French Used In English

By Elizabeth Gregory

Think you don't know a lick of French? Think again. The English language is chock full of French words and expressions that we all use on a regular basis, often times without a second thought. They have become so commonplace that nobody really questions their meaning…unless someone butchers the spelling of one in writing. Perfect example, my friend made a terrible mistake over email the other day. When I called her on it, she wrote back and said, "Oh, sorry. My fopa." I had to think for a minute…what's a fopa? Does it rhyme with sopa (Spanish word for soup)? Then I realized that she really meant faux pas.

Of course since France is so well known for cooking and good food (aka cuisine) it shouldn't be a surprise that many of the words are food related. Who hasn't said bon appetit, ordered the soup du jour, or been to a restaurant where everything is on the menu a la carte? Are you experiencing déjà vu yet?

Maybe you've had to RSVP to a soiree and afterwards decide to rendezvous with your friends so they can all meet your fiancé. I could go on and on here, but my point is that there are so many expressions taken/borrowed/adopted from French.

Here's something you may not know…RSVP stands for Répondez, s'il vous plaît, which means that "Please RSVP" is redundant. I found this tidbit of trivia as well as a list of French words used in English with their meanings at Granted, quite a few of the words on the list I have never used, but it's pretty amazing at how many are used frequently.

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