This article, however, covers words and phrases that generally entered the lexicon later, as through literature, the arts, diplomacy, and other cultural exchanges not involving conquests. As such, they have not lost their character as Gallicisms, or words that seem unmistakably foreign and "French" to an English speaker.
The phrases are given as used in English, and may seem correct modern French to English speakers, but may not be recognized as such by French speakers as many of them are now defunct or have drifted in meaning. A general rule is that, if the word or phrase retains French diacritics or is usually printed in italics, it has retained its French identity.
Few of these phrases are common knowledge to all English speakers, and for some English speakers most are rarely if ever used in daily conversation, but for other English speakers many of them are a routine part of both their conversational and their written vocabulary. They may however possibly be used more often in written than in spoken English.
idiomatic: in the style; In the United States, the phrase is used to describe a dessert with an accompanying scoop of ice cream (example: apple pie à la mode). In French, it also means trendy. Boeuf à la mode for instance is a beef recipe with ale, carrots and onions.
lit. "to God"; farewell; it carries more weight than au revoir ("goodbye," literally "until re-seeing"). It is definitive, implying you will never see the other person again. Depending on the context, misuse of this term can be considered as an insult, as one may wish for the other person's death or say that you do not wish to see the other person ever again while alive. It is used for au revoir in the south of France and to denote a deprivation from someone or something.
lit. "mouth amuser"; a single, bite-sized hors d'œuvre. In France, the exact expression used is amuse-gueule, gueule being slang for mouth (gueule is the mouth of a carnivorous animal; when used to describe the mouth of a human, it is vulgar), although the expression in itself is not vulgar (see also: cul-de-sac).
lit. "with juice", referring to a food course served with sauce. Often redundantly formulated, as in 'Open-faced steak sandwich, served with au jus.' No longer used in French, except for the slang être au jus (to be informed).
applied to cutting-edge or radically innovative movements in art, music and literature; figuratively "on the edge," literally, a military term, meaning "vanguard" (which is a corruption of avant-garde) or "advance guard," in other words, "first to attack" (antonym of arrière-garde).
avant la lettre
used to describe something or someone seen as a forerunner of something (such as an artistic or political movement) before that something was recognized and named, e.g., "a post-modernist avant la lettre," "a feminist avant la lettre." The expression literally means before the letter, i.e., "before it had a name." The French modern form of this expression is "avant l'heure".
a type of performance dance, best known for its flowing and precise acrobatic movements and for featuring female dancers on their toes. The French word in turn has its origin in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance) which comes from Latinballo, ballare, meaning "to dance", which in turn comes from the Greek "βαλλίζω" (ballizo), "to dance, to jump about".
Used interchangeably with the English equivalent of "lots of/many/a great number of". Appropriate when the speaker wants to convey a greater positive connotation and/or greater emphasis. Often used as an informal expression, mostly in small regional dialect-pockets in the Canadian Prairies and the American South, especially in Alberta and Louisiana respectively. Never for use with a qualitative suffix, only quantitative. Often associated with money.
lit. "beautiful gesture", a gracious gesture, noble in form but often futile or meaningless in substance. This French expression has been pressing at the door of standard English with only partial success, since the appearance of P.C. Wren's Beau Geste (1924), the first of his Foreign Legion novels.
a beautiful woman or girl. Common uses of this word are in the phrases the belle of the ball (the most beautiful woman or girl present at a function) and southern belle (a beautiful woman from the southern states of the US)
member of the bourgeoisie, originally shopkeepers living in towns in the Middle Ages. Now the term is derogatory, and it applies to a person whose beliefs, attitudes, and practices are conventionally middle-class.
small ornamental objects, less valuable than antiques; a collection of old furniture, china, plates and curiosities. Cf. de bric et de broc, corresponding to our "by hook or by crook," and brack, refuse.
a brown-haired girl. For brown-haired man, French uses brun and for a woman brune. Brunette is rarely used in French, unless in old literature, and its masculine form brunet (for a boy) is almost unheard of.
a diplomat left in charge of day-to-day business at a diplomatic mission. Within the United States Department of State a chargé is any officer left in charge of the mission in the absence of the titular chief of mission.
