The first part of “French Words in English” looked at 20 words of French origin which are commonly used in English nowadays. This blog will focus on the same thing. So, let’s switch to French mode!
1. Mirage /mɪˈrɑːʒ/ a) a strange effect in a desert or at sea in which you see something that is not really there: Desert mirages occur because light bends to move through warmer, less dense air. b) something that seems to be real or true but is not really so: This love is just a mirage.
2. Garage /ɡəˈrɑːʒ/ (US), /ˈɡærɑːʒ/ (UK) – a) a small building, often built next to a house, that you can put a car in: Put the car in the garage. b) a business that repairs or sells cars, and sometimes also sells fuel: Nancy took her car to a local garage for a check-up.
3. Chauffeur /ʃəʊˈfɜːr/ (US), /ˈʃəʊfər/ (UK) – someone whose job is to drive a car for someone else: My chauffeur will take you to town. To chauffeur someone is to drive a rich and important person around in their car as your job, usually wearing a special uniform: I don’t have to chauffeur him around anymore.
4. Carte blanche /ˌkɑːtˈblɑːnʃ/ – complete freedom to do what you want: She was given carte blanche to make whatever changes she wanted.
5. Deja vu /ˌdeɪʒɑːˈvuː/ a feeling that you have already experienced exactly what is happening now: I have a strong sense of deja vu.
6. Matinée (also matinee) /ˈmætɪneɪ/ (US), /mætəˈneɪ/ (UK) – an afternoon performance of a play or film: This is a matinée.
7. Encore /ˈɒŋkɔːr/ – an extra song or piece of music that is performed at the end of a show because the audience shout for it: She could hear the crowd screaming for an encore. To encore is to perform an encore: They encore with one of their oldest songs.
8. Touché /tuːˈʃeɪ/ – said for admitting that someone has said something better, funnier, or cleverer in answer to what you or someone else has just said: The children finally came up with an argument that proved their dad wrong and, “Touché,” was all he could say.
9. Risqué /rɪˈskeɪ/ – (of jokes or stories) slightly rude or shocking, especially because of being about sex: The script is incredibly risqué.
10. Résumé (also resumé) /ˈrez.ə.meɪ/ (US), /ˈrez.juː.meɪ/ (UK) – a short written description of your education, qualifications, previous jobs, and sometimes also your personal interests, that you send to an employer when you are trying to get a job: Having a resumé that works for you is essential.
11. RSVP – an abbreviation for ‘répondez s’il vous plaît’, which means “please reply”. It is used at the end of a written invitation to mean that you should let the people who invited you know whether or not you are coming: RSVP by June 4.
12. Ballet /bælˈeɪ/ (US), /ˈbæl.eɪ/ (UK) – a type of dancing where carefully organized movements tell a story or express an idea, or a theatre work that uses this type of dancing: She has always liked ballet.
13. Bidet /bɪˈdeɪ/ (US), /ˈbiː.deɪ/ (UK) – a small, low bath in which a person washes the lower part of their body: When it comes to benefits, bidets seem like a no-brainer.
14. Voilà /ˌvwɑːˈlɑː/ – used when showing to other people something that you have just made or got and are pleased with: Add some herbs and spices, and voila!
15. Vis-à-vis /ˌviːz.əˈviː/ (formal) a) in relation to: I need to speak to Mr.Jones vis-à-vis the contract. b) in comparison with: Our company is not competitive vis-à-vis that company.
16. Tête-à-tête /ˌtet.əˈtet/ (US), /ˌteɪt.əˈteɪt/ (UK) – an informal private conversation between two people, especially friends: We need to have a tête-à-tête.
17. Bouquet /boʊˈkeɪ/ (US), /buˈkeɪ/ (UK) – a group of flowers that have been fastened together and attractively arranged so that they can be given as a present or carried on formal occasions:
18. Fiancé /ˌfiː.ɑːnˈseɪ/ (US), /fiˈɒn.seɪ/ (UK) – the man who someone is engaged to be married to: Her fiancé is a businessman. A fiancée /ˌfiː.ɑːnˈseɪ/ (US), /fiˈɒn.seɪ/ (UK) is the woman who someone is engaged to be married to: His fiancée is a businesswoman.
19. Naive (also naïve, naïf) /naɪˈiːv/ – a naive person lacks experience of life and tends to trust other people and believe things too easily: You can’t be so naive!
20. Queue /kjuː/ – a line of people, usually standing or in cars, waiting for something: Are you in the queue for tickets?
21. Femme fatale /ˌfæm fəˈtɑːl/ (plural – femme fatales /ˌfæm fəˈtɑːl/) – a woman who is very attractive in a mysterious way, usually leading men into danger or causing their destruction: She is a femme fatale.
22. Coup /kuː/ (also coup d’état /ˌkuː.deɪˈtɑː/) – a sudden illegal, often violent, taking of government power, especially by part of an army: On 15 July 2016, a coup d’état was attempted in Turkey against state institutions.
23. Debris /dəˈbriː/ – broken or torn pieces of something larger: Debris from the aircraft was scattered over a large area.
24. Bureau /ˈbjʊə.rəʊ/ (plural – bureaux /ˈbjʊə.rəʊ/, bureaus) – an organization or a business that collects or provides information: Information from the Immigration Bureau can be found on this webpage.
25. En route (also enroute) /ˌɑːn ˈruːt/ (US), /ˌɒn ˈruːt/ (UK) – on the way to or from somewhere: The bomb exploded while the plane was en route from Paris to Tokyo.
26. Eau de Cologne /ˌəʊ də kəˈləʊn/ (plural – eaux de cologne /ˌəʊ də kəˈləʊn/) – a pleasant-smelling liquid that you put on your body to make yourself smell fresh: If you happen to be the recipient of a bottle of Eau de Cologne, you are in for a pleasant experience.
27. Bourgeois /ˈbʊrʒ.wɑː/ (US), /ˈbɔːʒ.wɑː/ (UK) – typical of middle-class people and their attitudes. This word often shows that you dislike people like this: I think joining a golf club is quite bourgeois.
28. Attaché /əˈtæʃ.eɪ/ – a person who works in an embassy and has a particular area of responsibility in which they have special knowledge: He is a cultural attaché.
29. Cabaret /ˈkæbəreɪ/ – a) entertainment in a restaurant or club, performed while you eat or drink: She is a cabaret dancer. b) a restaurant or club where there is cabaret: Moulin Rouge /ˌmuːlæn ˈruːʒ/ is a cabaret in Paris.
30. Décor (also decor) /ˈdeɪkɔː(r)/, /ˈdekɔː(r)/ – the style of decoration and furniture in a building: This is a friendly hotel with stylish decor.