Discover the French Influence

Did you know that around one-third of all English words have their roots, either directly or indirectly, in French?

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Words like “à la carte,” “déjà vu,” and “fiancé” have made their way into English from French origins.

Did you also know that there’s a whole bunch of words that have the word “French” in them?

My colleague Carola Schneider pointed this quirky linguistic phenomenon out some weeks ago.

Here’s the list we created together on LinkedIn:

  • French beans = green beans or snap beans
  • French bulldog = a small dog breed with a compact, muscular build and bat-like ears
  • French chalk = a special kind of powder used by gymnasts, very much like baby powder
  • French cuff = a fancy folded part of a shirt sleeve that’s held together with cufflinks
  • French curve = a cool tool for drawing smooth curves in art or design
  • French dressing = a tasty salad dressing for salads, made with oil, vinegar and seasonings
  • French fries = tasty potato sticks that are deep-fried
  • French horn = a beautiful musical instrument made of brass and with a long, conical tube that is coiled into a circle
  • French kiss = a romantic kiss with contact between tongues
  • French letter = another word for a condom
  • French manicure = a pale pink, nude or sheer polish with a solid white tip
  • French onion soup = a warm, tasty soup made with caramelised onions and beef broth
  • French plait or braid = a type of braided hairstyle
  • French polish = a wood finishing technique that results in a very high gloss surface
  • French press = a coffee brewing device made from metal or glass
  • French skipping = a game with two people holding a long elastic rope at waist height
  • French toast = a dish of sliced bread soaked in beaten eggs and often milk or cream, then pan fried
  • French twist = a hairstyle for long hair in which the hair is pulled back and twisted vertically against the head
  • French window = a big door that leads to a patio or balcony
  • to take French leave = sneaking away or leaving without telling anyone

So, whether it’s about tasty food or linguistic quirks, French adds a special charm to our everyday language.

Do you have a favourite “French” word or phrase? 


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Foto Christine Sparks

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