
186 views

Is using an apostrophe for omission more correct than not? [duplicate]

I recently submitted my product design coursework to my teacher, for them to check that everything was okay. And besides from the few spelling mistakes that I'd made, the only other thing I was told ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

Should accents be used in French words when used in English? [duplicate]

In essays, or writing in general, is it more acceptable to include or leave out accents in French words (or even natively accented words in general)? For example, would I say The bread was served ...