Touché, a bouquet of clichés!
Thanks to all who came up with ideas after our newsletter call for suggestions of French expressions that have passed into English and kept the same meaning.
We proposed joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi, rendezvous, nom de plume, encore, femme fatale, impromptu and déjà vu…
Here’s a selection of your additions from the 220-plus responses we received.
If we missed your favourite, please excuse our faux pas…
H.M. explained that there must be hundreds because the English nobility spoke French for 300 years.
Her examples included: chic, silhouette, petite, menu, apéritif, omelette, restaurant, critique, genre, cliché, chauffeur, souvenir, depot, voyeur, bouquet and entrepreneur.
P.B. came up with kiosk and chicane, while P.L. suggested cul-de-sac, coup-d’etat, mirage, façade, pot-pourri, hors d’oeuvre, matinee, touché and risqué.
To add a dash of urban couture, denim also has French roots: from Nimes – de Nimes.
And that’s all de rigeur for D.A. in his comment.
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Footnote: Thanks to readers for pointing out that, despite its obvious origins, the French do not use encore at a concert, for example, and instead use bis.
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