"look for / seek the woman," in the sense that, when a man behaves out of character or in an otherwise apparently inexplicable manner, the reason may be found in his trying to cover up an illicit affair with a woman, or to impress or gain favour with a woman. This expression was first used in a novel by Alexandre Dumas (père), in the third chapter of Les Mohicans de Paris (1854), in the form of 'cherchons la femme' (let's look for the woman). The expression is found in John Latey's 1878 English translation: "Ah! Monsieur Jackal, you were right when you said, 'Seek the woman.'" The phrase was adopted into everyday English use and crossed the Atlantic by 1909.
a commanding officer. In France, used for an airline pilot (le commandant de bord), in the Army as appellative for a chef de bataillon or a chef d'escadron (roughly equivalent to a major) or in the Navy for any officer from capitaine de corvette to capitaine de vaisseau (equivalent to the Army's majors, lieutenant-colonels and colonels) or for any officer heading a ship.
an agreement; a treaty; when used with a capital C in French, it refers to the treaty between the French State and Judaeo-Christian religions during the French Empire (Napoleon): priests, ministers and rabbis became civil servants. This treaty was abolished in 1905 (law Church-State separation) but is still in use in Alsace-Lorraine (those territories were under German administration during 1871–1918).
a cordon bleu may refer to several things, both in French and in English :
- A person who excels in cooking. - An award given to such a person. - An international group of hospitality management and cooking schools teaching French cuisine, founded in France. - An escalope of veal, chicken or pork stuffed with ham and cheese, then breaded and fried.
the final blow that results in victory (lit. "blow of mercy"), historically used in the context of the battlefield to refer to the killing of badly wounded enemy soldiers, now more often used in a figurative context (e.g., business).
Either a single blow that, alone, delivers a knockout (literally, to a person, or figuratively in politics or combat), or the "final blow" that decides such a contest analogous to coup de grâce, above. In French, means, "a blow with the hand."
coup de maître
stroke of the master, master stroke. This word describes a planned action skilfully done. See also tour de force below
a nativity display; more commonly (in the United Kingdom), a place where children are left by their parents for short periods in the supervision of childminders; both meanings still exist in French.
lit. "arse [buttocks] of the bag"; a dead-end street. Even though cul is vulgar in French, this expression in itself is not (see also amuse-gueule). Equivalent terms impasse or voie sans issue are also used in French.
lit. "sports director". A person responsible for the operation of a cycling team during a road bicycle race. In French, it means any kind of sports director.
an amusing diversion; entertainment.
a file containing detailed information about a person. In modern French it can be any type of file, including a computer directory. In slang, J'ai des dossiers sur toi ("I have files about you") means having materials for blackmail.
lit. "right of the lord": the purported right of a lord in feudal times to take the virginity of one of his vassals' brides on her wedding night (in precedence to her new husband). The French term for this hypothetical custom is droit de cuissage (from cuisse: thigh).
lit. "of the day": said of something fashionable or hip for a day and quickly forgotten; today's choice on the menu, as soup du jour .
lit. "grooming water." It usually refers to an aromatic product that is less expensive than a perfume because it has less of the aromatic compounds and is more for an everyday use. Cannot be shortened to eau, which means something else altogether in French (water).
(in ballet) on tiptoe. Though used in French in this same context, it is not an expression as such. A pointe is the ballet figure where one stands on tiptoes. The expression "en pointe," though, means "in an acute angle," and, figuratively, it qualifies the most progressive or modern things (ideas, industry…).
lit. "wit of the stairs"; a concise, clever statement you think of too late, that is, on the stairs leaving the scene. The expression was created by French philosopher Denis Diderot. Very rarely used in French.
lit. "accomplished fact"; something that has already happened and is thus unlikely to be reversed, a done deal. In French used only in the expression placer/mettre quelqu'un devant le fait accompli meaning to present somebody with a fait accompli.
lit. "deadly woman": an attractive woman who seduces and takes advantage of men for her personal goals, after which she discards or abandons them. It extends to describe an attractive woman with whom a relationship is likely to result, or has already resulted, in pain and sorrow.
lit. "little leaf of paper": a periodical, or part of a periodical, consisting chiefly of non-political news and gossip, literature and art criticism, a chronicle of the latest fashions, and epigrams, charades and other literary trifles.
betrothed; lit. a man/woman engaged to be married.
lit. "flower of salt," hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. Is one of the more expensive salts; traditional French fleur de sel is collected off the coast of Brittany most notably in the town of Guérande (Fleur de Sel de Guérande being the most revered), but also in Noirmoutier, Île de Ré and Camargue.
a simultaneous occurrence of delusions in two closely related people, often said of an unsuitable romance. In clinical psychology, the term is used to describe people who share schizophrenic delusions. The derived forms folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs do not exist in French where "collective hysterics" is used.
a horror show, named after a French theater famous for its frightening plays and bloody special effects. (Guignol can be used in French to describe a ridiculous person, in the same way that clown might be used in English.)
an innocent young man/woman, used particularly in reference to a theatrical stock character who is entirely virginal and wholesome. L'Ingénu is a famous novella written by Voltaire.
