May 30, 2017 at 20:00

10 Words In English Language That You Didn’t Know Were Borrowed From The French Language

by Indira Dasan

The French language has been a point of fascination for many for a long time now. The elegance and ease with which different words of the language twirl out of tongues of those who are eloquent at it is nothing less than music to the ears. It has a certain "je ne sais quoi." Wasn’t that lovely to read? Je ne sais quo, literally meaning “I don’t know what,” the intangible quality that makes this language so distinctive and attractive. But we are not alone in this endeavor to love French! English language too, was so in love with it that it has borrowed more than a few words from French.

From Chauffeur to cabaret that rhymes with ballet to omelet and roulette; we use several French words in our vocabulary and often mispronounce them. So, this article 'a la carte' presents some of the English words that are originally French and have made our lives easier. Let's learn all about them right now:

Attaché (a-ta-shey)


Noun. a diplomatic official attached to an embassy; also, an attaché case.

Origin: 1835, from French word, attaché meaning "junior officer attached to the staff of an ambassador”

Bourgeoisie (boor-zhwa-zee)


Noun. dominated or characterized by materialistic pursuits or concerns; belonging to, characteristic of, or consisting of the middle class.

Origin: 1560s, "of the French middle class", in contrast to the proletariat of the Marxist theory.

Cache (kash)


Noun. anything so hidden: yes, the computer’s temporary storage that allows fast access to data.

Origin: 1585-95; French, noun derivative of cacher to hide

Courier (kur-ee-er)


Noun. a messenger, usually traveling in haste, bearing urgent news, important reports or packages, diplomatic messages, etc.

Origin: 1350-1400; taken from old French word coreor

Denim (den-uh m)


Noun. a heavy, Z-twist, twill cotton for jeans, overalls, and other work and leisure garments. Yes, the Calvin Klein and Levi’s Denim.

Origin: Very astonishingly before Levi Strauss made jeans the ultimate comfort cloth that now everybody owns, the fabric was exclusive in the French town of Nimes. The Word comes from de Nimes meaning from Nimes which now we wear as Denims!

Denouement (dey-noo-mahn)


Noun. The final resolution or unravelling of the plot of a novel or play or film.

Origin: 1745-55; literally meaning to untie, from the French word dénouer

Envoy (ahn-voi)


Noun. a diplomatic agent; any accredited messenger or representative.

Origin: mid 17th century: from French word envoyé, meaning ‘to send’, from en voie meaning ‘on the way’.

Faux Pas (foh pah)


Noun. a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct; an embarrassing social blunder or indiscretion

Origin: 1670-80; literally meaning false step

Promenade (prom-uh-neyd)


Noun. a stroll or walk, especially in a public place, as for pleasure or display; a formal dance; prom.

Origin: 1560-70; French, derivative of promener to lead out, take for a walk or airing; now it is also used in Prom parties.

Souvenir (soo-vuh-neer)


Noun. A small and inexpensive article given or kept as a reminder of a place visited.

Origin: 1765-75; French word souvenir which means to remember

Happy with today’s learning? Stay tuned to learn something new each day! :)