French words in english – catalogs – citizendium


This is a list of words that retain their French spelling in English. Decode binary Some of them may also feature written French accents, or be written in italics (both optionally), or have a strange or little-known pronunciation in English, in any combination.
The accents in the pronunciation column show stress and pronunciation (see English spellings for a table; unaccented final e is always silent).

Usd mxn The equals sign (=) introduces a word that has the same pronunciation (no other kind of connection is implied).
avant la lettre—before a specified name for the category existed, e.g., “Douanier Rousseau was an avant la lettre surrealist painter”, i.e., before that term was invented
bouquet—flowers picked and fastened together in a bunch, a nosegay; a medley, such a bouquet of songs, a compliment; a distinctive and characteristic fragrance, as of wine; a subtle aroma or quality, as of an artistic performance
bourgeois—adjective: of, relating to, or characteristic of the townsman or of the social middle class; marked by a concern for material interests and respectability and a tendency toward mediocrity; dominated by commercial and industrial interests; capitalistic; noun: a burgher; a middle-class person; a person with social behavior and political views held to be influenced by private-property interest; a capitalist
boutique—a small, fashionable shop; a small shop within a large department store; a small company that offers highly specialized services or products, such as “boutique wineries”, “an independent investment boutique”
Bouvier des Flandres—any of a breed of large, powerfully built rough-coated dogs of Belgian origin used especially for herding and in guard work—called also a Bouvier
bric-à-brac—a miscellaneous collection of small articles commonly of ornamental or sentimental value; curios; something suggesting bric-à-brac especially in extraneous decorative quality
buffet—a sideboard; a counter for refreshments; chiefly British, a restaurant operating in a public space (as in a railway station); a meal set out on a buffet or table for ready access and informal service
bureau—British: a writing desk, especially one having drawers and a slant top; a low chest of drawers for use in a bedroom; a specialized administrative unit, especially a subdivision of an executive department of a government; a branch of a newspaper, newsmagazine, or wire service in an important news center; a usually commercial agency that serves as an intermediary especially for exchanging information or coordinating activities, ie “credit bureau”
burette or buret—a graduated glass tube with a small aperture and stopcock for delivering measured quantities of liquid or for measuring the liquid or gas received or discharged
burlesque—a literary or dramatic work that seeks to ridicule by means of grotesque exaggeration or comic imitation; mockery. Python example script usually by caricature; theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous. 1 usd to inr in xoom often earthy character, consisting of short turns, comic skits, and sometimes striptease acts
cabaret—archaic: a shop selling wines and liquors; a restaurant serving liquor and providing entertainment, as by singers or dancers; a nightclub; the show provided at a cabaret
cache—a hiding place, especially for concealing and preserving provisions or implements; a secure place of storage; something hidden or stored in a cache; a computer memory with very short access time used for storage of frequently or recently used instructions or data—called also cache memory
cachet—a seal used especially as a mark of official approval; an indication of approval carrying great prestige; a characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige; prestige; a medicinal preparation for swallowing consisting of a case usually of rice-flour paste enclosing a medicine; a design or inscription on an envelope to commemorate a postal or philatelic event; an advertisement forming part of a postage meter impression; a motto or slogan included in a postal cancellation
camouflage—the disguising, especially of military equipment or installations with paint, nets, or foliage; also the disguise so applied; concealment by means of disguise; behavior or artifice designed to deceive or hide
canard—a false or unfounded report or story, especially a fabricated report; a groundless rumor or belief; an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces; a small airfoil in front of the wing of an aircraft that can increase the aircraft’s performance
caprice—a sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action; a sudden, usually unpredictable condition, change, or series of changes (the caprices of the weather); a disposition to do things impulsively
caramel—an amorphous brittle brown and somewhat bitter substance obtained by heating sugar and used as a coloring and flavoring agent; a firm, chewy, usually caramel-flavored candy
carrousel [9]—a tournament or exhibition in which horsemen execute evolutions; a merry-go-round; a circular conveyor (the luggage carousel at the airport); a revolving case or tray used for storage or display
chaconne—an old Spanish dance tune of Latin-American origin; a musical composition in moderate triple time typically consisting of variations on a repeated succession of chords