"I accuse"; used generally in reference to a political or social indictment (alluding to the title of Émile Zola's exposé of the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that divided France from the 1890s to the early 1900s (decade) and involved the false conviction for treason in 1894 of Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Jewish background).
In chess, an expression, said discreetly, that signals the intention to straighten the pieces without committing to move or capturing the first one touched as per the game's rules; lit. "I adjust," from adouber, to dub (the action of knighting someone).
lit. "gilded youth"; name given to a body of young dandies, also called the Muscadins, who, after the fall of Robespierre, fought against the Jacobins. Today used for youthful offspring, particularly if bullying and vandalistic, of the affluent.
lit. "call of the void"; used to refer to intellectual suicidal thoughts, or the urge to engage in self-destructive (suicidal) behaviors during everyday life. Examples include thinking about swerving in to the opposite lane while driving, or feeling the urge to jump off a cliff edge while standing on it. These thoughts are not accompanied by emotional distress.
separation of the State and the different Churches (at first, it concerned especially Catholicism). In France, where the concept originated, it means an absence of religious interference in government affairs and government interference in religious affairs. But the concept is often assimilated and changed by other countries. For example, in Belgium, it usually means the secular-humanist movement and school of thought.
Cajun expression for "let the good times roll": not used in proper French, and not generally understood by Francophones outside of Louisiana, who would say profitez des bons moments (enjoy the good moments).
lit. "new wave." Used for stating a new way or a new trend of something. Originally marked a new style of French filmmaking in the late 1950s and early 1960s, reacting against films seen as too literary.
lit. "chocolate bread". Unlike that which its name may suggest, it's not made of bread but puff pastry with chocolate inside. The term "chocolatine" is used in some Francophone areas (especially the South-West) and sometimes in English.
urban street sport involving climbing and leaping, using buildings, walls, curbs to ricochet off much as if one were on a skateboard, often in follow-the-leader style. It's actually the phonetic form of the French word parcours, which means "run." Also known as, or the predecessor to, "free running", developed by Sébastien Foucan.
a location where troops assemble prior to a battle. While this figurative meaning also exists in French, the first and literal meaning of "point d'appui" is a fixed point from which a person or thing executes a movement (such as a footing in climbing or a pivot).
Please reply. Though francophones may use more usually "prière de répondre," it is common enough. (Note: RSLP [Répondre s'il lui plaît] is used on old-fashioned invitations written in the 3rd person, usually in "Script" typography — at least in Belgium.)
the left (southern) bank (of the River Seine in Paris). A particular mindset attributed to inhabitants of that area, which includes the Sorbonne
lit. "do-nothing king": an expression first used about the kings of France from 670 to 752 (Thierry III to Childeric III), who were puppets of their ministers. The term was later used about other royalty who had been made powerless, also in other countries, but lost its meaning when parliamentarism made all royals powerless.
lit. "without knee-breeches," a name the insurgent crowd in the streets of Paris gave to itself during the French Revolution, because they usually wore pantaloons (full-length pants or trousers) instead of the chic knee-length culotte of the nobles. In modern use: holding strong republican views.
lit. "feat of strength": a masterly or brilliant stroke, creation, effect, or accomplishment.
lit. "in short": typically used in philosophy to mean "nothing else", in contrast to a more detailed or extravagant alternative. For instance, "Kant does not believe that morality derives from practical reason as applied to moral ends, but from practical reason tout court".
invited man/woman for a show, once "come"; unused in modern French, though it can still be used in a few expressions like bienvenu/e (literally "well come": welcome) or le premier venu (anyone; literally, "the first who came").
lit. "face to face [with]": in comparison with or in relation to; opposed to. From vis, an obsolete word for "face", replaced by visage in contemporary French. In French, it's also a real estate vocabulary word meaning that your windows and your neighbours' are within sighting distance (more precisely, that you can see inside of their home).
lit. "[long] live the difference"; originally referring to the difference between the sexes, the phrase may be used to celebrate the difference between any two groups of people (or simply the general diversity of individuals).
"Darn it!" or the British expression "Blimey!" This is a general exclamation (vulgar equivalent is merde alors ! "Damn it!"). Just plain zut is also in use, often repeated for effect: zut, zut et zut! There is an album by Frank Zappa titled Zoot Allures. The phrase is also used on the Saturday Night LiveWeekend Update sketch by recurring character Jean K. Jean, played by Kenan Thompson.
