cul-de-sac "bottom (butt) of the bag"
In French, débutante is the feminine form of débutant - beginner (noun) or beginning (adj). In both languages, it also refers to a young girl making her formal début into society. Interestingly, this usage is not original in French; it was adopted back from English.
décolletage, décolleté "low neckline, lowered neckline"
The first is a noun, the second an adjective, but both refer to low necklines on women's clothing.
The French word simply refers to the act of tasting, while in English "degustation" is used for a tasting event or party, as in wine or cheese tasting.
déjà vu "already seen"
This is a grammatical structure in French, as in Je l'ai déjà vu=> I've already seen it. It can also disparage a style or technique that has already been done, as in Son style est déjà vu=> His style is not original.
In English, déjà vu refers to the scientific phenomenon of feeling like you have already seen or done something when you're sure that you haven't: a feeling of déjà vu = une impression de déjà vu.
demimonde "half world"
1. A marginal or disrespectful group
2. Prostitutes and/or kept women
demitasse "half cup"
Refers to a small cup of espresso or other strong coffee.
démodé "out of fashion"
Same meaning in both languages: outmoded, out of fashion
de rigueur "of rigueur"
Socially or culturally obligatory
dernier cri "last cry"
The newest fashion or trend
de trop "of too much"
Dieu et mon droit "God and my right"
Motto of the British monarch
double entendre "double hearing"
A word play or pun. For example, you're looking at a field of sheep and you say "How are you (ewe)?"
du jour "of the day"
"Soup du jour" is nothing more than an elegant-sounding version of "soup of the day."
droit du seigneur "right of the lord of the manor"
The feudal lord's right to deflower his vassal's bride
eau de Cologne "water from Cologne"
This is often cut down to simply "cologne" in English. Cologne is the French and English name for the German city Köln.
eau de toilette "toilet water"
Toilet here does not refer to a commode - see toilette, below. Eau de toilette is a very weak perfume.
embarras de richesse, richesses "embarrassement of wealth/richness"
Such an overwhelming amount of good fortune that it's embarrassing or confusing
en banc "on the bench"
Legal: indicates that the entire membership of a court is in session.
en bloc "in a block"
In a group, all together
en brochette "on (a) skewer"
Also known by the Turkish name: shish kebab
A simple adverb in French, "encore" in English refers to an additional performance, usually requested with audience applause.
enfant terrible "terrible child"
Refers to a troublesome or embarrassing person within a group (of artists, thinkers, etc).
en garde "on guard"
Warning that one should be on his/her guard, ready for an attack (originally in fencing).
en masse "in mass"
In a group, all together
en passant "in passing"
in passing, by the way; (chess) the capturing of a pawn after a specific move
en prise "in grasp"
(chess) exposed to capture
en rapport "in agreement"
en route "on route"
On the way
en suite "in sequence"
Part of a set, together
entente cordiale "cordial agreement"
friendly agreements between countries, especially those signed in 1904 between France and the UK
entrez vous "come in
Chic sounds more chic than "stylish."
cinéma vérité "cinema truth"
Unbiased, realistic documentary filmmaking
comme il faut "as it must"
The proper way, as it should be
cordon bleu "blue ribbon"
cordon sanitaire "sanitary line"
Quarantine, buffer zone for political or medical reasons.
coup de foudre "bolt of lightning"
Love at first sight
coup de grâce "mercy blow"
Deathblow, final blow, decisive stroke
coup d'état "state blow"
Overthrow of the government
crème brûlée "burnt cream"
Baked custard with carmelized crust
crème caramel "caramel cream"
Synonym of flan - custard lined with caramel
crème de cacao "cream of cacao"
crème de la crème "cream of the cream"
Synonymous with the English expression "cream of the crop" - refers to the best of the best.
crème de menthe "cream of mint"
crème fraîche "fresh cream"
This is a funny term. Despite its meaning, crème fraîche is in fact slightly fermented, thickened cream.
crêe de Chine "Chinese crepe"
Type of silk
cri de cœur "cry of heart"
The correct way to say "heartfelt cry" in French is cri du cœur (literally, "cry of the heart")
crime passionnel "passionate crime"
Crime of passion
critique "critical, judgment"
Critique is an adjective and noun in French, but a noun and verb in English; it refers to a critical review of something or the act of performing such a review.
cuisine "kitchen, food style"
In English, cuisine refers only to a particular type of food/cooking, such as French cuisine, Southern cuisine, etc.
Terry you hit the jackpot on the thread! These translations are almost better than Audible's! Thank you!
Thanks Bethany! Glad the group is helpful for you on both language fronts and we certainly enjoy seeing you here and knowing Terry's posts are helping so many!
Thank you Terry! Thought I was losing my memory again
Thank you too for helping us so much! You are so awesome! One of a kind!
