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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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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3answers
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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1answer
379 views

English versus French grammar

Recently, on the internet, I have heard people say that one should conjugate certain adjectives that are closely related to French. For example, blond for males and blonde for females in the singular ...
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5answers
2k 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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6answers
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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3answers
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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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0answers
25 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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8answers
9k views

Is there an idiom that conveys the meaning of the French “mi figue mi raisin”?

The French idiom “mi figue, mi raisin” (literally: “half fig, half grape”) refers to someone or something that is neither entirely good, nor entirely bad. I guess the meaning of the expression can be ...
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2answers
2k 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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1answer
96 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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2answers
890 views

How is a misuse of punctuation spacing perceived by native British and American people?

I am a Frenchie and an English enthusiast. In my language, we use spaces before quotation marks, exclamation marks, and colons. While I'm aware that this is not the case in English, there are times ...
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2answers
69 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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Why does “attach” have two Ts but “detach” only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: attach detach Shouldn't they be ...? attach dettach Or …? atach detach
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0answers
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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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2answers
92 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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4answers
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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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22answers
13k views

Are there any "fake" French words used in English?

Are there any "fake" French words used in English? By "fake French" I mean words that are of French origin but are not actually correct French. This could happen if the word changes as it becomes ...
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0answers
62 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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2answers
120 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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3answers
71 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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6answers
14k 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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3answers
1k views

Pronunciation of foreign words by foreign speakers

I've used English for a long time and it isn't immediately obvious to others that I'm native French. Whenever I say a French word or place name in English I wonder whether I should pronounce it like ...
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2answers
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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4answers
394 views

Polarly opposite connotations of 'head'?

Such aphorisms as 'Think With Your Head, Not Your Heart' connote positivity of the noun 'head', but such English words as heady and testy connote negativity. So why this clash and polarity of ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
140 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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1answer
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What is the meaning of "pet au pair"?

Granted, this looks french, I've seen this used and referenced in English. I see it used a lot with dog walking businesses or pet sitting companies, although I have no idea what it means. Google ...
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0answers
55 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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1answer
110 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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1answer
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Antonym of "crème de la crème"

The phrase "crème de la crème" means to be the best of the best. Is there a phrase that means the opposite of this, that is, to be the worst of the worst? The phrase doesn't have to come from French.
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0answers
100 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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4answers
1k views

How did 'estate' evolve to mean 'area of land or property'?

The following are definitions of the word 'estate': estate {noun} = 1. An area or amount of land or property, in particular = 3. {archaic or literary} A particular state, period, or condition in life ...
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7answers
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Pronunciation of "cache"

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...
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8answers
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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3answers
884 views

English translation for the different parts of a course as found in French schools/universities

What would be the transposition to the US school/university system of the French expressions: “cours” (that is lecture, listening to the teacher) “travaux dirigés” (lit. directed works, students ...
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2answers
1k 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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5answers
14k views
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2answers
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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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0answers
103 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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1answer
206 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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13answers
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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4answers
658 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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4answers
873 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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1answer
149 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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2answers
104 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
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 ...
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1answer
142 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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1answer
748 views

Why do the French say "dent" where the English say "tooth? [closed]

I am preparing for an exam in "Earlier Englishes" and I have following question out of a mock exam: Why do the French say dent where the English say tooth? The answer gives 3 points, so may be there ...
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1answer
118 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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4answers
572 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 ...