Not used as such in French
Through the evolution of the language, many words and phrases are no longer used in French. Also, there are those that, even though grammatically correct, do not have the same meaning in French as the English words that derive from them. Some of theses words are still used in Quebec.
personal military or fighting armaments worn about one's self; has come to mean the accompanying items available to pursue a mission, or just accessories in general. In French, means a funny or ridiculous clothing; often a weird disguise or a getup, though it can be said also for people with bad taste in clothing.
a police spy who infiltrates a group to disrupt or discredit it. In French it has both a broader and more specific meaning. The Académie française, in its dictionary, says that an agent provocateur is a person working for another State or a political party (for example), whose mission is to provoke troubles in order to justify repression.
an inlaid or attached decorative feature. Lit. "applied," though this meaning doesn't exist as such in French, the dictionary of the Académie française indicates that in the context of the arts, "arts appliqués" is synonym of decorative arts.
A counterattack that attempts to take advantage of an uncertain attack in fencing. Though grammatically correct, this expression is not used in French. The term "arrêt" exists in fencing, with the meaning of a "simple counteroffensive action"; the general meaning is "a stop." A French expression is close, though: "s'arrêter à temps" (to stop in time).
A film director, specifically one who controls most aspects of a film, or other controller of an artistic situation. The English connotation derives from French film theory. It was popularized in the journal Cahiers du cinéma: auteur theory maintains that directors like Hitchcock exert a level of creative control equivalent to the author of a literary work. In French, the word means author, but some expressions like "cinéma d'auteur" are also in use.
nude; in French, literally, in a natural manner or way (au is the contraction of à le, masculine form of à la). It means "in an unaltered way" and can be used either for people or things. For people, it rather refers to a person who does not use make-up or artificial manners (un entretien au naturel = a backstage interview). For things, it means that they have not been altered. Often used in cooking, like thon au naturel: canned tuna without any spices or oil. Also in heraldry, meaning "in natural colours," especially flesh colour, which is not one of the "standard" colours of heraldry.
fashionable; also, with ice cream (in the U.S.) or with cheese in some U.S. regions. In French, it mainly means "fashionable" but is rarely a culinary term usually meaning something cooked with carrots and onions, as in boeuf à la mode.
a scary or unpopular person, idea, or thing, or the archetypical scary monster in a story; literally "black beast." In French, être la bête noire de quelqu'un ("to be somebody's black beast") means that you're particularly hated by this person or this person has a strong aversion against you, regardless of whether you're scary or not. The dictionary of the Académie française admits its use only for people, though other dictionaries admits it for things or ideas too. It also means that you are unable to defeat that person in a repetitive way (for instance, "Nadal is the bete noire of Roger Federer). Colloquial in French.
a clothing store, usually selling designer/one off pieces rather than mass-produced clothes. Can also describe a quirky and/or upmarket hotel. In French, it can describe any shop, clothing or otherwise.
An issue arousing widespread controversy or heated public debate, lit. 'famous cause'. It is correct grammatically, but the expression is not used in French.
chacun à son goût
the correct expressions in French are chacun ses goûts / à chacun ses goûts / à chacun son goût: "to each his/her own taste(s)".
a classical "art song," equiv. to the German lied or the Italian aria; or, in Russian, a cabaret-style sung narrative, usually rendered by a guttural male voice with guitar accompaniment. In French, it simply means a song.
a manor house or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions. The word château is also used for castles in French, so where clarification is needed, the term château fort is used to describe a castle.
cinq à sept
extraconjugal affair between five and seven pm. In French, though it can also mean this, it primarily means any relaxing time with friends between the end of work and the beginning of the marital obligations.
a group of admirers; in old French, the claque was a group of people paid to applaud or disturb a piece at the theatre; in modern French, it means "a slap"; clique is used in this sense (but in a pejorative way).
A bouquet of flowers worn on a woman's dress or worn around her wrist. In French, it refers to a woman's chest (from shoulder to waist) and, by extension, the part of a woman's garment that covers this area.
a sudden change in government by force; literally "hit (blow) of state." French uses the capital É, because the use of a capital letter alters the meaning of the word (État: a State, as in a country; état: a state of being). It also cannot be shortened as coup, which means something else altogether in French.
first public performance of an entertainment personality or group. In French, it means "beginning." The English meaning of the word exists only when in the plural form: [faire] ses débuts [sur scène] (to make one's débuts on the stage).
a low-cut neckline, cleavage. In French it means: 1. action of lowering a female garment's neckline; 2. Agric.: cutting leaves from some cultivated roots such as beets, carrots, etc.; 3. Tech. Operation consisting of making screws, bolts, etc. one after another out of a single bar of metal on a parallel lathe.
a neighbourhood general/convenience store, term used in eastern Canada (often shortened to dép or dep). This term is commonly used in Canadian French; however, in France, it means a repairman. In France, a convenience store would be a supérette or épicerie [de quartier].
