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Questions tagged [french]

Questions about English relating to French.

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0answers
58 views

Swearing: English or French? [closed]

This may not be the correct forum for the question, so I apologize if I'm merely cluttering the place up. Though I am far from fluent in French, I have spent enough time staying with family in Paris ...
0
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1answer
33 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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1answer
97 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
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1answer
109 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
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1answer
112 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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0answers
36 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
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3answers
937 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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2answers
103 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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2answers
71 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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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 ...
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2answers
1k 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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0answers
49 views

How did 'that is to know' semantically shift to signify 'that is to say'?

In French, c’est à savoir originally signified (1) 'that is to know', then (2) 'that is to say'. The English verb 'wit' underwent the same semantic shift; see Etymonline: The phrase to wit, almost ...
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2answers
308 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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1answer
76 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
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4answers
221 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
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0answers
65 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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1answer
74 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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1answer
560 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
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1answer
68 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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4answers
716 views

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

I ask because I became curious about what the meaning of the word was originally and it seems to refer to song. What I've found so far is that it simply means "fiction", or "novel", (romans in French)....
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0answers
373 views

Is there a word for when something is meant both figuratively and literally? [closed]

This was a question posed on the TV show Archer (they suggested French may have such a word), and I found it to be a good question. Is there?
2
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2answers
342 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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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) ...
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1answer
90 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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0answers
65 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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1answer
3k 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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1answer
2k 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 ...
4
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1answer
235 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 ...
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3answers
3k 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”.
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1answer
189 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, ...
67
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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0answers
44 views

Why Do Guillemets Sometimes Appear?

I have noticed, recently, that guillemets are being used in all sorts of odd ways. I saw one example where they seemed to be inserted around a few shorter words in a slogan for no reason at all. Is ...
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2answers
4k 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? ...
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2answers
156 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 ...
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2answers
976 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. ...
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1answer
698 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
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1answer
71 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 ...
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2answers
521 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 /...
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2answers
240 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?
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1answer
161 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
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0answers
66 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 ...
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3answers
246 views

Two synonyms each of Saxon and French origin where the Saxon word is “classier” [closed]

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 ...
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4answers
92k views

Is it “en route to” or just “en route”?

I have often come across various posts that people make on any social media platform as, for example: En route to the Taj Mahal. or En route Paris. Although what I have been taught that it ...
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2answers
331 views

What rules govern uniform mispronounciation of romance languages? [closed]

As someone who isn’t a native speaker of English, I’m often fascinated by how those who are seem to change the pronunciation of words originally from French, Italian, Spanish, and so on in a seemingly ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning and etymology of “cod-French” accent?

Here's a passage referring to re-enactments of the Battle of Hastings: As you might expect, the English king, Harold Godwinson, comes across as an essentially decent chap, albeit weary and ...
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1answer
2k views

Why did English borrow verbs ending in -ish? [closed]

Why did English borrow verbs ending in -ish, but not in anything else, from French? This seems quite obscure because it didn't import the verbs from the infinitive French forms, but through some sorts ...
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4answers
459 views

Is there any connection between 'biscuit' and 'bisque'?

I grew up in Australia being told: We don't eat cookies - they are biscuits! Now you could split hairs on the distinctions, but culturally this was important at the time. Now there is a French ...
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5answers
8k views

What is the English pronunciation of “nougat”?

Nougat is a French word, deriving originally from the Latin panis nucatus - (nut bread), one of the principle centres of its manufacture being in Montélimar in Provence - presumably for the almonds, ...
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2answers
671 views

Four Hundred Blows

The French expression faire les quatre cents coups seems to mean ‘to cause trouble in every possible way’. François Truffaut used the phrase for his movie Les quatre cents coups (1959), known in ...
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1answer
97 views

Term for “the class of landlords”

I have heard in several spoken discussions a term (which sounds kind of French and is maybe related to the English verb "rent") for the class of landlords - people who live off renting out properties ...