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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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etymology of dragon [closed]

According to etymonline, dragon is from the old French dragon, which was derived from the ancient Greek word drakon. Why did the letter k change to g in old French but didn't change back to "c&...
zzzgoo's user avatar
  • 287
0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Meaning of the borrowing "programé" (found as a noun in English, but an adjective in French)

As most often is the case, when a word with a French form, but used as English vocabulary, is the object of a Google search in the English corpus, the result is a series of hits strictly out of the ...
LPH's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why “nouveau riche” but “art nouveau?”

In English, why are the adjectives in different places in nouveau riche and art nouveau? Is that an artifact of the original French, a corruption in adoption, or something else? (Apologies if this is ...
templatetypedef's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
123 views

Word equivalent to "prestation" in French in the administrative field

I'm searching for an English word which could have the same meaning than the word "prestation" in french, in the sense of "some service (paid or not) that has been executed by an ...
swiss_knight's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
230 views

Why is "sepulcher" pronounced the way it is?

Since I first read it, I always pronounced the word "sepulcher" as /səˈpal.tʃə/, but recently I learned that the correct pronunciation is /ˈsɛ.pəl.kə/, or slight variations thereof. Now, ...
Cecilia's user avatar
  • 113
16 votes
6 answers
3k views

Are there examples of mutual loanwords in French and in English?

I was once asked the question: What French word is commonly used in English for which an English word is commonly used in French? The answer was respectively rendezvous and date, which I found very ...
Mat's user avatar
  • 286
19 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why does English use the French "sans" for sans serif?

Is it because France had impactful printers and typecutters like the Garamonds and Jensons in the Renaissance? Or is it about being elegant and “Frenchified” when talking about something as peculiar ...
Dr Florence Hazrat's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
40 views

Past perfect when the action is separated from the present by facts that are common knowledge to the speakers but not mentioned

Page 59 of Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference reads: There is a tense in French which is formed like the English past perfect, and its usage corresponds generally to the English tense....
GJC's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
80 views

Why did English start verbalizing Latin past participles, not keep nativizing infinitive suffixes like it used to do to French verbs? [closed]

The way English adapted French verbs used to be quite straightforward: swap the French infinitive suffixes with Middle English -en: Latin crīdāre > Old French crier > Middle English crien (13th ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
150 views

How did -ing become a suffix for both present participles and nouns derived from verbs?

In non-modern and non-Middle-English Germanic languages, present participles and nouns derived from verbs look and sound very different: English: wend - wending - wending Middle English: wenden - ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
213 views

What is the English equivalent of the French word "consigne" in English (in the classroom context)?

What is the English equivalent of the French word "consigne"? I am referring here to the classroom context, so in phrases such as "consigne de l'exercice". See also the picture at ...
Starckman's user avatar
  • 215
-1 votes
1 answer
221 views

Sobriquet: Tap under the chin, origin unknown?

We see here https://www.etymonline.com/word/sobriquet and it says "origin unknown." Is this to say, the connection between the literal meaning and the current meaning is unknown? I would ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 603
2 votes
1 answer
497 views

Using a capital letter at the start of a French surname in written English

To mention, in English, the French mathematician Guillaume de l'Hôpital only by his surname, should I write De l'Hôpital or de l'Hôpital? Should I use some other combination? I would use the reference ...
MathBug's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
576 views

(Mis-)pronunciation of ‘accoutrement’ that ends in -L not in -NT?

I’m interested in the apparent mispronunciation of the word accoutrement [əˈkutrəmənt]. Although it’s not a word I encounter daily, when occasioned upon, I often hear the speaker pronounce it as [...
retriever123's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
4k views

Origin of the phrase "to have no truck with"

This phrase "to have no truck with" has bothered me ever since I stumbled upon it, the reason being it makes no logical sense whatsoever even remotely if you go by the lexical meaning of the ...
Shreyan Das's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
426 views

Etymology of the word "erre" in English

I'm currently working on Bible translations and have stumbled accross the word "erre" in James (1: 2-18) of the King James Bible. To be more specific in verse 16: Doe not erre, my beloued ...
JavaApprentice's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
161 views

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 ...
d-b's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
136 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 ...
auzn's user avatar
  • 111
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 ...
GJC's user avatar
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22 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". ...
juminet's user avatar
  • 331
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 ...
MDescamps's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
0 answers
836 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&...
Elsa's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Fredy31's user avatar
  • 215
2 votes
2 answers
101 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 ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
132 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?
wyphan's user avatar
  • 103
2 votes
0 answers
74 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 ...
Spotted's user avatar
  • 121
0 votes
3 answers
107 views

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

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 ...
Czyzby's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
2 answers
216 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 ...
Onita's user avatar
  • 111
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 ...
mcadorel's user avatar
  • 467
0 votes
2 answers
316 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 ...
Justina Colmena's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
89 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, ...
JK2's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
351 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.
David Werling's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
7k 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. ...
billyandriam's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
105 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.
dblouis's user avatar
  • 111
14 votes
8 answers
10k 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 ...
Théophile Pace's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
124 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 ...
LittleBig's user avatar
  • 121
0 votes
1 answer
252 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 ...
BeatsMe's user avatar
  • 1,478
37 votes
13 answers
12k 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 ...
Qrom's user avatar
  • 479
0 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
27k views

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

How do Brits and Americans pronounce pain au chocolat?
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
243 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" ...
Gustavo Straube's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
133 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)
TheDevKiller's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
275 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 ...
MarsBars's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
ChilliDoughnuts's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k 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 > ...
lly's user avatar
  • 10.3k
1 vote
0 answers
65 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 ...
Martine G.'s user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
2 answers
751 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".
Hawker65's user avatar
  • 139
1 vote
2 answers
689 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?
Jonathan Grey's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
6k 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 ...
Ahmed's user avatar
  • 4,657