A request to repeat a performance, as in Encore!, lit. 'again'; also used to describe additional songs played at the end of a gig. Francophones would say «Une autre!» ('Another one!') to request « un rappel » or « un bis ».
in a mass or group, all together. In French, masse refers only to a physical mass, whether for people or objects. It cannot be used for something immaterial, like, for example, the voice: "they all together said 'get out'" would be translated as ils ont dit 'dehors' en choeur ([like a chorus]). Also, en masse refers to numerous people or objects (a crowd or a mountain of things).
as a set (not to be confused with ensuite, meaning "then"). Can refer, in particular, to hotel rooms with attached private bathroom, especially in Britain where hotels without private facilities are more common than in North America. In French, suite, when in the context of a hotel, already means several rooms following each other. J'ai loué une suite au Ritz would be translated as "I rented a suite at the Ritz." En suite is not grammatically incorrect in French, but it is not an expression in itself and it is not used.
comparable to (but not exactly the same as) turn-of-the-century but with a connotation of decadence, usually applied to the period from 1890 through 1910. In French, it means "end of the century," but it isn't a recognized expression as such.
a strength, a strong point, typically of a person, from the French fort(e) (strong) and/or Italian forte (strong, esp. "loud" in music) and/or Latin forte (neuter form of fortis, strong). French uses fort(e) for both people and objects.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, "In forte we have a word derived from French that in its "strong point" sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \'for-"tA\ and \'for-tE\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived forte. Their recommended pronunciation \'fort\, however, does not exactly reflect French either: the French would write the word le fort and would rhyme it with English for [French doesn't pronounce the final "t"]. All are standard, however. In British English \'fo-"tA\ and \'fot\ predominate; \'for-"tA\ and \for-'tA\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English."
The New Oxford Dictionary of English derives it from fencing. In French, le fort d'une épée is the third of a blade nearer the hilt, the strongest part of the sword used for parrying.
la sauce est tout
"The sauce is everything!" or "The secret's in the sauce!" Tagline used in a 1950s American television commercial campaign for an American line of canned food products. Grammatically correct but not used in French, where one might say Tout est dans la sauce or C'est la sauce qui fait (passer) le poisson (also fig.).
the sign above a theater that tells you what is playing. From marquise, which means not only a marchioness but also an awning. Theater buildings are generally old and nowadays there is never such a sign above them; there is only the advertisement for the play (l'affiche).
nostalgie de la boue
"yearning for the mud"; attraction to what is unworthy, crude or degrading. Though grammatically correct, it is not used in French.
out of the ordinary, unusual. In French, it means outraged (for a person) or exaggerated, extravagant, overdone (for a thing, esp. a praise, an actor's style of acting, etc.); in that second meaning, belongs to "literary" style.
in English a portmanteau is a large piece of luggage for clothes that opens (like a book or a diptych) into two parts. From this literal sense, Lewis Carroll, in his novel Through the Looking Glass playfully coined a further figurative sense for portmanteau meaning a word that fuses two or more words or parts of words to give a combined meaning. In French, lit. a 'coat-carrier', originally a person who carried the royal coat or dress train, now a large suitcase; more often, a clothes hanger. The equivalent of the English/ Lewis-Carroll portemanteau is un mot-valise (lit. a suitcase word).
a type of author intrusion in which a writer inserts a character to argue the author's viewpoint; alter ego, sometimes called 'author avatar'. In French, a raisonneur is a character in a play who stands for morality and reason, i.e., not necessarily the author's point of view. The first meaning of this word though is a man (fem. raisonneuse) who overdoes reasonings, who tires by objecting with numerous arguments to every order.
repetition of previous music in a suite, programme, etc. In French, it may mean an alternate version of a piece of music, or a cover version. To express the repetition of a previous musical theme, French would exclusively use the Italian term coda.
in North American English, a document listing one's qualifications for employment. In French, it means summary; French speakers would use instead curriculum vitæ, or its abbreviation, C.V. (like most other English speakers)
sexually suggestive; in French, the meaning of risqué is "risky," with no sexual connotation. Francophones use instead osé (lit. "daring") or sometimes dévergondé (very formal language). Osé, unlike dévergondé, cannot be used for people themselves, only for things (such as pictures) or attitudes.