Hi Ms. P. I am enjoying reading the Spanish each day....but would like to read French the same way....I cannot move to France as you know Ms. P., but that is O.K., but sure would love to learn a bit of the Language anyway....Am loving learning the words in Spanish each day....as Lone puts them up. I have a lot of neighbors who speak Spanish, and one old time friend whose mother is from Mexico, so maybe I can try a little on her one day....Haha. Thanks you guys for the fun....Best regards, Bethany
art déco "decorative art"
Short for art décoratif
art nouveau "new art"
Characterized by flowers, leaves, and flowing lines
A person assigned to a diplomatic post
au contraire "on the contrary"
Usually used playfully in English.
au fait "conversant, informed"
Au fait is used in British English to mean "familiar" or "conversant": She's not really au fait with my ideas.
au gratin "with gratings"
In French, au gratin refers to anything that is grated and put on top of a dish, like breadcrumbs or cheese. In English, au gratin means "with cheese."
au jus "in the juice"
Served with the meat's natural juices.
au naturel "in reality, unseasoned"
In this case naturel is a semi-false cognate. In French, au naturel can mean either "in reality" or the literal meaning of "unseasoned" (in cooking). In English, we picked up the latter, less common usage and use it figuratively, to mean natural, untouched, pure, real.
au pair "at par"
A person who works for a family (cleaning and/or teaching the children) in exchange for room and board
aux trois crayons "with three crayons"
Drawing technique using three colors of chalk
avant-garde "before guard"
Innovative, especially in the arts
avoirdupois "goods of weight"
Originally spelled averdepois
belle éoque "beautiful era"
The golden age of art and culture in France in the early 20th century
bête noire "black beast"
Similar to a pet peeve: something that is particularly distasteful or difficult and to be avoided.
billet-doux "sweet note"
blond, blonde "fair-haired"
This is the only adjective in English which agrees in gender with the person it modifies: blond is for a man and blonde for a woman. Note that these can also be nouns.
bon appétit "good appetite"
The closest English equivalent is "Enjoy your meal."
bon mot, bons mots "good word(s)"
Clever remark, witticism
bon ton "good tone"
Sophistication, etiquette, high society
bon vivant "good 'liver'"
Someone who lives well, who knows how to enjoy life.
bon voyage "good trip"
English has "Have a good trip," but Bon voyage is more elegant.
brunette "small, dark-haired female"
The French word brun, dark-haired, is what English really means by "brunette." The -ette suffix indicates that the subject is small and female.
café au lait "coffee with milk"
Same thing as the Spanish term café con leche
carte blanche "blank card"
Free hand, ability to do whatever you want/need
cause célèbre "famous cause"
A famous, controversial issue, trial, or case
The French word for the fruit gives us the English word for the color.
c'est la vie "that's life"
Same meaning and usage in both languages
chaise longue "long chair"
In English, this is often mistakenly written as "chaise lounge" - which actually makes perfect sense.
chargé d'affaires "charged with business"
A substitute or replacement diplomat
chef d'œuvre "chief work"
cheval-de-frise "Frisian horse"
Barbed wire, spikes, or broken glass attached to wood or masonry and used to block access
cheval glace "horse mirror"
A long mirror set into a moveable frame
adieu "until God"
Used like "farewell": when you don't expect to see the person again until God (when you die and go to Heaven)
agent provocateur "provocative agent"
A person who attempts to provoke suspected individuals or groups into committing unlawful acts
aide-de-camp "camp assistant"
A military officer who serves as a personal assistant to a higher-ranking officer
aide-mémoire "memory aid"
1. Position paper
2. Something that acts as an aid to memory, such as crib notes or mnemonic devices
à la carte "on the menu*"
French restaurants usually offer a menu with choices for each of the several courses at a fixed price (how to read a French menu). If you want something else (a side order), you order from the carte. *Note that menu is a false cognate in French and English.
à la mode "in fashion, style"
In English, this means "with ice cream" - apparently someone decided that having ice cream on pie was the fashionable way to eat it.
amour-propre "self love"
From Latin, "to open"
après-ski "after skiing"
The French term actually refers to snow boots, but the literal translation of the term is what is meant in English, as in "après-ski" social events.
à propos (de) "on the subject of"
In French, à propos must be followed by the preposition de. In English, there are four ways to use apropos (we leave out the accent and the space):
1. Adjective - appropriate, to the point: "That's true, but it's not apropos."
2. Adverb - at an appropriate time, opportunely: "Fortunately, he arrived apropos."
3. Adverb/Interjection - by the way, incidentally: "Apropos, what happened yesterday?"
4. Preposition (may or may not be followed by of) - with regard to, speaking of: "Apropos our meeting, I'll be late"; "He told a funny story apropos of the new president."
had one and care2 deleted it