chalet—a remote herdsman’s hut in the Alps; a Swiss dwelling with unconcealed structural members and a wide overhang at the front and sides; a cottage or house in chalet style
chamois—a small, goatlike bovid (Rupicapra rupicapra) of mountainous regions from southern Europe to the Caucasus; also chammy or shammy: a soft pliant leather prepared from the skin of the chamois or from sheepskin; a cotton fabric made in imitation of chamois leather
Champagne, BrE champagne [10]—a white, sparkling wine made in the old province of Champagne, France; also, a similar wine made elsewhere; a pale orange yellow to light grayish-yellowish brown
chaperon—a person (as a matron) who for propriety accompanies one or more young unmarried women in public or in mixed company; an older person who accompanies young people at a social gathering to ensure proper behavior; broadly, one delegated to ensure proper behavior; any of a class of proteins that facilitate the proper folding of proteins by binding to and stabilizing unfolded or partially folded proteins—called also molecular chaperone
charade—a word represented in riddling verse or by picture, tableau, or dramatic action; plural, a game in which some of the players try to guess a word or phrase from the actions of another player who may not speak; an empty or deceptive act or pretense (“his concern was a charade”)
chargé d’affaires—a subordinate diplomat who substitutes for an absent ambassador or minister; a diplomat inferior in rank to an ambassador or minister who heads a mission when no ambassador or minister is assigned
charlotte—a dessert consisting of a filling (as of fruit, whipped cream, or custard) layered with or placed in a mold lined with strips of bread, ladyfingers, or biscuits
châssis [11]—the supporting frame of a structure, as an automobile or television; also, the frame and working parts, as of an automobile or electronic device, exclusive of the body or housing
chatelaine—the wife of a castellan; the mistress of a château; the mistress of a household or of a large establishment; a clasp or hook for a watch, purse, or bunch of keys
chemin de fer—a card game in which two hands are dealt, any number of players may bet against the dealer, and the winning hand is the one that comes closer to but does not exceed a count of nine on two or three cards
cheval-de-frise (singular), chevaux-de-frise (plural)—a defense consisting typically of a timber or an iron barrel covered with projecting spikes and often strung with barbed wire; a protecting line, as of spikes, on top of a wall—usually used in the plural
chevalier—a cavalier; a member of any of various orders of knighthood or of merit, as the Legion of Honor; a member of the lowest rank of French nobility; a cadet of the French nobility; a chivalrous man
chic—smart elegance and sophistication, especially of dress or manner; style (wears her clothes with superb chic); a distinctive mode of dress or manner associated with a fashionable lifestyle, ideology, or pursuit (wearing the latest in urban chic); a faddishly popular quality or appeal; something, as a practice or interest, having such appeal (the transient tides of academic chic — Irving Kristol)
chûte—a quick descent, as in a river; a rapid; an inclined plane, sloping channel, or passage down or through which things may pass; a slide; a parachute; a spinnaker
cinéma—a motion picture—usually used attributively; a motion-picture theater; movies; especially, the film industry or the art or technique of making motion pictures
cliché—a trite phrase or expression; also, the idea expressed by it; a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation; something, as a menu item, that has become overly familiar or commonplace
cloche—a transparent plant cover used outdoors especially for protection against cold; a woman’s close-fitting hat usually with deep rounded crown and narrow brim
cloisonné—of, relating to, or being a style of enamel decoration in which the enamel is applied and fired in raised cells (as of soldered wires) on a usually metal background
collage—an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface; a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements ; the art of making collages; a hodgepodge ; a work (as a film) having disparate scenes in rapid succession without transitions
commode—a woman’s ornate cap popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries; a low chest of drawers; a movable washstand with a cupboard underneath; a boxlike structure holding a chamber pot under an open seat; also chamber pot; toilet
commune—the smallest administrative district of many countries, especially in Europe; commonalty; community, as a medieval usually municipal corporation; mir; an often rural community organized on a communal basis
en passant— in passing: in chess, of a pawn taking a pawn that has reached the same rank as one’s own only by virtue of the fact that on its first move a pawn has the option of moving two squares
grand jeté—in ballet, a jump in which a dancer springs from one foot to land on the other with one leg forward of their body and the other stretched backward while in the air.
mise en abyme—placement at the center of an escutcheon of a smaller copy of the same escutcheon; containment of an entity within another identical entity; image of an image

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