in English, when used it usually refers to type of meal: a full-course meal offered at a fixed price. However in French, it refers to a type of lodging: the closest English equivalent would be "a bed & breakfast" or "B&B." The origin of the meaning (for French speakers) is that at a table d'hôte (literally "table of the house" or "table of the host"), unlike at a full-service purpose-built hotel, all patrons eat together at the host's table, whatever the family have prepared for themselves (typically traditional regional dishes). Indeed, in France today a lodging labelled "table d'hôte" my perhaps not even offer food; the appellation meaning what an English-speaker would think of as a "bed & breakfast -style" family-home lodging (as opposed to a purpose-built hotel). In French, "table d'hôte" is pronounced essentially "tab-dote" with two syllables only.
"camp assistant"; in the army, a military assistant to a senior military officer (heads of State are considered military officers because of their status as head of the army). In Canada, it may also refer to the honorary position a person holds as a personal assistant to a high civil servant. It is written "aide de camp" (without any hyphens) in French.
Avant-garde's antonym. French (and most English) speakers use arrière-garde (either in a military or artistic context).
in English, a person who cooks professionally for other people. In French, a professional cook is a restaurateur. A chef (lit. head), means a master cook or chief cook. Also, sous-chef, the second-in-command, directly under the head chef. Additionally, in a work context, a chef is one's boss.
a class of women of ill repute; a fringe group or subculture. Fell out of use in the French language in the 19th century. Frenchmen still use "une demi-mondaine" to qualify a woman that lives (exclusively or partially) of the commerce of her charms but in a high-life style.
a figure of speech wherein a word or phrases can be taken to have two distinct coherent meanings, most often in a fashion that is suggestive and/or ironic. The phrase has its etymological origins in French - 'double' having the same meaning in both languages and 'entendre' meaning "to hear"; however the English phrase is grammatically incorrect and is a corruption of the original French phrase "à double entente", meaning a double understanding or double interpretation (literally, "with a double hearing"). The modern French rendering is "double sens" and the English phrase is more or less meaningless.
term used for films that are influenced by other films, in particular by the works of a notable director. French word is written "hommage," and is used for all shows of admiration, respect, or in a close sense for dedication of an artwork to another.
term used for the snacks served with drinks before a meal. Literally "outside of the work". The French use apéritif to refer to the time before a meal and both the food and drink consumed during that time, yet "hors d'œuvre" may still be used in a more formal context.
translates as master o'. Francophones would say maître d'hôtel (literally "master of the house" or "master of the establishment") instead (French never uses "d'" alone). Note too that in English, in this phrase, the "d" is pronounced "dee", whereas in French the "d" as part of "doh-tel" is pronounced "doh"; the "dee" sound would be meaningless in French. (There is no break at all between the "d" and "otel" in French.) Note that in English, "maître d'" is perhaps more suggestive of the "head waiter", the manager of the service side, whereas in French, it can be used more for the actual overall manager of the whole establishment, or indeed the owner.
literally "red" in Canadian football, awarded when the ball is kicked into the end zone by any legal means, other than a successful field goal, and the receiving team does not return, or kick, the ball out of its end zone.
a trial within a trial, or (in America) jury selection (Law French). Literally "to speak the truth." (Anglo-Normanvoir [truth] is etymologically unrelated to the modern French voir [to see].) In modern American court procedure, the examination of prospective jurors for their qualification to serve, including inherent biases, views and predelictions; during this examination, each prospective juror must "speak the truth" so that counsel and the court may decide whether they should remain on the jury or be excused. In England and Wales, the expression is used to refer to a "trial within a trial," during which a judge hears evidence in the absence of the jury, typically to decide whether a certain piece of evidence should be allowed to be presented to the jury or not. For example, a judge might hold a "voir dire" to determine whether a confession has been extracted from a defendant by an unfair inducement in order to decide whether the jury should hear evidence of the confession or not.
French phrases in international air-sea rescue
International authorities have adopted a number of words and phrases from French for use by speakers of all languages in voice communications during air-sea rescues. Note that the "phonetic" versions of spelling are presented as shown and not the IPA.
([venez] m'aider, come to help me"; note that aidez-moi means "help me") the following is a message of extreme urgency, the highest level of danger. (MAYDAY is used on voice channels for the same uses as SOS on Morse channels.)
(silence, "silence") keep this channel clear for air-sea rescue communications.
SEELONCE FEE NEE
(silence fini, "silence is over") this channel is now available again.
(prudence, "prudence") silence partially lifted, channel may be used again for urgent non-distress communication.
MAY DEE CAL
(médical, "medical") medical assistance needed.
It is a serious breach in most countries, and in international zones, to use any of these phrases without justification.
^"I like my nature programmes à la Attenborough, where Nature is the subject matter and the presenter remains unobtrusive," Christina Odone, Moving experiences should be private, The Daily Telegraph, Thursday, September 12, 1996.
^The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, third edition, edited by R.W. Burchfield, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, p. 98-99.
^"Except for the strong possibility that – like former Bishop Roddy Wright of Argyll and the Isles – I would, in fact, be breaking off to pen a billet-doux to a divorcée of the parish, or a furtive birthday card to my secret teenage son," Mark Lawson, The boy who would be Pope, The Guardian Weekly, Saturday 21 September 1996.
^Eric Partridge: Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 1951
^"Step forward Naomi Campbell, supermodel, sometime novelist and now chanteuse, whose La La La song has sold 1.7 m copies in Japan alone," John Harlow, Pop world laments dying scream of the teenyboppers chorus, The Sunday Times, 18 August 1996.
^"Bush and his confrères are personally implicated in the current wave of corporate scandals," Jonathan Freedland, How British Could Lose, The Guardian of London, Wednesday, July 24, 2002
^"Altogether it was a fabulous coup de théâtre and a stunning deus ex machina," A. A. Gill, Hello dollies, everywhere, The Sunday Times, News Review, 27 October 1996.
^"Mother, 14, is denied school crèche," The Times, Saturday August 31, 1996.
^"Working during the summer is de rigueur for the majority of students," Peter and Lynne Boundy, When parents are on the breadline, The Times, Tuesday September 10, 1996.
^"a sweet but intoxicating digestif," Satyr, Into the mouths of babes and sucklings, The Observer, Business, 18 August 1996.
^"But then the dossier will be buried and with it the real truth," Roger Faligot, Grave issue that won't die down, The European, 8–14 August 1996.
^"The late Elizabeth David, the doyenne of cookery writers, must be turning in her grave," Evening Standard, London's Diary, Thursday, 12 September 1996.
^"Vanity Fair, that glossy barometer of 'the importance of being fabulous', is planning an extended spread on London as the 'happening' city du jour," Douglas Kennedy, We're finally speaking their language, The Sunday Times, The Culture, 27 October 1996.
^"I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb," Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, 1813.
^"May I remind your readers that planning permission has not yet been sought for the [Foster] tower, nor is it a fait accompli," Paul Drury (English Heritage), Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 18 August 1996
^Evelyn Waugh was very close to not being asked back to La Mauresque after one grave faux pas that Maugham, known for his stammer, did not find amusing. To his host's question about what a certain individual was like, Waugh replied characteristically, 'a pansy with a stammer'. He recalled, "All the Picassos on the wall blanched, but Maugham remained calm", John Whitley, A little place in the sun, Telegraph Magazine, 17 August 1996.
^"Some femmes fatales play to a man's sexuality, some to his intelligence, but she just played to my damn ego," Ed Rollins, Arianna, News Review, The Sunday Times, 11 August 1996.
^"Ed Victor, doyen of literary agents and habitué of the Hamptons, a celebrity playground in Long Island, New York State," P.H.S., The Times Diary, The Times, Saturday September 21, 1996.
^"The French right-wing daily [Le Figaro] pleads for tolerance of American hauteur," Press Watch, The European, 8–14 August 1996.
^"This has provoked speculation that Yeltsin is too ill to be operated on. Perhaps the two German doctors offering their services can help resolve the impasse," Carey Scott, Inside Moscow, The Sunday Times, 15 September 1996.
^"An investigation was started over allegations that the local jeunesse dorée had been involved in a drugs, drink and sex orgy in the cemetery," Roger Faligot, Grave issue that won't die down, The European, 8–14 August 1996.
^"Brunswick Street [...] a small-scale version of Manhattan's East Village, [...] where there is always an intense would-be litterateur scribbling madly at a corner table in some smoky dive," Douglas Kennedy, Light relief in a tale of two cities, The Times Weekend, Saturday August 24, 1996.
^"She liked to alternate her smart parties with much more louche affairs at which drugs circulated as frequently as the cocktails," John Whitley, A little place in the sun, Telegraph Magazine, 17 August 1996.
^"I've always thought Anne Boleyn was a bit of a madame. She thought she could get away with anything," Interview of Keith Michell, The Observer Review, 27 October 1996.
^"Harry Walston had little option but to let [Graham] Greene form part of their unusual ménage à trois: Catherine had made it plain to Harry that if he wanted to keep her, Greene must remain part of her life," P.H.S., The Times Diary, The Times, Saturday September 21, 1996.
^"Bouncing out of the shower to investigate the commotion came a boxer whose nom de guerre says it all: the Grim Reaper," Peter Hillmore, Pendennis, The Observer Review, 27 October 1996.
^"Throughout the year, the acquisition of a new vase or photograph, or the discovery of an object trouvé – a skeleton leaf, a fragment of painted paper, an intriguingly shaped piece of wood – is the excuse for a bout of rearranging," Elspeth Thompson, Still life with Agnès, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, 18 August 1996.
^"Fleur Cowles knows everybody who is anybody and mostly has the photographs to prove it. A saunter through her hallway produces more evidence of a networker par excellence," Mary Riddell, How to make friends, The Times, Tuesday August 13, 1996.
^"But just because a word has briefly become part of the nation's playground patois, does that qualify it for a place in the OED?," Jon Stock, Mish to explain – a rap session wiv yoof, Weekend Telegraph, Saturday August 17, 1996.
^"Prices of developments [at Rotherhithe] are rising as professionals working at Canary Wharf and elsewhere in Docklands seek a pied à terre," The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday August 14, 1996.
^"[Daniel] Harding is a protégé of Sir Simon Rattle, himself once heralded as the great young hope of British Music," Nigel Reynolds, Britain's latest prodigy takes up toughest baton, The Daily Telegraph, Thursday, September 12, 1996.
^"Undoubtedly his modus operandi is not unlike the fluent pub raconteur who augments a story until he gets a laugh," Bill Bryson, A Yank at the court of Little England, The Sunday Times, 11 August 1996.
^"A startling number of American restaurateurs have turned to caviar chic as a sure way of winning customers," Tony Allen Mills, Style, 15 September 1996.
^"As one of the Prime Minister's most devoted supporters put it to me, 'Tory policy is based on the democratic philosophy of Aristotle and Pluto,' and was quite uncomprehending at my riposte that Pluto is a cartoon dog invented by Walt Disney," Brian Sewell, Greedy, vain and arrogant – the politicians who insult us all, Evening Standard, 13 August 1996.
^"This roman à clef sets out to recount the struggle between the media moguls Robert Maxwell [...] and Rupert Murdoch," Review by Laurence Meyer of Jeffrey Archer's The Fourth Estate, International Herald Tribune, Wednesday July 31, 1996.
^"The pictures he took of [Julia] Roberts — sans new boyfriend — will run in the American tabloid The Star," Videonasties, The Sunday Times, Style, 18 august 1996.
^"Nigel Lawson used to be known by the sobriquet of 'Smuggins'," Peter Hillmore, Pendennis, The Observer Review, 27 October 1996.
^"So they come up with a succes d'estime and a series of flops d'estime follow," Christopher Fildes, Take it easy Mr Bond, help is on the way – Miss Moneypenny will fix it, Business News, The Daily Telegraph, Saturday, August 17, 1996.
^"The focus of the salon was the magnificent chimney piece, a tour de force in moulded and faceted glass – and housing an up-to-date electric fire," Kenneth Powell, Mayfair's hidden treasure, The Sunday Review, The Sunday Telegraph, August 18, 1996
^"The film begins briskly, with [...] a tour-de-force action scene in mid-air", Nigel Andrews, Super hero into super-hulk, Financial Times, Thursday August 22, 1996.
^"It [the proposed agreement] also involves the banks swapping at least £2 billion debt into two tranches of convertible securities which would, if converted, give them between 25% and 80% of the fully diluted equity," Jonathan Ford, Tunnel debt talks hit conversion snag, Evening Standard, Business Day, Thursday, 12 September 1996.
^"De Gaulle was always proud of displaying "la différence" vis-à-vis the Americans in the Arab world," Kirsty Lang, They're not all right, Jacques, The Sunday Times, 27 October 1996.
^"a nation of voyeurs: people who get their gustatory kicks from watching other people cook but don't actually do it themselves," Brenda Maddox, Cooking for kitchen voyeurs, The Times, Wednesday September 11, 1996.
^"Teacher Alan Faulkner warned: 'Some of the skirts were getting very risque and [...] the girls would face disciplinary action'," Daily Mail, Saturday September 21, 1996.
^"The living room, with its leather sofa from Harrods, payphone and glass coffee table, is the pièce de résistance," My friend the high-flying dole cheat, The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday, August 14, 1996.
^voir dire The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2006)